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Tuesday Roundup


Duncan provides some of his wild camping photos in “Wild Camping - No contest” to explain what it is. Whilst he the talks about an idea of his “The Wild Camping Association“.

We start pushing for an “opt in scheme”. Communities and Access Land owners can “opt in” to the wild camping scheme. Like the Mountain Bothies Association, membership for public would be optional, but…like the MBA, membership money would be spent on behalf of the facilities.

Robin wrote “Keep ‘em coming”

Hopefully you will have noticed by now that the blogging community has welcomed constructive debate on the wild camping petition. As Stef has said in his comment on “Up and down”, we’re exploring ideas.

date Posted on: Tuesday, February 26, 2008 at 12:18 pm
Category Bloggersphere.
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6 Responses to “Tuesday Roundup”

  1. JH

    Duncan mentions a Wild Camping Assoc, but what’s in it for communities and land owners. Yes Lord Smith did mention a large sum of money that was generated in Scotland by walkers, but these aren’t wild campers who bring their dehydrated food and camp for free, they’re people staying in B&Bs & hotels, eating in restaurants, lunching in NT vistor centres. One could almost imagine communities NOT wanting to join - the walkers might get it into there heads to camp instead of B&B.

    February 26th, 2008 at 2:03 pm
  2. admin

    welcome and thanks for posting a comment.
    I’ll try and get Duncan to post in response to this point, as Duncan does have an example he has experienced that supports his case.

    February 26th, 2008 at 3:02 pm
  3. Duncan/AktoMan

    I went to the trailhead (outside Braemar). I have paid my National Trust for Scotland membership, so parking is free. I hike a short distance on Friday night and I wild camp. Hike some more and return to car. In to Braemar. Gear shop and lunch, then back to city.

    All in all, my single trip has netted around a tenner from me for a couple of shops in Braemar. Half again on a wee torch in Aberdeen before the trip, plus hiking food in Asda.

    I can not afford to pay for brick accommodation, and prefer being out in the wilds. For not using any of their facilities, Braemar has earned a tenner from me.

    The only cost to Braemar was those involved in the provision of the services that I paid money for. If I wasn’t there, the businesses would still have paid for the staff, heating, etc. I’m passing trade. I’m made to feel welcome, and enticed in by the provision of goods and services (eg another dry-bag and a venison burger & chips).

    On the Southern Upland Way, I wild camped, or bothy camped. Twice I paid for brick shelters, and in one of these cases I could have wild camped, but I felt like a change. Again, I was passing trade. I see little difference between vehicular passing trade and this chap trudging across country. Where a car requires roads, and the like, I’ll be happy with access, leaving no trace and just the space to pitch a tent out of the way of anyone.

    Arriving in a community, I may spend money on goods (postcards home, foods to take, or eat out of way, batteries, replacement kit, etc), or services (cooked foods, refreshments, Internet connection), and I may wish to upgrade to a brick shelter. Just because I am on foot does not make me less of a human being.

    Wild camping opens new communities to long-reaching trips. Those on a trailhead are better served to make money from multi-day trekkers, but those in the hinterland may find that they are now getting more people visiting, and taxis being called to run people back to their transport, or busses being used more often.

    Wild campers, true wild campers, leave less trace than many. Wild campers are as much part of the tourist industry as any day trippers. Naturally, walking for 2 days from a trailhead rather than just 1 day is better for people’s health and maybe even their mental wellbeing.

    Wild camping doesn’t suit everyone, and not all camping is wild camping. There is still a need for brick shelters and official campsites. The Kings House by Glencoe is a case in point. Their ‘wild camping’ facilities bring in people as well as those paying for a roof, but people pay for meals and refreshments. It is a business and with business acumen.

    Scenario - Jack is determined to wild camp no matter what the weather. He drives to xxxx, arriving late, he hikes past the closed village facilities into the night, wild camps and enjoys a Saturday on the hills, camping again that night, and hikes back to the car park. Settling the bill for parking, he buys some snacks at the local shop and drives off home contented. Jack tells his friends on the forum about this place, and three of them arrange to head off the following weekend to see what the fuss is. They arrive earlier, buy a pub meal and make to head into the hills. One wants to stay in the pub, so the other two head off to the hills, meeting their pal the next day.

