Van life 'wild camping' or not this September

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fatbikerbill
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Van life 'wild camping' or not this September

Post by fatbikerbill » Tue Jul 21, 2020 7:01 pm

I am a total van virgin, with the exception of riding pillion in pete's vans.

We're looking at renting a van from mid September doing North East England and Scotland probably.

We've never done organised holidays.

1. Are we generally OK to stop and camp wherever it takes us, with in reason obviously.

2. Do we need to book campsites?

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JohnClimber
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Re: Van life 'wild camping' or not this September

Post by JohnClimber » Tue Jul 21, 2020 8:42 pm

fatbikerbill wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 7:01 pm
1. Are we generally OK to stop and camp wherever it takes us, with in reason obviously.
Generally no, we've done it and as long as you are VERY respectful, off the road, not on private land and out of sight of houses you might be OK.... There are plenty of no overnight signs in the North East too.
But this is 2020 with all the wild campers giving us a bad name so you may get a knock on the door from any local plod with nothing better to do
fatbikerbill wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 7:01 pm
2. Do we need to book campsites?
I would say so, as campsites can't run with their normal levels of customers this year what with social distancing, so places will be numbers.

slarge
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Re: Van life 'wild camping' or not this September

Post by slarge » Tue Jul 21, 2020 8:52 pm

As John says.
If your van looked like a builders van you might get away with stopping in semi urban places but you'd need to be arriving late, off early and not sitting around a campfire in the evening. If you're van is more camper van / motorhome then you need sites and bookings. Lots of places are filling up fast at the moment, and if your van doesn't have it's own facilities you might be very limited as to the sites that will accept you.

North East (Northumberland etc) is getting a bit wary of overnight van campers - lots of signs going up and height limits in carparks etc to discourage overnight stops.

fatbikerbill
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Re: Van life 'wild camping' or not this September

Post by fatbikerbill » Wed Jul 22, 2020 7:06 am

Thx both.

I certainly wouldn't stop anywhere 'urban'.

I really would rather not have to book.

Mid September is after school holidays so the parent/child rush should mainly be over.

I'll try a few phone calls and see what sites are saying.

fatbikerbill
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Re: Van life 'wild camping' or not this September

Post by fatbikerbill » Wed Jul 22, 2020 7:10 am

Just found this link which might prove useful.

http://wildcamping.moonfruit.com/pub-st ... 4563550207

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ScotRoutes
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Re: Van life 'wild camping' or not this September

Post by ScotRoutes » Wed Jul 22, 2020 7:52 am

This is a very hot topic at the moment in Scotland.

Many sites aren't opening at all this year. Those that are could really do with your custom.

September is still quite busy for campervans and motorhomes. Remember, the demographic of the owners tends to be the retired who also prefer to holiday when the kids aren't.

The increase in vans and mohos has put pressure on the "wild" parking spots. In some cases locals are now blocking these off whereas they had previously accepted a few travellers. Legally, you are not allowed to drive off the public highway without the landowners consent. That includes many of the more popular "wild camping" spots.

There are a number of schemes involving pubs, cafes etc whereby you can park in their grounds in exchange for your custom.

Forestry and Land Scotland (was the Forestry Commission) are now allowing overnight parking/camping in a few of their car parks. This was only announced last week.

There are good resources on Facebook - groups for campervan/motorhomes. I'd join at least one of these.

There is a campaign group now lobbying for the establishments of Aires - basic overnight stopping places common in Europe.

Rasta
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Re: Van life 'wild camping' or not this September

Post by Rasta » Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:32 am

Scotland is easy. England a headache.

If you are not sure if the location is okay, don't drink alcohol. Always be ready to move on.

Scud
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Re: Van life 'wild camping' or not this September

Post by Scud » Wed Jul 22, 2020 10:18 am

If you're planning on Scotland, have a look at Cameron McNeish's FB page, he posted something with his views and it has rumbled on all week, with many different opinions.

Strangely i was looking into the legalities of alcohol and camper vans this week, i used to be an RTA lawyer and now work for an insurer Defending claims, legally if your vehicle is registered as a camper van with the DVLA, when you park up and take keys out of ignition, it becomes a "temporary domicile" and you can legally drink alcohol within it, clearly you must be sober to drive it. BUT... if it is a converted van, if it is not registered with DVLA as a camper and insured as such (which is getting more and more difficult) then you shouldn't be drinking in it if parked on road.

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ScotRoutes
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Re: Van life 'wild camping' or not this September

Post by ScotRoutes » Wed Jul 22, 2020 10:51 am

My converted van was re-registered with DVLA, though that's getting more difficult now (e.g. pop-tops can no longer be re-classified, they need to be high-roof vans).

Interesting comment about the "temporary domicile" though. The laws on alcohol consumption have always been a bit grey, the theory being that you are still "drunk in charge of a vehicle" even if you are parked up and have the keys out. I don't think anyone has ever been prosecuted for this though.

Rasta
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Re: Van life 'wild camping' or not this September

Post by Rasta » Wed Jul 22, 2020 11:52 am

There is another side to drinking. If you are asked to move on and you can't because of alcohol consumption, then the police can call for a garage to tow you and you pay.

boxelder
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Re: Van life 'wild camping' or not this September

Post by boxelder » Wed Jul 22, 2020 9:08 pm

In the Lakes, Police are working with other agencies to target wild camping/vans parked on roadside or private land. They've made this very public knowledge. People are taking the p155 at the moment, so understandable.

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