Wildcamping toxic?

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Bearbonesnorm
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Wildcamping toxic?

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Fri Jul 10, 2020 12:11 pm

Saw this on FB, thought it was interesting and I have to say that I kind of agree. Here, we're perhaps fortunate that an entire 24 hours is usually described as 'bikepacking' with no great distinction made between the part of the day when you're riding and the part when you're not?

Cameron McNeish
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Just as campervannersrs and motorhomes are discussing the relevance of the term 'wild camping' I'd love backpackers and hillwalkers to consider the use of the term as well.

At the moment it appears that 'wild camping' covers everything from stealth bivouacs in the mountains to pitching a tent by the side of the road. Sadly it also includes those who drag a throw-away tent from the back of a car, party all night and leave all their rubbish behind, rubbish that often includes the tent!

This use of a name might not matter to many but I'm concerned that it associates decent, leave-no-trace campers with the litter louts.

It also creates difficulties for legislators.

I suspect the current ban on wild camping in the hills under the Covid lockdown rules has come about because the Scottish Government advisors don't recognise the difference between clean leave-no-trace camping and what has been going on in popular honey-spots during lockdown, where massive amounts of litter has been left behind by campers.

Exactly the same situation arose a few years ago in the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park when, because of the bad behaviour of a few car campers, genuine backpackers, like West Highland Way walkers, were criminalised for simply spending a few hours in a lightweight tent when resting up from their day's hiking.

Like it or not the term 'wild camping' has become toxic.

I refuse to use it for my own activities whether I'm spending the night outdoors on a backpacking or a bike packing trip and I certainly wouldn't use it for describing overnight parking in my campervan.
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PaulE
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Re: Wildcamping toxic?

Post by PaulE » Fri Jul 10, 2020 12:43 pm

I sadly have to agree. I find the use of "wild camping" to mean sleeping in a van in a scenic layby (which I have no problems with, and used to do when I had a van pre-kids) is a major part of the issue.

Bivying? Kipping out? Power nap by the trail? Can't really think of another suitable bit of nomenclature sadly
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Re: Wildcamping toxic?

Post by jam bo » Fri Jul 10, 2020 12:50 pm

Dartmoor National Park have some pretty clear and fair guidelines as to what they consider wild camping:

https://www.dartmoor.gov.uk/enjoy-dartm ... es/camping

Doesn’t mean it doesn’t get widely ignored.

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Re: Wildcamping toxic?

Post by whitestone » Fri Jul 10, 2020 12:54 pm

PaulE wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 12:43 pm
Bivying? Kipping out? Power nap by the trail? Can't really think of another suitable bit of nomenclature sadly
The Yanks use "stealth camping" which is probably closer to what we do.
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Re: Wildcamping toxic?

Post by RIP » Fri Jul 10, 2020 12:59 pm

Mmm, personally I'd try to leave the word 'camping' out 'cos it's often synonymous with 'f1re' (I mentioned it once but I think I got away with it).

'Bivvying' does it for me - or more accurately 'tarping' in my case (which term, helpfully, nobody understands anyway).
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Re: Wildcamping toxic?

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Fri Jul 10, 2020 1:04 pm

After some pondering, I can't help think that a change has taken place ... once, people 'wild camped' as an integral part of a journey but recently, it seems that the 'camp' has become the prime objective and any journey required to facilitate it is an inconvenience ... lots of social media posts asking 'where's the nearest place I can park to X' etc.

Personally, I think the same thing happened when bothies became a destination but we'll save that for another day. :wink:
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Re: Wildcamping toxic?

Post by whitestone » Fri Jul 10, 2020 1:13 pm

The French have two terms, I think they are legally defined - maybe someone knows for definite: "Camping Sauvage", translates as "wild camping" which is how you'd camp on a licensed campsite but somewhere else that isn't licensed or has facilities, and "bivouacer" or bivouacking/bivvying which is just a temporary overnight camp/stop. Except in specifically indicated locations, usually forests where there's a fire risk, then bivvying is legal.
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Re: Wildcamping toxic?

Post by RIP » Fri Jul 10, 2020 1:16 pm

Bearbonesnorm wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 1:04 pm
but we'll save that for another day. :wink:
Nah, crack on with it, we're just getting warmed up now :lol: .

Bloody bothies, I remember when.....
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Re: Wildcamping toxic?

