Author Topic: Why do people want to know wild camping spots in advance of a walk?  (Read 805 times)

fernman

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1855
My question is prompted by someone asking on the forum for suggestions for wild camping spots for a walk he is planning. I'm not having a go at him, for his query is not the first I've seen like this on here, and there is also someone whose blog I follow who always seems to be mentally noting suitable spots he passes, for possible use in the future.

On my multiple-day walks I simply look out for somewhere suitable on my route, or close to it, in the late afternoon / early evening. I do tend to look at my map to see what might be ahead in the way of streams or a pool. My priorities are water close by, shelter, a flat and dry bit big enough for my tent, and privacy. As I always wild camp in north Wales, water is rarely a problem but 'flat' and 'dry' often are problematic, while shelter can sometimes be tricky to find.

What I don't do is walk to a pre-determined objective with the intention of camping there. The only reason for doing this that I can think of would be in areas where water isn't so easy to find. I am genuinely puzzled by this, I just don't get it. Am I missing something or what?

Ridge

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6138
Possibly what you are missing is the inexperience.
You know how to interpret the map to show an area which may have possibilities of a camp site and you also know that, whatever happens, you'll eventually find something acceptable.
Having wild camped from my early teens, initially with grown-ups and then on my own, it holds no fears. I can see that if it is the first time you've ever tried it you may want to have all your ducks in a row before you set off.
Over hill, over dale. Thorough brush, thorough brier....
I do wander every where

forgotmyoldpassword

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 192
Confirmation bias.  It is why many 'trails' are getting so busy.  People love to be able to say 'this is a safe route, it will be fun, others use it if I get injured and I will get help easily'.  As other posters say it is also very accessible, you don't need to be able to interpret maps nor have much knowledge of the wilderness at all - it is a bit of a theme-park ride experience.  'Exciting' but realistically nothing bad is going to happen to, or if it does then others will bail you out.

vghikers

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 532
Indeed. I can't help but sigh when that question comes up and it gets rather annoying after a while. I always feel like replying 'Any tent-sized reasonably flat piece of dry land'.
I just design my overall route and the number of days, look at the contours and make sure the breakpoints are in promising flattish areas. Once there it's almost always easy to survey the overall scene and head for a spot.
Occasionally on our backpacks we pass a spot looks particularly promising scenery-wise for photos, and back home I might start with that and design a future route around it.

The general terrain is also important for areas you've never walked, as we discovered early on when we had to pitch once on knee-deep heather (an interesting experience) and in a commercial Welsh forest (avoid: trust me). Geograph can help a lot here, we are registered there and use it all the time.

jimbob

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 971
I thought it was down to those that wanted to do the camping bit without too much of a walk.
YouTube is full of them. They validate a place which is known not to receive the attention of gamekeeper,  rangers, farmers, etc.Get here eith everything bar the kitchen sink and waste good walking time setting up their "prepper" camp site. The next day they walk back to their conveniently parked vehicle and drive home.

When I am walking I never decide were I'm stopping for the night until  I decide it's about time to pack in for the day. Usually now in my case that is not too far off a hot meal provider. I find the sat maps on VR quite good to get a decent place.
Asking for a site reeks of cart before horse.
Too little, too late, too bad......

Ridge

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6138
I think we could be being a little unkind here. As has been said there is always somewhere to camp but there are also some places which are better than others.
Those places with a soft level pitch on a sheep cropped lawn. Where a clear brook, deep enough to rest your tired feet in the freezing water, babbles past the tent door. A small rocky outcrop behind the tent offers it shelter and for you a seat as the sun sinks below the hills. A little way off a small copse of trees, in case you need to make like a bear.
You may not be prepared to tell others your favorite secret camping place but you can't blame them for asking.
Over hill, over dale. Thorough brush, thorough brier....
I do wander every where

alan de enfield

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 395
I will look before departure and estimate the area where I am likely to be, having walked however far I am planning to walk by the 'end of the day'.
Just a look on the map for the general area checking the likely terrain, availability of water etc.

It is just part of the planning and thinking about 'eventualities'.


"On the day" nothing is 'fixed' and if a perfect site' is reached earlier than the one 'looked at' then I stop. If the 'planned' area proves to be unsuitable then carry on.

archaeoroutes

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1123
I usually plan where I want to camp.
If I don't make it there, or find somewhere better first, or decide it isn't what I'd hoped and move further, then I'm perfectly capable of finding somewhere else. However, I am one of those people who likes to have an objective for the end of the day.

