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    #16
    Excellent rules, give or take a few points, I'd definitely agree as a fulltime wild camper of 6 years with almost all of what's written there.

    As a man though, I disagree about moving on.
    When I park up for the night in a new location, the first thing I do is find out precisely where I am so I can explain not just the road name, but where U am in location to local garage, shop, landmark, etc etc. If there is a local police number I get that too, although 101 usually suffices, and 999 on 1 occasion over the 6 years.

    The last time was in Berwick, in a deserted, public car park by the beach with no stated restrictions, and it was after dark. I was processing some images on the laptop and a couple of Ferraris came into the car park. One had a black Corsa body kit and the other one was disguised as a Clio. They gave me the usual harassment, revving, donutting, horn's blaring etc. On their third visit I got out my Lenser torch and gave them both a blast in the face of 200 lumens at 20 feet.
    This enraged them and on about the 6th visit, they decided to throw something at the van. I ran out with my 4xD cell maglite and they took off. After checking the van there was no damage and I couldn't even find what they'd thrown.

    I rang 101, and whilst speaking to the police I set off to find the 2 cars. By a stroke of luck, I ended up blocking the road just as the police came in the other end, trapping the Corsa. The police refused to let me speak to them, but said one worked in a bank, the other was a soldier on leave, both from a "nice end of town" and neither known to the police at all.
    I stayed in principle another 2 nights in that car park, because to leave would encourage the young men to believe they could win, and they would likely do it again. I wanted them to know that I have a right to be there, I won't be intimidated to leave, and the police will back me up when push comes to shove. Who knows, perhaps those two will never do it again as a result? Perhaps they'll hate motorhomers even more as they "lost".

    I think as a safety strategy it's advisable to move, in almost every case. As a principle, I will never move under thsoe sort of circumstances.
    I'd love to hear other peoples' experiences.

    Comment


      #17
      Wilding & yobs!

      I've had just two negative experiences.

      One was not too far from home when I found my van (Kangoo panel van) surrounded by youths knocking on the sides and shining bright torches in. It was a little worrying at the time when they started trying door handles but on listening to them, I could see the concern was for themselves and not knowing who was parked there. I had some noted directions to remote Welsh villages on the dashboard and could hear them reading them and querying whether I was a 'Russian spy'! It was still uncomfortable so I prepared myself for a quick getaway. By now, they were shouting and the van was surrounded. I asked for some space and promised to move, slid into the driver's seat, switched on the ignition, pulled away the curtain - at which point they exclaimed "It's a woman!" and immediately backed off. I then saw there were some families now watching the commotion which put a different slant on things - the youths were not thugs at all.

      I drove an obscure route with some sharp turns for the next 10 miles to ensure I wasn't followed then digested what had happened: I don't think they meant any harm and were more concerned about an anonymous white van parking in a semi-rural spot not too far from housing. I suspect there might have been some trouble there and the gang were keeping watch and protecting their area.


      The second incident was more prolonged. I was tucked up in my bunk beside Nash Point lighthouse near Llantwit Major. It was a busy Easter weekend with glorious weather and the crowds were out making finding a wilding spot difficult. I'd often parked there out of season but this night was different.

      About 1am, a car load of youths arrived, drove past my Kangoo Roo campervan hidden behind some bushes and then drove along the narrow footpath to the lighthouse while I listened. After 20 minutes they drove back again, passed my van and drove away. Then they caught a glimpse, turned around and began flashing lights, shouting etc. I didn't respond and they drove away. They didn't go far - I could see the filaments in their brake lamps dim as they parked in the foliage thinking they were hidden.

      Then - they came back again, and again, and again, becoming more aggressive and threatening each time. I crept into the driver's seat with my key poised to make a getaway and second hand ready to rip down my silver screens. But... although 2-3 youths had left the car, I couldn't see if anyone was still in it. If so, they could trap me here at the far end of the track on a clifftop beside a sharp drop and, bearing in mind how many times they'd driven away and returned, there was the risk there could be further accomplices lying in wait around the corner. So, I made the decision to stay put but I knew I was trapped.

