Alas­tair Humphreys

Of­fers some tips to beat the time trap

Trail (UK) - - Contents -

If I of­fered you £1,000,000 to head to, say, Dart­moor – or any wild place you fancy – and spend to­mor­row night wild camp­ing high on the Tors, I’m sure you’d leap at the op­por­tu­nity. Not just a fat pile of cash, you’d think, but cash for do­ing some­thing that you would ac­tu­ally en­joy. This Humphreys fel­low is an id­iot!

You wouldn’t say “It’s a bit far, I haven’t got time,” or “I’ve got an im­por­tant meet­ing next week to pre­pare for,” or “I can’t go un­til I’ve bought a fancy new sleep­ing sys­tem.” No, you’d make do with the gear you own. You’d ac­knowl­edge that with a bit more graft and a lit­tle less Facebook you could still get your work done. And you would some­how make the time to make it hap­pen.

Here’s the bad news. I’m not go­ing to give you £1,000,000, not even with the fath­om­less wealth I earn for pen­ning these words for Trail. Sorry.

Here’s the good news. You could still head to that hill­top you were dream­ing of a mo­ment ago be­cause we’ve es­tab­lished now that the bar­ri­ers and ob­sta­cles that get in the way of spend­ing more time in the hills are not as im­mov­able as we often think.

I am as guilty as any­one; dream­ing of ad­ven­ture then get­ting cross at all sorts of things I pre­fer to blame for keep­ing me out of the moun­tains rather than ac­knowl­edg­ing my own pro­cras­ti­na­tion, lazi­ness, and dis­or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Here then is a tip that has helped me to squeeze in plenty of ex­tra happy nights star gaz­ing from my bivvy bag. I keep a ruck­sack packed and ready with ev­ery­thing I need for a night away. Not hav­ing to rum­mage around the garage for elu­sive bits of kit makes me more likely to seize the mo­ment, carpe the diem, and run for the hills if the op­por­tu­nity arises.

I ap­pre­ci­ate that it’s hard to jug­gle 21st cen­tury lives and still en­joy time in the wild. What­ever your per­sonal co­nun­drums, how­ever, rest as­sured that I have heard them all be­fore in the years I’ve been bang­ing the drum for spon­ta­neous, short ad­ven­ture fixes. It’s not easy. But it is pos­si­ble.

So, this month, why not make it your goal to spend at least one night wild camp­ing? Take a lit­tle time to gather the gear you’ll need, and pack it in a ruck­sack. Keep this promi­nently by the front door or in the boot of your car. If you un­ex­pect­edly have a spare evening or the weather is un­sea­son­ably sunny you are now ready to make the most of it.

Colder nights and shorter days are on their way so for many of us this might be the last op­por­tu­nity for many months. Au­tumn is a beau­ti­ful sea­son for wild camp­ing. The midges are gone, the 4am sunny wake-ups are his­tory. In­stead we have cloud in­ver­sions and beau­ti­ful misty morn­ings. We have glo­ri­ous wood­land colours and fist­fuls of berries for break­fast. And ad­ven­ture tastes even bet­ter when it is spon­ta­neous and squeezed into the busy work­ing week.

Fi­nally, keep an eye out for the first field­fares as they be­gin ar­riv­ing in the UK to spend the win­ter with us.

“Au­tumn is a beau­ti­ful sea­son for wild camp­ing.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.