Stephen Graham’s ‘The Gentle Art of Tramping’ (1927) is a little gem of a book that celebrates the life lived outdoors, roaming free, wild and without a care.
“Tramping”, Graham tell us, is;
“first of all a rebellion against housekeeping and daily and monthly accounts. You may escape from the spending mania…in tramping you are not earning a living, but earning a happiness”.
This is much the way I think about wild camping. It’s one of the few activities left that hasn’t been occupied by consumerism and the constant demand to spend and buy. Sure, you might need to purchase some kit and stuff but the actual doing of wild camping is absolutely free.
In the book, and the reason for this post, Graham describes the joy of a wild camp by the river:
“There is a strange and wonderful vigilance about the river which rolls past us where we sleep in the grass, murmuring and calling the whole night long, something of the vigilance of the starry sky. You sleep, but an eternal sleepness sentry paces by all the while.”
I’ve only wild camped once by a river and it was a slow-moving East Anglian (the Wissey) one which hardly made a sound, the occasional squabbling of ducks was all I could hear. But I know what Graham means, I could most certainly feel the presence of the river.