Author Topic: Winter and darkness  (Read 1133 times)

gunwharfman

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Winter and darkness
« on: 14:06:18, 17/11/20 »
For those who hike and camp in the winter months, how do you cope with the long hours of darkness?

Any tips to offer, any problems a novice should be aware of and what's the longest period of nights you have camped in one go?

Birdman

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Re: Winter and darkness
« Reply #1 on: 12:54:23, 18/11/20 »
Personally I would be fine with the long nights in itself. Just bring something to read.

However, the thing that really deters me is the combination of limited amount of available hiking hours during daylight and the prospect of having to stay in my tent because of bad weather. So you could be holed up in a dark tent for a long time.

For me a multi-day camping trip would mean going to Scotland, because that is the only place where I can wild camp. But living on the south coast, that is quite a commitment. I cannot easily go back home if things get very miserable. There isn't much point in hillwalking if you can hardly see your own feet, and that is a common condition in the hills. In the summer I just put up with it and sit it out if necessary, but with short daylight that can get quite depressing.
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NeilC

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Re: Winter and darkness
« Reply #2 on: 21:26:29, 18/11/20 »
For those who hike and camp in the winter months, how do you cope with the long hours of darkness?

Any tips to offer, any problems a novice should be aware of and what's the longest period of nights you have camped in one go?


It gets pretty flipping boring being holed up in a tiny tent for like 13 hours straight and then doing it again the next night. so I try to go with a mate, so we can either sit out (wrapped in sleeping bags) with a bottle of rum or bundle into one our tents and do the same, if raining.


I've only done it for a couple of nights on the trot.


For me a multi-day camping trip would mean going to Scotland, because that is the only place where I can wild camp. B

Out of interest: why is Scotland the only place you can wildcamp? Why not the other national parks? Or is this down to a definition of "wild"?

ninthace

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Re: Winter and darkness
« Reply #3 on: 21:46:08, 18/11/20 »
Or Europe?  I've done some good trips southern Spain in the hinterland behind the Costas - still quite warm even in winter and the days are longer.  There is even a Cicerone guide for the area now IIRC.  How about the Balearics or the GRs in Corsica?
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BuzyG

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Re: Winter and darkness
« Reply #4 on: 23:20:43, 18/11/20 »

For me a multi-day camping trip would mean going to Scotland, because that is the only place where I can wild camp.


Another here who is intrigued as to why Scotland is the only place you can wild camp?

Birdman

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Re: Winter and darkness
« Reply #5 on: 09:17:51, 19/11/20 »

Out of interest: why is Scotland the only place you can wildcamp? Why not the other national parks? Or is this down to a definition of "wild"?



Another here who is intrigued as to why Scotland is the only place you can wild camp?


Isn't Scotland the only place in the UK where this is allowed? Elsewhere you can stealth-camp of course, but then you want to pitch late when everybody has gone home and you want to breakup early before other people get up. Most of the UK is cultivated area and the land is owned by somebody. When you spend long nights in your tent with a torch, the lit-up tent really stands out in the landscape. I'm not comfortable with that when camping illegally in what are essentially populated areas.
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BuzyG

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Re: Winter and darkness
« Reply #6 on: 09:28:49, 19/11/20 »


Isn't Scotland the only place in the UK where this is allowed? Elsewhere you can stealth-camp of course, but then you want to pitch late when everybody has gone home and you want to breakup early before other people get up. Most of the UK is cultivated area and the land is owned by somebody. When you spend long nights in your tent with a torch, the lit-up tent really stands out in the landscape. I'm not comfortable with that when camping illegally in what are essentially populated areas.


You can wild camp on much of Dartmoor and it's just about big enough for multi day treks.  Not sure about other national parks.


https://www.twoblondeswalking.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Dartmoor-Wild-Camping-Small-1.pdf








Birdman

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Re: Winter and darkness
« Reply #7 on: 09:59:59, 19/11/20 »

You can wild camp on much of Dartmoor and it's just about big enough for multi day treks.  Not sure about other national parks.


https://www.twoblondeswalking.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Dartmoor-Wild-Camping-Small-1.pdf


Yes, I know. Dartmoor is the exception in England. It is an option. It's just big enough. But while it has a few very scenic areas, I find much of it a bit too featureless to keep me interested for multiday treks. So if I feel the urge, I'm more likely to jump on a night bus to Glasgow. Perhaps I'm just spoiled :)
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BuzyG

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Re: Winter and darkness
« Reply #8 on: 10:10:22, 19/11/20 »

Yes, I know. Dartmoor is the exception in England. It is an option. It's just big enough. But while it has a few very scenic areas, I find much of it a bit too featureless to keep me interested for multiday treks. So if I feel the urge, I'm more likely to jump on a night bus to Glasgow. Perhaps I'm just spoiled :)


Problem with scenic areas is people exploit them. Peace and quite or scenery?  Alas  you can't have your cake and eat it.  Not in England any way.  :(

Birdman

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Re: Winter and darkness
« Reply #9 on: 10:30:03, 19/11/20 »

Problem with scenic areas is people exploit them.  Alas  you can't have your cake and eat it.  Not in England any way.  :(


Yes I know. But in Scotland you can. Cape Wrath Trail comes to mind, where you are virtually required to wild camp or you won't be able to reach certain areas. And you don't see a soul most of the time.


Of course England has many beautiful scenic areas that offer great walking. For example, many of the coast paths are world class. It's just less suitable for wild camping, which was my point. I hiked/ stealth camped on the South Downs Way this summer, which was great. But I do feel a bit on edge when I hear people pass near my tent (even when they don't see it) and when I know my tent can be seen from nearby farms etc.
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gunwharfman

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Re: Winter and darkness
« Reply #10 on: 12:01:05, 19/11/20 »
I think the distinction between wild camping and stealth camping is very helpful, I hadn't really thought about it much but it makes sense. I can wild camp in Scotland and Dartmoor but elsewhere in the UK I stealth camp.

Birdman

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Re: Winter and darkness
« Reply #11 on: 12:13:12, 19/11/20 »
I think the distinction between wild camping and stealth camping is very helpful, I hadn't really thought about it much but it makes sense. I can wild camp in Scotland and Dartmoor but elsewhere in the UK I stealth camp.


Stealth camping is usually a subset of wild camping. I should have written you cannot legally wild camp in most of England, so you would have to stealth camp if you feel comfortable with it.

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BuzyG

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Re: Winter and darkness
« Reply #12 on: 19:22:12, 19/11/20 »
Out of interest, has any one here ever asked the land owner and been given permission to wild camp?

ninthace

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Re: Winter and darkness
« Reply #13 on: 19:29:18, 19/11/20 »
Out of interest, has any one here ever asked the land owner and been given permission to wild camp?
Frequently but it was over 50 years ago.  We spent most weekends in the summer camping in some farmer's field. 
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April

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Re: Winter and darkness
« Reply #14 on: 19:30:46, 19/11/20 »
Out of interest, has any one here ever asked the land owner and been given permission to wild camp?


No, I've never asked.


Lake District, Northumberland, Cumbria, never had any problems wild camping. We camp high up most of the time mind.





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