Post by jameso » Fri Jul 10, 2020 1:20 pm

Bivouac - French for 'Mistake'

:grin: but in seriousness, I've been questioned why/what I was doing by a landowner in the past, I said I was riding home (truth) and had got lost after dark (not quite true but not BS either) and had decided to sleep here a few hours and would be gone at first light (true). Seemed ok with it but I think that's the beauty of a bivi bag, you can pass it off as unplanned in the true mountaineer's sense of being benighted cos you're too slow/went wrong somewhere/conditions etc. It's like a survival bag. A tent looks much more pre-meditated.

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Re: Wildcamping toxic?

Post by PaulE » Fri Jul 10, 2020 1:25 pm

Bearbonesnorm wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 1:04 pm
After some pondering, I can't help think that a change has taken place ... once, people 'wild camped' as an integral part of a journey but recently, it seems that the 'camp' has become the prime objective and any journey required to facilitate it is an inconvenience ...
Exactly - I guess it's the difference between camping to ride and riding to camp... And I suspect that plenty on here view this from both perspectives depending on the day
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Re: Wildcamping toxic?

Post by faustus » Fri Jul 10, 2020 1:54 pm

Have to agree with much of that. It's pretty bonkers to include sleeping in a motorhome in a lay-by as wild camping!? But I agree, the term has now become synonymous with negative behaviour and anyone doing something at the responsible end of the scale will pay the price of mistrust from landowners and authorities. No matter if we call it bivvying, or stealth camping, we'll still have to be extra cautious and...stealthy about it! I think lockdown has probably accelerated instances of it this year, there seem to be so many wanting to get out for some relief when restrictions are lifted.

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Re: Wildcamping toxic?

Post by Lazarus » Fri Jul 10, 2020 2:29 pm

I shall use stealth caming
Those referred to as wild camping, who ruin it, are basically having a party in the countryside rather than camping.

I see no connection between me and them though i suspect the general public does

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Re: Wildcamping toxic?

Post by Scud » Fri Jul 10, 2020 2:40 pm

I have always just made sure my area is really tidy when i bivvy, i don't use a tent because then it is "camping" i feel to a landowner, i feel a bivvy bag sets you slightly aside, i make a point of having any rubbish in a clear bag and attached to bike, i make sure that as i go to sleep i don't have stuff lying everywhere and so to them it is clear i am not planning on dropping rubbish and i have had no fire and that i am "leaving no trace".

I think if they see you and there is a pile of beer cans etc, then in their eyes, what you are doing has changed from getting your head down on a bike tour to trashing the place...

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Re: Wildcamping toxic?

Post by RIP » Fri Jul 10, 2020 2:42 pm

Scud wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 2:40 pm
i make a point of having any rubbish in a clear bag and attached to bike
I like that idea! Tempting to actually take some carefully selected rubbish along on the ride for "display purposes only" :grin:
i don't use a tent because then it is "camping"
Agreed. I reckon a bivvy bag is the clincher for "I'm not a trouble-maker" but I still can't bring meself to get one, sigh. .
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Re: Wildcamping toxic?

Post by htrider » Fri Jul 10, 2020 2:58 pm

Once I discovered https://wildcamping.co.uk/ I started using the term bivvying, even if a tent was involved. Fortunately things like 'Bivvy a Month' and 'ditchsleeping' have become fairly well known amongst our fraternity so we are able to distance ourselves from the so called wild campers. (Cue swear filter addition?)

I was involved in some of the discussions over the camping bans on East Loch Lomond and other places that Cameron refers to. Jeezo that was a model of hand ringing, conclusion jumping, perspective avoiding, stereotyping, elitism and nimbyism....

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Re: Wildcamping toxic?

Post by Jurassic » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:09 pm

There was a brief and largely unsuccessful attempt to describe party camping as dirty camping which seemed quite a good idea to me. It never really caught on though so maybe if the outdoor activity umbrella organisations considered referring to what we do in a different way to what the motorhomers and dirty campers do it would be helpful? It would help to make the distinction between irresponsible wild camping and low/zero impact camping particularly when interacting with with official bodies.

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Re: Wildcamping toxic?