      The youths were becoming more aggressive and frustrated and for the first time in all my many years of wild-camping, I felt at risk. There was no option now - I needed help and so I ended up calling the police!

      They were very good. It took a while for Avon and Somerset police to round up the Cardiff team to send 2 officers around - and they didn't know where Nash Point was and had to call for directions. In the meantime, a helicopter was on standby should things have taken a turn for the worse.

      The police arrived, flashed their lights as arranged and I was escorted out. The youths were nowhere to be seen but I was advised there had been trouble there over previous weeks. I was anticipating a ticking off but the police were most courteous and professional and I suspect this little incident had provided some light relief from picking up drunks from Cardiff city centre.

      Needless to say, Nash Point and the surrounding area is no longer on my wildcamping list.


      My policy is different to yours. If I'm troubled, I prefer to remain completely silent and give away no clues re who is inside the van (obviously only one person due to the size of the vehicle) and I would never leave the vehicle under any circumstances.

      I know other wilders who handle situations differently - usually large blokes who use the appearance of seven days of stubble, a woolly hat, menacing frown and boggle eyed stare which seems to do the trick and sends youths off in a shot!
      Last edited by karenw; 26-08-2012, 12:29.

      Comment


        #18
        What a story Karen. Always scary no matter who you are I think.
        I think it is wise to stay in the van, for me the point at which staying hidden is no longer viable is where they begin to touch the van or throw things at it. It's much more menacing than simply revving, horn blowing or shouting, and can't be tolerated.

        If you do go out, I think the primary purpose has to be to placate. My diplomatic skills are quite good, but it depends entirely on each situation. Sometimes you just now that talking is not an option.

        My rule of thumb when I do go outside is, any weapon you carry can be taken from you and used against you, and 2 rowdy teenagers can usually best a strong grown man unless he's very nasty. So physical confrontation is the last option. Besides, even if you can win, who wants that kind of activity before bed

        Nevertheless, after 6 years of wild camping, I've had less problems than I did in 6 years of having bad neighbours

        Comment


          #19
          Problems you describe are part of the wider "yob culture" ...
          See excellent diagnosis in Francis Gilbert's book:
          Yob Nation

          Good advice about avoiding confrontation.

          Comment


            #20
            Scary. Will stick to sites and leave the wild bits to others!

            We were stewarding a rally recently on a field at the back of a village hall. The field had a public footpath through it and it was well used. Although the villagers knew we would be there, I did wonder if any of the visiting walkers wondered about our intentions. We also had to go the night before it started and stay there alone. We are in the centre of picture in corner of field.



            Another member from this forum arrived there for the meet, sorry to say I did not see you leave so hope you had a safe journey home. You know who you were!
            Attached Files

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              #21
              I had a scary situation at a recent meet, I was sitting in the van minding my own business when I saw someone walking over with something wrapped up, I immediately suspected they might have a knife or a gun so fearing for my life I gingerly opened the door, thankfully the suspect package was a piece of cake.

              I think I'll leave wilding to others too.
              Graham
              Did you know you can follow us on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter or you can visit us at our Website

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                #22
                quote----I had a scary situation at a recent meet, I was sitting in the van minding my own business when I saw someone walking over with something wrapped up, I immediately suspected they might have a knife or a gun so fearing for my life I gingerly opened the door, thankfully the suspect package was a piece of cake.----quote


                CRUMBS!
                Young men sow wild oats.Old men grow sage.

                Comment


                  #23
                  Very good info for would be wilders, and I had a good chuckle while reading some of the posts. The large dog bowl is a very good idea I would be more worried my size 11's will be pinched if I left them outside
                  Regards Martin :rollonfloorlaughing

                  Comment


                    #24
                    Happy times staying off-site

                    Hi,
                    Just want to tell you about some lovely nights spent off-site (is that a better description?) - a.k.a. 'wild camping'. I'm a solo woman camper in my 60's.

                    I bought my lovely, very old Romahome from Ant (Avon Motor Homes, near Bristol) around Eastertime, and have stayed one night in a posh campsite, to fill up with water and charge up my electricity.

