Wild Camping on The Pennine Way
Q. Like the others, [I am] wondering if I can pitch a tent anywhere along the Pennine Way as long as we are discreet?
There's only two of us.?
Catherine Thomas, London
A. I completed the Pennine Way in May 2006 and wild camped on quite a few nights.
The trick is, as you say, to be discreet - pitch late and leave early.
One of the main problems in the South Pennines, though, is to find good water supplies, but these improve significantly after crossing the Aire gap.
The Kielder Forest area has some designated wild camping sites close to the Pennine Way, although some of these aren't too pretty(!) - and there are bothies at High Withens (well, sort of! ), Gregs Hut, Haughton Green and on the Border ridge The Cheviots provide some of the best wild pitches, just off the main Pennine Way.
And if you go down into the Scottish valleys to camp, there are no legal issues as the Scottish access legislation allows wild camping.
Mike Knipe, Crook
A. Wild Camping and The Law in England, Scotland and Wales.
Tents cannot be pitched just anywhere because every piece of Britain is owned by some individual or some organisation and according to the strict letter of the law permission must be obtained prior to pitching tent and camping.
In practice however, this is often impractical and wild camping is usually tolerated in the more remote areas - typically, more than half a day's walk from an official campsite or other accommodation providing you:
- Keep groups small
- Camp as unobtrusively as possible
- Leave camp as you found it
- Remove all litter (even other people's)
- Carry out everything you carried in
- Carry out tampons and sanitary towels (burying them doesn't work as animals dig them up again)
- Choose a dry pitch rather than digging drainage ditches around a tent or moving boulders
- Toilet duties should be performed 30m (100ft) from water and the results buried using a trowel
- At all time, help preserve the environment
- And if you are in any doubt about what you're doing, find out more
In Scotland, the current access legislation (which came into effect in early 2005) is explicit about your right to wild camp on hill land. However, there are exceptions. Since March 2011 you are not permitted to wild camp between Dryman and Rowardennan on the shore of Loch Lomond. See Loch Lomond Wild Camping Ban for more information.
There appears to be an exception to this with respect to camping in Dartmoor National Park where the right to wild camping is actually enshrined in the National Parks & Access to the Countryside Act, 1949 amendment Dartmoor Commons Act, 1985 - see Wild Camping in the UK for more details.
For the definitive answer with respect to wild camping in Scotland see the answer supplied by the Scottish Natural Heritage
For a few (tongue in cheek) tips on wild camping see Some Wild Camping Tips.
NB. go4awalk.com cannot offer any advice on suitable locations for wild camping - but click here for walks from exisiting campsites.
Hope this helps