At the start of the year, I set myself the objective of camping out every month of the year. Twelve camps that shouldn’t be too hard should it ? After all I tend to do more than that each year. But what I’ve struggled to do is maintain my tent-dwelling evenly over a year, and I’ve tended to do it in fits and starts. So it wouldn’t be the number of camps that would be the challenge, but the timing of them.
I resigned myself to the prospect of having to do some camps in unpleasant conditions. I also realised that I would really need to crack the local wild camp thing to have even a chance of meeting the target this year. To my shame I’d never done a local wild camp. I’d used a camp site that was pretty much just like camping wild in the woods, but I’d paid money to do that, so it didn’t count. Now I’d need to properly wild camp locally – I don’t do enough “proper” hill trips to do them that way, although I’d let myself count them too.
So how did I do ? ………….
The forecast for my Lake District trip in March was really poor, so I decided not to camp, and hence my only camp that month was this:
My big Lake District trip of the year, saw me finish the Wainwrights. I also had 4 camps:
Having passed up an easy opportunity just before Christmas to slot in December’s camp, I pinned my hopes on a New Year’s Eve camp on Dartmoor, but with the forecast looking very uncertain with Storm Frank heading towards the UK, I needed an insurance policy. A quick night out in Essex with Col (@colinastbury) was arranged:
And I haven’t totally given up on the chance of a final camp on NYE yet…
I’m really glad I set myself this challenge, as it brought a number of benefits:
it got me out all year around
it made me finally attempt a local wild camp
it helped massively with breaking up the monotony of the return to work, after nearly a year off
it enabled me to justify the cost of the replacement for the HiGear Soloista. In the Snugpak Ionosphere I now have what is for me a perfect stealth tent for lowland camps.
So much so, that I’m going to carry the challenge on into 2016, but for this year I’m going to make it harder and aim for a local camp in addition to whatever I do on my longer hill trips.
So what was the Camp of the Year ?
Well, a number of camps were highly memorable – my first Dartmoor camp on King’s Tor, the snow camp on Wild Tor, the 4 camps as I finished my Wainwright round. But the Camp of the Year has to be the camp on High Raise in September. A high camp with glorious sunset and sunrise and all-round views just can’t be beaten. This is arguably one of my finest camps ever too.
With thanks to the following for accompanying me on some of the camps above: Phil (@DaylightGambler), Col (@colinastbury), Paul (@paulgbuck), Rich (@FlintyRich), David (@klingondragon), Stuart (@LoneWalkerUK) and Cath (@wellycath).