Phoebe Smith loves wild camping so much that she’s written a book about her experiences: Extreme Sleeps – Adventures of a Wild Camper. In case you don’t know (I didn’t) wild camping is sleeping in remote places, away from campsites. Phoebe’s first wild camping trip was in Australia and that inspired her to repeat the experience back home in the UK. The book chronicles her nights spent camping in the most remote parts of these islands and her growing confidence with each expedition. Wild camping is illegal in much of the UK, but she’s careful on her walks and manages not to get caught.
The book reminded me (to paraphrase Tolkein’s Bilbo Baggins) that adventures can start from our doorsteps, we just have to look for them. It also shows that adventurous travel doesn’t have to be expensive: beyond an initial investment in camping equipment, the trips described cost nothing more than the petrol to get to the wild area to be camped in.
Phoebe Smith has an exciting sounding ‘go bag’ of camping gear at the ready in case she has a chance to pop off on a trip. I like the sound of this bag, and would love to know exactly what’s in it, but the book doesn’t say. I’d probably enjoy a spot of wild camping myself, as long as it wasn’t too cold, but would have to take some luxuries in my ‘go bag’. These would include chocolate (possibly more of a basic essential than a luxury) and a small, portable radio (John Lewis have some nice ones) so that I could listen to Radio 4 when I felt like it. When we go camping overnight as a family we seem to take a whole carload of stuff, though, so it would be hard to pack it down to one bag to be carried on my back:
The chapter on Phoebe’s trip to Jura amused me – she finds it incredible that the locals are friendly, talk to her and smile and wave as they pass. She says it’s like stepping back in time to the 1940s, and doesn’t seem to realise that this is not unusual at all in the countryside, even close to London where I live.
The wild camping trips described in the book are all solo, apart from once when the author takes a friend. The friend’s backpack is so small that Phoebe ends up carrying most of her stuff and screaming at her quite a lot. If I took my children wild camping, this is how I imagine it would be. I don’t think I’ll try it.
Family travel lowdown: Wild camping is free but mostly illegal in the UK and I’ve never tried it. Do you have any tips on wild camping with kids?
This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.