                    Otherwise, I've stayed at a singing camp in Dorset (with my 4 year old grandson), at a residential centre while on a dance course, at a small festival in Chepstow (Green Gathering) and outside friends' homes. I also stayed on a few basic, rustic campsites (compost loos) in Dorset with a friend, who put up her tent alongside the Roma.

                    Also, en route to other destinations, I've stayed on quiet roadsides, quiet beach roads, wooded laybys, beauty-spot carparks and a few days ago at the entrance to a beanfield.

                    I'm lucky because I grew up in the country so I'm not scared of the countryside - statistically much safer than the city - and I have to say I usually have a great time watching stunning sunsets and dawn breaking, making myself supper and listening to my radio. On the last trip I picked luscious blackberries for my breakfast.

                    This so-called wild camping gives me a lot of pleasure - I relish solitude for a day or two, it means I can break my journey to faraway destinations without cost, I can enjoy the countryside and the views and it's a little bit of an adventure into the unknown.

                    I just wanted to put in the positive side of sleeping 'off-site'. I recommend it if you're at all inclined to try it.

                    S

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                      #25
                      It sounds wonderful. This is the sort of luxury and seclusion others miss out on when stuck on a camp site!

                      Comment


                        #26
                        You may call it wild camping but I call it survival.

                        I was in the Royal Marines for 9 years and became a survival instructor, teaching others how to survive in the wilds with very little or no kit, what to eat, what to catch and when you could catch it, how to extract water from certain tree's, how to light a fire with nothing but what you have around you etc.

                        My 11 year old granddaughter was well into forestry School at her own school, she would sit and tell me the things that she had learnt and I would sit and listen with interest, then my wife told our granddaughter that granddad was a survival specialist in the RM and asked me to teach her, we would go out for a day into the woods and I would teach her how to lay traps to catch animals, (I wouldn't allow the traps to stay in place once the lesson was over the traps were removed, I showed her the best tree in the woods that any survival expert loves and that is the birch bark tree, The inner bark of white birch is edible. It can be cooked and eaten or dried and ground into flour for bread or used as a thickening agent.

                        The bark also has some medicinal properties. The oil from the inner bark is an astringent and can be used to treat wounds. The outer bark has antibacterial properties and when used as a container for food and water, it is believed to inhibit the growth of bacteria. I could write a whole lesson on out British birch bark but maybe another day. One thing I will say about the birch tree is that during the last week in January to the first week in February you can tap the tree for the purest water you can ever taste and depending on the species of birch tree it can often take on a slightly sweet flavour but if you ever do extract water from a birch tree please remember to plug the hole afterwards and seal it with clay or mud to prevent the tree getting a infection, you never know someone else may need it one day.

                        I see some people collect water from streams, this is fine in most cases but I personally wouldn't drink water even from a running stream, how do you know if a wild or farm animal hasn't been laying dead a mile up stream, leaving the stream with Microbiological contamination? the stream will be contaminated so what you may think is clean water can contain Coliform bacteria they live in soil or vegetation and in the gastrointestinal tract of animals. Coliforms enter water supplies from the direct disposal of waste into streams or lakes or from that dead animal I mentioned.
                        Coliforms are not a single type of bacteria, but a grouping of bacteria that includes many strains, such as E. coli. They are ubiquitous in nature, and many types are harmless. Therefore, it is not definitive that coliform bacteria will cause sickness. You can boil the water but make sure it's kept on a rolling boil for at least 10 minutes, wait until cool and then drink it. You can carry as I do water purification tablets.

                        A SAS friend of mine showed me his survival pack one day, I was intrigued to see a small glass vile that contained what looked like gun powder, it wasn't gun powder but Potassium permanganate, sounds all scientific doesn't it? but I bet most of you reading this have had it in your mouth at one time or another? Ever been to the dentist to have teeth removed or work done on them? remember the dentist giving you that pink stuff to swill your mouth with? well that is Potassium permanganate. If you use Potassium permanganate then it is important you use no more than 4 grains a grain being the size of sand grains and it will turn the water pink as we see the dentist. (4 grains of PP to one ltr of water.)
                        Have you ever wanted to light a camp fire only to find you forgot/lost your lighter or matches? again Potassium permanganate a table spoon full, pour on some glycerine and stand back, a lot of smoke billows up and then whoosh it bursts into flames and you have your fire. I do carry a small vile of PP and a small vile of glycerine but would only ever use it as a last resort. I carry a lighter as my first preference then a Compact fire starter with ferrocerium rod and metal striker, in my fire starting kit I also carry the bark of our old faithful tree the birch bark, this will light even when wet, get a fire going and that alone will boost your moral.

