Wild camping with permission

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Wild camping with permission

Postby 22camels » Tue Aug 12, 2014 7:32 pm

So I've had a bit of an introduction to wild camping recently - 3 times in Italy and 3 times in the UK and am fairly happy about it. Next week I will be doing Lon Las Cymru and I am positive I won't have any trouble finding good spots in Wales, but as a trial run for future trips further afield I am going to try a couple of other options like campsites, and hopefully asking locals if I get an opportunity.

Whilst I really like the freedom and flexibility of wild camping and you can appreciate some really beautiful spots in solitude, I have some reservations:

- there are some parts e.g. up in the mountains or by the coast, where it's really easy to find a spot, there are others where it's really hard e.g. I cycled across lots of farmland in northern Italy and it would have been very difficult there.

- I can picture lots of places where I would be far happier if I checked with a local if it's OK to camp or if they know of a spot. I wouldn't be looking for an invitation though there'd be times I'd appreciate it. It's likely that if there are any safety issues I'd be more likely to find out that way than if I didn't speak to anyone. Being from the UK I am familiar with the lie of the land here and can trust my judgment but further afield I'd be less confident.

- I feel apprehensive about the whole 'stealth' aspect of it, like I'm breaking some law. I wouldn't have this feeling if I knew it was officially allowed, like if I were in Scotland or Norway.

So I thought I'd try doing this 'asking locals' thing close to home where it should be easy, on this trip through rural Wales. Trouble is, it still feels a bit odd. Like, what kinds of people are best to ask? I know farmers, who else? Stopping in a village pub? Random people? What do you say, like 'hi I am just looking for a spot to pitch a tent for the night' or 'is it ok if I just put my tent up in this grove, I'll be gone by morning'?' It all sounds like the sort of thing that would make people suspicious :). I know that if I have found a spot I like, and it's close to some farm houses say, then it's best to ask permission if there is someone around, but in general, is it best avoided unless you really have to?

I am sure I'll figure it out, but if anyone has any input I'd appreciate it.
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Re: Wild camping with permission

Postby profpointy » Tue Aug 12, 2014 7:45 pm

If arriving late, leaving early and some distance from any houses / people, there's a lot to be said for not asking, as one of the possible answers isn't the one you want.

I
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Re: Wild camping with permission

Postby Ben@Forest » Wed Aug 13, 2014 11:46 am

I think it's implicitly recognised that finding someone to ask when you're in the uplands is not always practical. However I think it's funny when you sometimes see a bright orange tent on the other side of the valley, positioned so it's quite well hidden from view from around fifty or a hundred yards away, but blindingly obvious from 3 miles away. The other thing I'd note is not being near unenclosed livestock, firstly cows especially might take a disconcerting interest in you/your tent and secondly farmers will definitely not like it.
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Re: Wild camping with permission

Postby Dudley Manlove » Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:24 pm

It's mostly just common sence - just stay out of peoples way, leave early/pitch up after dark etc. You mentioned village pubs - play it by ear, but if you spend some money on a couple of pints and/or a meal, they're often happy to let you use the beer garden after closing if you ask.

I never had a problem in the Brecons when I've wild camped, but there's spots were they have issues with fires and people BBQing out of the back of their boot and you might encounter rangers.
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Re: Wild camping with permission

Postby andrew_s » Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:29 pm

The trouble with asking is finding someone who's able to give legitimate permission - the countryside isn't libearlly endowed with signs saying "this field is owned by the farm up the end of the track 3 miles down the road". Pubs are often reasonable (though not cheap if you spend on beer as a result), or you could try asking "do you know anywhere nearby?"
Another problem with asking is that if the answer is "No", you've no real option but to move on, even if the farmer would have been happy to ignore a quiet sleeper. Some have had problems with a delegate being sent to ask by an out-of-sight group, and found that "yes" resulted in an all-night party with bonfire, and word gets around.