Post by RIP » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:12 pm

htrider wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 2:58 pm
https://wildcamping.co.uk/
Just had a look. Some of the thread titles do rather position us at opposing ends of the spectrum don't they :lol:

"Folding Aluminium Table"
"Water System On Motor Home"
"Electrolux Fridge Problem"
"Best Hand-held Vacuum Cleaner"
"Incineration Toilets"
"Whale Boiler" (?????????!)
"I Need A Man"
"Chair" (no, that's our BrownDog isn't it - I made that one up of course :grin: )

:lol: "Wild Camping"? (I know, I know... Must Not Take The Piss, Must Not Take The Piss....Each To Their Own, etc etc)
Last edited by RIP on Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:25 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Wildcamping toxic?

Post by RIP » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:17 pm

Yeah alright, they're probably thinking the same thing :lol:

"Mouse Kills Lioness"
"Sleeping Bag Rated to -6"
"Puking Gnome In Close-Up Action"
"Integrated Tapered IS54/40 Bearing"
"Gravel Porn"
" Quarries, Shafts & Killer Cows' Thread"
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Re: Wildcamping toxic?

Post by Cheeky Monkey » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:34 pm

I hadn't realised "wild camping" was such a thing and it was such a big deal. Hey ho :| Name stuff though all a bit "woke" isn't it?

TBH, your average Joe can't separate the multitude of biking past-times (never mind the difference between "people that ride bikes" and "cyclists" - whoever knew there was such a "difference" :wink:) so I suspect any attempt at differentiation about the various degrees of hedge-sleeping is on a hiding to nothing.

Still good forum witter-topic :cool:

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Re: Wildcamping toxic?

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:35 pm

I hadn't realised "wild camping" was such a thing and it was such a big deal. Hey ho :| Name stuff though all a bit "woke" isn't it?
Granted it's not as popular as football or 'celebs cum dancing' but it's pretty big these days. Trouble is, it only takes a very small number of badly behaved (I was going to say ill-informed but that's bollox because dropping litter and pulling down walls has nothing to do with education or information) people to make a big impact for those less cockwombleish folk. :wink:



I wrote this very nearly 5 years a go to the day. At the time some people threw the word elitest about, oddly, I think I was right.

It's difficult to avoid the word Adventure at the moment. It's become very, very popular, seemingly the world has decided to forgo the settee, get off its arse, embrace the great outdoors and embark on an adventure of some shape, size or form. Personally, I think this explosion of interest is great, encouraging people to get outside should be applauded and there's certainly no shortage of people willing to help you sample your own adventure. The media, in all its forms is awash with it, papers, magazines, the web and TV have all cottoned on to the appeal and are doing their best to capture a piece of the action. The literary world hasn't been shy in approaching the table either ... whilst adding 'wild', 'adventure', 'extreme' or 'camp' to the title of a book won't guarantee a best seller, it appears that it certainly doesn't do any harm either ... never before has there been so many people telling the unadventurous and unimaginative how, when and where to have an adventure and that's what bothers me.

Shouldn't adventure be just that - adventurous? Should it not involve an element of risk, a degree of the unknown and a certain amount of discovery along the way? Surely, any endeavour with a guaranteed outcome can't be adventurous? Are we in danger of downgrading 'adventure' in the same way that 'epic' now describes any 3 hour ride that actually involves the use of a map rather than following little arrows and signs within a sterile confines of a conifer forest? As I've already said, I'm wholeheartedly in favour of encouragement and promotion but there's a line, that once crossed sanitises the whole concept and renders not only the word but the entire experience meaningless.

Nothing worth having ever comes easily, instant gratification is instant devaluation and ultimately leads to contempt for whatever we initially sought. There's pleasure and immense satisfaction to be had through discovery and when effort is required the rewards are much greater. How do you feel when someone tells you how a film ends just as you sit down to watch it or reels off the last chapter of a book word for word when you're on page 4? Do you feel grateful that they've saved you the effort? Happy that they've freed you up to get on with something else? No, I didn't think you would. You might decide to continue staring at the screen or turning pages but the unknown has been removed and with it, much of the pleasure too.

