I’ve just come back from the Peak District where I notched up my 200th wild camp – indeed that was the whole purpose of the trip!
I was on 198 before going, so just needed two nights to get the double century, but I planned on being there for three. As it turned out, keeping a close eye on the weather, I decided not to do the third night: I’d achieved the main objective.
The camps themselves were nothing special in themselves: no stunning sunsets or sunrises, no inversions, no brocken spectres, not even any views. Both nights were spent in mist with rain, meaning they were both a “quiet night in” sort of camps. But this is ok, and if anything is symbolic of many of the 200 camps where a perfectly good camp was had despite the absence of Instagram-friendly conditions.
As it turned out both nights were spent in the same place – indeed on the exact same spot, as the tent never moved between them: that’s how manky conditions were.
I walked in the first day at lunchtime from Bamford, climbing Win Hill under blue skies and a chilling breeze. After traversing most of the ridge I headed off to find water before climbing up towards the eastern end of the Kinder plateau to find a spot. Losing the light I took the easy option of reusing a spot I camped at in November under similar conditions.
It was pretty windy, but I was reasonably sheltered in a bit of a dip, so wasn’t too bad. The rain, when it came though, really lashed down on the tent, and the next morning I sat there mostly packed waiting for it to ease off (it hadn’t been forecast to start raining until much later). And waited. And waited. It got to late morning and the idea set in of simply staying there for the day. There was unlikely to be much in the way of people out in such conditions, and I was off the path in any case. Indeed, the mist hid me well.
Lunchtime came and passed and early afternoon was the point at which it wasn’t worth moving anyway. I settled in for a second night.
As is often the case, night 2 of a trip is a much nicer camp than the first – the sleep is better, there’s less faffing about as you’re in the camp routine, and you’re no longer in transition between the everyday and the trail. And so it proved.
I drank the beer I’d brought to toast the 200, had a nice dinner and watched a film. A pleasant “evening in”.
Day 3 and no rain, despite it being forecast. Having looked at the forecast I’d already decided to finish up today, and had booked my return travel. I was packed up and away by 8am, heading along the “front” of the Kinder plateau. I’d decided to head for Edale rather than Hope as it (a) was shorter, (b) filled in a bit of the edge of Kinder I’d not done before, and (c) had a decent cafe at the end of it.
There wasn’t much to see on the edge of the plateau – just small rises and groups of rocks looming up in the mist as I approached. it didn’t take too long to get to Ringing Roger where I turned for the path down – a nice easy descent into Edale. Breakfast in the Newbold Farm Cafe sorted me out before getting a train back to Sheffield and my bus home.
How I counted
To keep things simple, I counted as wild camp nights, rather than locations. This conveniently got around staying in the same place 2 nights running this last time. I allowed camps at (not in) bothies, but not those at informal “sites” (ie places set aside for people to “wild camp” usually with some sort of facilities – various places on the Great Glen Way for example). Ultimately, for me it’s the need to cope without facilities that is the defining factor – it’s not just about being in a remote location.
I could possibly look at my camps from a different angle and camp 200 might be something different, but it doesn’t really matter: however, it’s counted I’ve done in the region of 200 and don’t plan to stop.
How do I know how many I’ve done ? Well, it probably doesn’t surprise you that I’ve kept a log. The primary reason for this is so that I don’t forget them – it’s not about logging stuff for the sake of it. Nevertheless, the act of logging them does give me the opportunity to record additional things like: what tent I used, what the conditions were, how good a camp it was, where it was etc etc. So now follows some stats (feel free to skip this bit and just jump to the nice pictures)…
Location: 57 of the 200 (28.5%) have been in the Lakes, which is not difficult to believe when that’s what started it all off. I’ve done 39 (19.5%) in each of the South East and South West. Here South East basically consists of almost all of my stealth camps (42 stealth in total, I’ve done a small number in other areas), and South West is overwhelmingly Dartmoor. I’ve done 26 in Scotland – mostly on the TGO Challenge. The only other area with a significant number is Wales where I’ve done 25 which is mainly due to abortive attempts on the Cambrian Way.
More specifically, in terms of the pitch locations: Hillsides and summits (103), by lakes/rivers/coast (43), various sorts of fields (21), woodland (14), all the way down to 2 in (disused) quarries.
Tents: Leading the way massively is the Scarp 1 with 87 wild (I’ve also done 13 tame in the Scarp making my 200th wildcamp also my 100th night in the Scarp). A long way behind is the Duomid with 25, Hexpeak with 15 and Lunar Solos with 13. Although the Scarp is the only one of these I still have, I have equivalents to the other 3 mentioned above and expect them to feature the bulk of my camps in the future.
One tent I haven’t mentioned is the Luxe Lightwave II, which I bought for stealth camping in cooler/worse conditions, but which I took to Scotland for the Great Glen Way. This shelter possibly tops the Scarp for being a comfortable tent to spend a few hours in, although it should be noted that if conditions were to be very bad, I would usually take the Scarp for its robustness.
It goes almost without saying that on average bivvies yielded the most miserable and uninspiring camps: I just hate bivvying and am very much a tent camper.
When: I camp year round, but it won’t be much of a surprise to find that it’s concentrated in the warmer months. 74 camps have been in spring with 54 each in summer and autumn. Spring is inflated by the effect of the TGO Challenge, and indeed May itself is the month with most camps. All months between March and October have double figures of wild camps. During the winter months, January is actually my most frequented month – this is probably because of special efforts made at New Year to get out.
2022 is also 10 years since my first wild camp, and I plan to mark the anniversary itself in some way (it was too difficult to try to tie the 200th wild camp, 100th Scarp camp and 10th anniversary together into one event, not least because it would mean doing nothing for two months). This will be on 4th May just before the TGO Challenge so it probably won’t be much, but I’m going to try to make a point of camping out somewhere that night.
I’ll sign off this post with a small gallery of some favourite/best wildcamps – be they due to location, conditions or just enjoyable chill out “nights in”…
Every wildcamp I’ve ever done can be found on my Wildcamp Gallery (1 picture per camp, except for numbers 199 and 200 which are the same picture, lol).