Blue Remembered Hills - Wild Camping at Stiperstones & The Long Mynd

May28th/29th 2019 _____________________________________________ Into my heart an air that killsFrom yon far country blows:What are those blue remembered hills,What spires, what farms are those?That is the land of lost content,I see it shining plain,The happy highways where I wentAnd cannot come again.
(A.E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad, 1896)_____________________________________________
A bit emo was old Alfred Edward, but if you've read my blog entry for the first day of my tour of Wales by Vespa last spring, you'll know that I had a fleeting visit to The Long Mynd in Shropshire, a place I'd been a few times many years before. On that occasion, and every occasion before that, I had been equally enchanted by the exotic scenery (relatively close to my Midlands home) and frustrated by 'what the hell lies over yonder hills'. I'd never had time, energy, permission or petrol enough to just keep climbing up, up and over this area known as 'Little Switzerland', and …

Looking For The Perfect Pitch...

April 11th 2019  After 30 years looking for the perfect beat, I've spent the last 6 months looking for the perfect pitch.

Since September, when this 'thing' started to take hold, I've trodden hundreds of square miles of woodland trying to find a 'perfect' bushcraft camp spot within walking distance of home. It has been a frustrating experience. There is an abundance of woodland round here, but every spot I think holds hope has fundamental flaws. Here's a list of potential perfect pitch problems :
98% of the woodland is too hilly for ground sleeping. I have yet to be sold on hammock camping...Too many paths nearby with folks traipsing/mountain biking/walking dogs to get away with itNice spots ruined by terrible litter (the otherwise gorgeous woods behind Keele Uni...)Nice, clean flat spots where the ground is so thick with bracken litter and brambles you have no hope of getting a peg in the ground, or coming away with an undamaged tent/tarp.The ever present …

My Dream Tent, A Clean Vespa, and Another Trip to The Peak

March 29th 2019  Well less than a week after my last post and I've been out again. What prompted it was a very, very rash decision - on Wednesday I took the plunge and bought my dream tent, arguably amongst the best one man tents money can buy - the Hilleberg Soulo. In tent terms, it's an Aston Martin, it's hard to get posher. Or more expensive...

I really can't afford it and will be paying the debt off for months, but I hope it will be worth it. It means I'm ready for most of what the UK weather can throw at me in terms of a shelter, and can go on the sort of trips that Rich Dytch goes on with minimal faff - hopefully with the man himself before too long (it is now 6 months since my first wild camp with him).

I also spent all Tuesday evening de-wintering the Vespa, and giving her a good clean. Filled with the joys of spring, I rode out to a place in The Peak less than an hour away on Wednesday evening for a recce of a potential spot, based mainly on a couple of Y…

Begging Letters - Bits n' Bobs n' Belgian Beers

Feb/March 2019 Despite some record breaking warmth late Feb, most weekends this year so far have been a camping unfriendly combo of downpours from both the sky and my nostrils. This was quite frustrating as I'd bought some new kit I was dying to test out. However, I did manage a few minor excursions.

A new year's resolution in January had been to write to local (walking distance) landowners to see if they would grant permission for me to camp on a suitable piece of their land. This begging letter had to be pitched ('scuse the pun) just right to reassure them that I meant no harm, I was a fine upstanding member of the community (*cough*) and that I would promise to use their property respectfully and discretely. I also offered cash, or a gift, or a donation to charity, or even manual labour by way of thanks.

Of about ten inquiries, I got replies from three. One very politely said no way (for livestock and insurance reasons); another said no but put me in touch with a friend…

Sub Zero Winter Woodland Wildcamp - No Tent

2nd February 2019
My ribs healed as January progressed, much quicker than I'd hoped for. Rich and I had been exchanging messages for weeks, organising a winter overnighter (somewhere hilly to be confirmed) for the weekend before this, but the weather was shocking (high winds, rain and sleet, no visibility) so we postponed. Snow and very chilly temps from Tuesday onwards had meant the Vespa was out of action (my one rule - never scoot in snow and ice) and I had been walking the 11k home from work most of the week. This took me through local woodland at dusk each evening, and the dusting of snow looked very inviting in the twilight. Thoughts turned to squeezing in a sneaky one on Saturday night...

I had really enjoyed my last day camp with the steak and eggs. The tarp shelter I made was very cosy and the location wasn't bad at all, so I decided I was going to go there again and do much the same, but this time stay until morning. Despite saving some weight in my pack by leaving t…

Steak & Eggs & A Side Splitting Doss

Christmas & New Year 2018/19 A couple of (cough) 'microadventures' bookended my festive two weeks off work. One was fairly wholesome and involved a long day of woodland walking and cooking, whilst the other was frankly just silly.

Let's get the silly one out of the way first. It was Friday evening, 21st of December, and I had just finished work for the holidays a few hours before. I was at home enjoying a nice dram or two of Jameson's and kick starting the festivities with a family Chrimbo film. All very nice and civilised, and no plans to be outdoors. Until I popped into the back yard as everyone was going to bed and saw a huge full moon illuminating a slightly misty and beautifully still night.

Now, I don't have a lawn to pitch up in, but at the back of our house is a playing field, and in the middle is the unusual feature of a 6 foot high raised 'island', with reasonably flat grass and a rather grand tree growing out of it. Local kids like to climb u…