Offers some tips to beat the time trap
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.”