In last year’s wild camping review post I listed three wild camps and confidently predicted at least 6 for 2014. However, I can only list two wild camps this year (and one ‘almost’ wild camp), which is a little disappointing.
Yes, I could give various reasons and excuses for this (weather, family commitments etc, etc) but still, it’s a pretty poor number. Having said that, I did manage two very enjoyable nights out under the stars.
Both nights were in woods in Hertfordshire, a hugely underrated county with much tree cover and great opportunities for crafty wild camps.
Spring wild camp in Badger Wood
In April I took half of a Polish Lavvu tent to Badger Wood.
It was a cold night and a little uncomfortable with just a couple of thin mats between myself and the floor of the wood. I’ll be investing in a decent, comfy mat for 2015, so a good lesson learnt there.
I’m not sure now why I only took half of the Lavvu tent, a bit of a daft decision looking back at it now.
Wild camp in Barking Fox wood
A few months later I was in another Hertfordshire wood with my hammock. A very comfortable and warm night this time, hammocks are just perfect for wild camping in the woods.
Sort of wild camp at Wicken Fen
Wicken Fen is large wetland nature reserve based near the Cambridgeshire fen village of Wicken. Run by the National Trust, the reserve includes a ‘wild camping’ site that can be used by groups or individuals. While not strictly wild camping (it costs £35 for the night, for a whole group) it’s a wonderful place to spend the night.
In the summer, I went with twelve 12 year old boys and two other adults and a dog. The boys had a fantastic time, as did the adults, though we could have done with more than the three hours sleep the youngsters allowed us.
The site is made up of four open huts like the one above.
The no sleep blues
Not sleeping for a full night is still my number one concern. Even in the hammock, where I was snug and warm all night long, my mind refused to keep still and enjoy the experience. At most I managed a couple of hours unbroken sleep which is just not enough, especially if I’m planning to hike a bit the following day.
I don’t have a problem with sleeping when in a tent. I guess the psychological feel of protection afforded by the walls of the tent makes the difference. Tents are fine but I’m a bit of a romantic and really want to sleep out in the open, so I’ll just need more practice, more wild camps for 2015, it’s the only way!
So, I won’t make any predictions for 2015. What I will be doing is investing in some new kit, particularly a comfy mat and a larger bivvy bag. I might even start camping out in my back garden once a month, anything to sort out the sleep issue!
How about you? What was your 2014 wild camping year like? And if you didn’t wild camp then, do you plan to in 2015?