                        Sorry if you think this is a long post but I have been on rescue missions where people have been ill prepared and got them selves caught in a severe change of weather that came on without warning. I could write a book on survival but common sense is worth so much more.

                        One more thing before I go, when wild camping, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time, take nothing but photographs.
                        "Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time"

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                          #27
                          The term 'wild camping' is used quite loosely here.

                          Bedding down in a fully-insulated van with a fridge, hob, running water etc isn't really my definition of 'wild camping' but the term is used to differentiate it from paying a small fortune to park overnight on a piece of grass or gravel surrounded by other vans.

                          My real definition of wildcamping would be backpacking along a footpath, eg Pembs Coastal Path and camping along the route in a basic tent and cooking a basic meal, or cycle touring with tent and all provisions which I'm starting to do.

                          While in Scotland in May I met quite a few genuine wildcampers and drinking water quality was always a concern for them too. Their policy was to always select from the highest point of a stream on the basis. Personally, I prefer to play it safe and carry bottled water but this isn't always practical miles away from suburbia.

                          I admire those with survival skills and have a huge amount to learn myself but in practice, my cycle touring has a limited radius and tends to involve overnights in farmer's fields

                          Comment


                            #28
                            Originally posted by karenw View Post
                            The term 'wild camping' is used quite loosely here.

                            Bedding down in a fully-insulated van with a fridge, hob, running water etc isn't really my definition of 'wild camping' but the term is used to differentiate it from paying a small fortune to park overnight on a piece of grass or gravel surrounded by other vans.

                            My real definition of wildcamping would be backpacking along a footpath, eg Pembs Coastal Path and camping along the route in a basic tent and cooking a basic meal, or cycle touring with tent and all provisions which I'm starting to do.

                            While in Scotland in May I met quite a few genuine wildcampers and drinking water quality was always a concern for them too. Their policy was to always select from the highest point of a stream on the basis. Personally, I prefer to play it safe and carry bottled water but this isn't always practical miles away from suburbia.

                            I admire those with survival skills and have a huge amount to learn myself but in practice, my cycle touring has a limited radius and tends to involve overnights in farmer's fields
                            Totally agree with you on the terms used for wild camping karenw and when my little camper is on the road it will be complete luxury to what I've been accustomed too. My definition of wild camping is disappearing into the woods with nothing but a knife and a compass, live off the land and build shelters with what you have available. The only thing I would ever touch that you can find near streams is a plant called meadowsweet, believe me it is one of the nicest drinks you can make especially if you like cordial drinks.

                            Getting to old to go running around and surviving in woods now so once the little camper is up and running I'll still be pulling up and asking a farmer if I can stay over night in a gateway or field or crashing it a secluded lay bye somewhere but I will be taking my survival kit with me and keeping my hand in, Just sleeping in pure luxury lol

                            You are right in playing it safe with bottled water because Just by picking the highest point of a stream doesn't make it exempt from bacteria, Animals especially deer often visit the peaks of mountains and Scotland has plenty of deer and the softest of water in the country.

                            I still have my hammocks that in my later years would sleep in and that was luxury and I also have a tarp, a tarp many people just use it as a ground sheet but I've used it as a shelter and made very good tents from it, have a google on tarp set ups, when you think of the size of a tent when a tarp will fit in a woman's small hand bag. Will dig out one of my photo's when I set my tarp up in my garden for the grandkids to play in.
                            "Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time"

                            Comment


                              #29
                              Tarp with front open

                              "Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time"

                              Comment


                                #30
                                Too frightening!

                                Goodness how brave you all are, when I do get my motorhome I think I'll stick to camp sites ☺Liz

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