    Life isn’t black and white. I wild camp. I spend money on kit. Tent, sleeping kit, cookset, etc - I spend more than if I was just day-trekking. Wild camping allows me the opportunity to spend my money in different ways. I’m still a tourist and potential customer - if a shop wishes to treat me as a second class citizen then I simply walk out and take my money elsewhere. I also have the opportunity to mention this treatment to other people. Poor service is poor service, whether wild camping or brick camping.

    February 26th, 2008 at 5:02 pm
  4. JH

    Good points Duncan. I was just trying to look at it from other angles. If I was a campsite owner would I welcome the idea that people could camp near by free? I can’t help thinking that from a business owners point of view thios would be seen as customers escaping onto the hills out of tills reach.

    “I see little difference between vehicular passing trade and this chap trudging across country.”

    Business establishments are always on roads or very near roads. A walker isn’t always. The vehicle user is almost bound to use facilities he/she pays for, the walker isn’t.

    If it were seen as new trade it would work. If it were seen as existing trade moving elsewhere it wouldn’t. Could work either way I suppose.

    More pressing things tear me away,I can hear my lift for a walk over Exmoor coming.


    February 27th, 2008 at 2:31 am
  5. Duncan/AktoMan

    “If I was a campsite owner would I welcome the idea that people could camp near by free?”
    True, JH, true. But in the same way that hotels doen’t aim for the same customers as youth hostels, wild camping is different. Also ‘nearby’ in wild camping terms is over the hills and far away.

    “Business establishments are always on roads or very near roads. A walker isn’t always.”
    Once again, you speak the truth, John. But walkers tend to start from roads and end at roads. Sometimes a multiday treck will pass through communities, sometimes people will drive past communities to get to/from the trailhead.

    Sadly, many of the communities that are in valleys and glens are now a shadow of their former selves, when trails and footpaths brought in traders and visitors.

    February 27th, 2008 at 6:17 am
  6. JH

    Hi Duncan, I didn’t have much time to reply yesterday, but had a cracking walk with several wild campsites identified.

    I also had time to think about your proposal and I think it’s basically a good idea. However, I think one does need to look at it from the local communities/business/landowner point of view, and in my experience some of these can be very defensive. With good reason in some cases.

    I think you’re right that if if the proposition could be made to appear of benefit to them they might welcome it. You & I know that wild camping is a discreet activity that is only done from evening to morning, and leaves no trace. I wouldn’t count on that being the usual image of wild camping. What you have to overcome is peoples images of big tents, noise, fires, etc etc.

    Perhaps from this point of view the Wild Camping Assoc isn’t the best name. After all, the MBA isn’t called the DORA (Dossing in Old Ruins Assoc). I know this is just a name you thought up and it could be easily changed, I just wanted to make the point that the people the Assoc approaches are likely to be on the defenive and will need to coerced every step of the way.

    You’ve said your trip to Braemar netted Braemar £10, but lets be honest, whilst every bit helps, that’s not a vast amount. If you put forward that particular scenario to Braemar they’ll be glad of your £10, but they’ll be wondering what they might lose. Will their middle class retiree customers be offended by finding you camped in some glen? Potential loss £100s.

    “All in all, my single trip has netted around a tenner from me for a couple of shops in Braemar. Half again on a wee torch in Aberdeen before the trip, plus hiking food in Asda.”

    There’s another small point in here which might seem irrelevent to us but enormous to the rural community. “Plus hiking food in Asda”. Now for all I know you agonised over this for days before going - the shops in Braemar would be shut, the restaurants to expensive, you don’t like chips - but the fact is, we all do it. We always stop in Glasgow to stock up before heading further north into the lands of stale sliced white bread and tinned haggis. Perhaps we need to change our mindset in this respect anyway, but it’s not a way of shopping that will get us big welcome in rural communities.

    I know these are small points, but we haven’t really got much to offer, so we really shouldn’t short changing them too.

    It is a good idea, but you’d really need to get your story straight first.


    February 28th, 2008 at 3:56 am

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