Tracking down the location of a bothy used to be a little trickier than it is today. Locations weren't publicised or freely available, you either had to join the MBA or find someone willing to show you ... It's different now. Spending 30 seconds on a computer will arm you with a list of 'accommodation' options long enough to keep you busy for quite a while. I'm unsure why the MBA chose to put their list of bothies in the public domain, maybe it had something to do with the charity status? I really don't know. However, what I do know from my own experience is that bothies generally don't seem any busier ... they just seem to contain more litter and vandalism than before. When finding a bothy took leg-work (either physical or metaphorical) you cherished it, it was somewhere special, knowing that effort had been required gave it value well beyond its roof and stone walls. Obviously MBA bothies aren't the only places to spend the night, there's a good number of less official options. Some are structures and others just places or spaces, they're all special but they're not magic. Burnt ground doesn't just become green once people leave, snapped tree limbs don't regenerate over night and stones don't replace themselves on walls when you turn your back ... it isn't the kitchen from Fantasia.

Until the recent 'adventure explosion' most of these places were shrouded in a little mystery ... their existence may not have been a secret but their locations were usually something known only to those willing to search for them. Is that elitist? Unfair even? I don't think so. You didn't have join a secret society to enable you to enjoy them, you didn't need to pay a membership fee ... you just needed some desire and a willingness to apply yourself. The genuine effort required to find such places is what 'protects' them and should mean, that they'll continue to be there for as many years in the future as they've been there in the past. At the moment it appears that the lid on the lamp is very nearly open but not quite. Once the genie does escape, then it'll be impossible to put him back in and many of these places will cease to exist or their character will change to the point that they'll no longer be recognisable as to what they once were.

Perhaps you could liken things to a party - at the moment it's 9pm and people are turning up ready for a good time but before you know it, most people will have left, having grown tired and bored sometime around 2am, leaving you to tidy the mess up ... and you just know that living room carpet will never be the same again.

Although it probably won't be obvious, I thought long and hard before writing this. It wasn't that I had to think what I was going to write but more a case of whether I should write anything at all for fear of sounding elitist. In fact some people may consider this post in some way hypocritical but I'd disagree, as while I'm wholly committed to encouraging and hopefully inspiring people to seek out their own adventures, I don't think it should be spoon fed because in doing so, it misses the entire point.

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Re: Wildcamping toxic?

Post by ScotRoutes » Fri Jul 10, 2020 8:01 pm

Cheeky Monkey wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:34 pm
Name stuff though all a bit "woke" isn't it?
Words, names and definitions are important when it comes to the law.


As Cameron infers, one of the reasons this has cropped up again is the current ban on "Wild Camping" in place in Scotland under the Coronavirus legislation. Turn up at a lochside carpark in a "self-contained" campervan, motorhome or caravan, and it's perfectly legal* Head off into the wilds on foot or on a bike and camp in the middle of nowhere? Uh uh.

Problem, is the Land Reform Act and associated Scottish Outdoor Access Code didn't differentiate either and yet it's pretty obvious that the issues surrounding each are very different. There has been a push for several years to alter the legislation but it has, so far, gotten nowhere and was completely overlooked in the review of the Act a couple of years ago.










* actually, it's probably not but that's another thing.

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Re: Wildcamping toxic?

Post by jameso » Sat Jul 11, 2020 6:23 am

So 'Wild' camping is camping away from a commercial campsite but still with massive tent, cooker, table and 4 chairs etc or other kit you wouldn't be carrying on your back or bike, all by car or motorhome? Genuine Q : )

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Re: Wildcamping toxic?

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Sat Jul 11, 2020 7:47 am

So 'Wild' camping is camping away from a commercial campsite but still with massive tent, cooker, table and 4 chairs etc or other kit you wouldn't be carrying on your back or bike, all by car or motorhome? Genuine Q : )
For a number of people, it would seem so. The thought of them leaving their fridge, TV, microwave and fold out firepit must be awful for them :wink:
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Re: Wildcamping toxic?

Post by restlessshawn » Sat Jul 11, 2020 8:56 am

I wrote this very nearly 5 years a go to the day. At the time some people threw the word elitest about, oddly, I think I was right
You say elitist like that’s a bad thing :wink:

I certainly won’t be wild camping if anyone asks , in fact I will probably be cycle touring as that still sounds quite respectable

...and yeah bothies were doomed when someone invented the verb bothying

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Re: Wildcamping toxic?

Post by whitestone » Sat Jul 11, 2020 9:00 am

Maybe we should reclaim "wild camping" for what we do: stealthy, low key, LNT, etc. and refer to the less acceptable activity as "trash camping" or similar.
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