I can well understand someone wanting suggestions. Things such as view, possible water, flat ground can often be got from a map, but there are plenty of things that can make a brilliant spot that aren't readily apparent. Perhaps there is a brilliant pool for swimming, perhaps there is something particularly nice to look at. Or perhaps the noise from a waterfall will keep you awake or a shepherd comes through every morning at 4am on his quad bike.
Walking routes visiting ancient sites in Britain's uplands: http://www.archaeoroutes.co.uk

bricam2096

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3437
Blimey...I was going to ask the forum members on suggestions on places to wildcamp next summer in the Lakes as I've never done it and fancy it and figured that the members would be able to give good suggestions.

Maybe I best not bother  :P
LDWs done - 28 in total including 13 National Trails and 3 C2C

Wainwrights 173
www.brians-walks.co.uk

gunwharfman

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2043
I don't plan in advance where I might wild camp but sometimes, in villages or perhaps on the edge of towns, its usefull to have an inkling of where others have wild camped before. For example I walked into Bera on the Spanish GR11 and by chance found a great spot with drinking water just on the edge of town, about half a kilometre from a bar. I'm happy to pass on my suggestion to anyone who might be interested. I did at the time, I saw a young couple looking for a spot so I directed them to there. We all had a good nights sleep and really took advantage of the free water the next morning. Or the time I walked along the Cotswold Way and found a marvellous spot next to a cricket pavilion, the pub was just down the road. The last time I wild camped was in Peasmarsh in Sussex. I carefully looked for a spot before it got dark, went to the pub for a pint and a meal and then walked back to camp. The area looked completely different in the dark so I wild camped in another place nearby!

Owen

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 859
I think it's just inexperience and lack of confidence that leads people to ask on the tinternet. When you've been doing it all year round, year in year out since you were a nipper it's difficult to see things through a biginners eyes. If you've never done it before you often need a little pointer on the right direction.



Maggot

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 126
Basically this thread boils down to "Why do people ask for advice?" 


Well it is because they respect the contributors on here and would like to pick their brains to save some time and know an area is safe.  Surely the question could also be asked of "Why do people ask about coats/boots/gloves/bags/socks?  Why they don't just get some of their own and see what they are like?"


I am assuming that fernman does not have any guide books, camping site guides, gear reviews etc?  After all, why follow a pre-determined trail when you only have to get a map and go for a walk?

fernman

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1855
Blimey...I was going to ask the forum members on suggestions on places to wildcamp next summer in the Lakes as I've never done it and fancy it and figured that the members would be able to give good suggestions.

Maybe I best not bother  :P

Don't let us stop you asking! Each to their own devices, I say. Like I wrote, I wasn't criticising anyone for doing it, I just wanted to get a clear idea in my blinkered head as to why they ask, and now I know.

Thanks to everyone for the replies so far, and keep them coming! It's very interesting to read others' views.

GWM, you must be an early riser (unlike me) for you ran the risk of being discovered by the cricket team arriving for a match! I once pitched on the edge of a fishing club's lake; having been an angler myself in the past I know how early they can start, so I was apprehensive of being sent on my way. Fortunately (in an obscure way) it was a lousy day and no-one turned up.

fernman

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1855
I am assuming that fernman does not have any guide books, camping site guides, gear reviews etc?  After all, why follow a pre-determined trail when you only have to get a map and go for a walk?

I can answer that one! Where I do long walks a lot of the RoWs shown on the map don't exist on the ground. I found that out pretty quickly in my early days when I used to make up my own routes. If someone else has already walked a route and published it in a book, a magazine or online, then at least you know it is 'doable'.

It's a lazy way of doing day walks as well. The Chilterns must have one of the best maintained and signed networks of footpaths in the country, I'm guessing, so it would be easy to go there and make up a walk from a map. But if you use a guidebook it saves a lot of faffing about if you know beforehand exactly how many miles it is and what points of interest there are (and pubs!).   
« Last Edit: 18:29:07, 25/11/18 by fernman »

Maggot

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 126
I can answer that one! Where I do long walks a lot of the RoWs shown on the map don't exist on the ground. I found that out pretty quickly in my early days when I used to make up my own routes. If someone else has already walked a route and published it in a book, a magazine or online, then at least you know it is 'doable'.


So if someone has already walked a route, then you know it is safe, reasonable and a sensible choice?  A bit like someone asking if a certain place is suitable for a wild camp, or where someone might spend a night if they are travelling a certain route?