Arrive late, leave early, and leave no trace is normally fine.
It's surprising what places seem to work sometimes. I used to sleep in a pedestrian underpass under the A65 quite regularly at one time, and I spect a night round the side of a garage in Maidenhead one time.
Last edited by andrew_s on Wed Aug 20, 2014 1:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wild camping with permission

Postby Claud » Thu Aug 14, 2014 8:05 am

The law in upland areas varies - you could ask at the local park office. Eg. Yorkshire Dales we were told that strictly wild camping's not allowed but if you're out of sight and moving on then no one will mind (so camped behind a wall near the top of a pass), whereas Dartmoor's segredated into large areas where camping's legal (with conditions - see website) and small areas where it's not.

In lowland areas, I/we've spotted a suitable looking field (flat enough, grassy, no animals) and knocked on the nearest house "Is that your field, do you mind if we camp there just one night, only a small tent". Nearly always the answer's been "Yeh, fine" or "Not my field, go ask at that house over there". And mostly that's it - settle down for a good night and no more contact with the farmer. Though a couple of times on the continent it's had the bonus of "And come in for a drink" or "I've got a spare room you can use".

If the fields are all crops it's harder. So either need to start looking earlier or find a campsite.

For me, this is a good compromise, giving the freedom, peace, beauty and thriftiness of wild camping, without the courage (brazeness? :) ) and late stops of stealth camping.
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Re: Wild camping with permission

Postby DaveGos » Thu Aug 14, 2014 10:41 am

Never tried but interested , I do live in the country , Obvious place to me is churchyards . Unless you don't like sleeping with the dead lol

Any opinions
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Re: Wild camping with permission

Postby mercalia » Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:07 am

2 worries about sleeping in church yards

a) rats
b) the grave diggers may think they forgot one...
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Re: Wild camping with permission

Postby Sweep » Thu Aug 14, 2014 10:10 pm

mercalia wrote:2 worries about sleeping in church yards

a) rats
.


Any particular reason that there would be rats in a churchyard?
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Re: Wild camping with permission

Postby 22camels » Fri Aug 15, 2014 2:20 pm

All the more reason to live life to the full if my dead body will be eaten by rats in a churchyard :)

Thanks for all the good advice. I guess wild camping etiquette is very location-dependent and it's hard to generalise. Slightly changing the topic, you read some blogs where people always choose to camp in human places like churches and fire stations, often with permission, when wild places are also nearby.

Somehow if I were a walker I don't think this question would bother me much, as then I'd normally be in the uplands and away from civilisation, whereas as a cyclist you stay on the road so you're usually closer to civilisation.
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Re: Wild camping with permission

Postby LollyKat » Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:34 pm

What do you wild campers do about washing? When I was young I did the occasional wild camp but hated not being able to have a shower at the end of a strenuous day's cycling. There wasn't often a convenient loch for skinny dipping.
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Re: Wild camping with permission

Postby Farawayvisions » Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:25 pm

LollyKat wrote:What do you wild campers do about washing? When I was young I did the occasional wild camp but hated not being able to have a shower at the end of a strenuous day's cycling. There wasn't often a convenient loch for skinny dipping.

LollyKat, washing? I simply don't wash. If you're feeling particularly yeuck, take a few wet wipes in a ziplock for under the armpits and a wipe of the nether regions. If you're on your own, no one will notice and if you have a companion, they'll be in the same boat. I wear 100% merino wool, knickers, t-shirts, hoodies, long johns, everything and I've ditched padded shorts completely as they take up too much room, collect sweat and are hard to dry when washed. As an added bonus, the clitoral numbness has vanished (sorry guys) and my girlie bits feel completely normal.
I also give my face a wee wash (to take the sandy sweaty feeling away) with some left over water that I've boiled for tea.
I crossed the Atlantic in a small boat and didn't have a shower for 17 days. After that experience, I'm pretty much immune to worries about not washing for a day or two. And I've learned to really appreciate a hot shower. :-)
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Re: Wild camping with permission

Postby LollyKat » Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:32 pm

Thanks for your answer - I was afraid it would be something like that!
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Re: Wild camping with permission

Postby mercalia » Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:52 pm

take an aerosol perfume with you?
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Re: Wild camping with permission

Postby Farawayvisions » Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:56 pm

mercalia wrote:take an aerosol perfume with you?

OMG! NO! The midges will eat you alive. :cry:
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