Who doesn’t love a night under the stars? We all see these Instagram perfect pitches but it’s not always dreamy adventures.
I set out for my first solo wild camp over the August bank holiday but the night ended tucked up in my own bed at home…
I set of with Sydney in stunning weather, our plan was to camp up in the Trusmador Valley. It was lovely and warm and the skies were clear, carrying all of our gear didn’t feel a trudge with such stunning surroundings.
As we reached Trusmador we still had plenty of time in daylight so decided to ascend Meal Fell a little further up. The views were spectacular down over Overwater and the Uldale Fells.
This felt like the perfect place to pitch for the night so we put up the tent and got settled in. It seemed a flat spot for the night and I merrily got everything pegged in, this was the first lesson I learnt, make sure your pitch is actually level before pegging in. It turned out my lovely pitch was actually on quite a slant and throughout the night I slid across the tent floor.
Once camp was set up we enjoyed some tea, Sydney certainly thought she’d earnt it gobbling up her share.
It was a beautiful evening, considering it was a bank holiday weekend we didn’t meet another soul on our way up to the top of Meal Fell and the only noise we could hear was the distant music of Soulfest.
As my first wild camp I expected to be much more nervous on the hills alone but in fact I felt safer than I often do in the middle of town. I’d let my nearest and dearest know where I was heading out to and knew I was far enough away from any one who may be wandering the fells before the light was lost.
We had everything we needed for the night and soaked up the views with a hot chocolate as the sun set before us. It was surreal being alone in the fells where I grew up letting the world go by, all my weekly work worries slipped away and I felt extremely grateful I could do this 15 minutes drive from the house!
Starting local was great for my first solo wild camp as I knew I wasn’t far from home, being a comfort that if I didn’t like it then I was only a 45 minute walk and 15 minute drive from home.
The sun went down and darkness creeped in. Even in the dark I felt happy sitting with Sydney watching the skyline glittering with lights of distance villages.
After the light was gone we got settled in the tent for the night. It was surprisingly warm and after an hour or so Sydney wanted out from her nest in my down jacket and was quite happy in her little fleece alone.
I’d taken my power bank so I could keep myself entertained before getting sleepy. It didn’t take long before dosing off for the night.
At 2am the wind started to pick up. I’d checked the weather and knew the wind was going to pick up into the morning, which is why I’d planned to stay in the Trusmador Valley. The noise of the tent rustling in the wind kept me up and eventually I gave in and wanted to head home.
We packed up camp and headed off the tops of the hills, as soon as we got into the valley the wind died down but I couldn’t face repitching the tent in the dark so we headed down the hill.
I was happy in the hills on my own until my headtorch died (thankfully my powerbank was fully charged so we weren’t left in darkness) but this unnerved me the idea of being out on the hills alone in the dark…
As we walked down Sydney stopped dead, put her hackles up and started growling. My heart rate went through the roof, Sydney wasn’t often spooked so I had all sorts running through my mind of what or who could be in the hills with us.
She stuck with me and we carried on another 100m, then something caught my eye. Something was reflecting my head torch light in the middle of the path. I braved it and carried on towards the reflective scary light to find someone had pitched their tent in the middle of the path. We clambered round the tent and it’s guy ropes stretched into the bracken and carried on back to the car.
We made it home safe and sound and I kicked myself for not sticking it out in the tent with the wind noise. But that’s all part of building confidence in the outdoors. I’ll be out in the hills in my tent again soon it hasn’t scared me off yet!