Wild camping or campsite? The beauty about Scotland is that you can (pretty much) wild camp anywhere, even where it says ‘no overnight camping’, which isn’t that often. We won’t park where there’s a sign that tells you you can’t, but apparently the police will not move you on. It’s all to do with the ‘right to roam’ part of the Scottish constitution which allows you to (pretty much) walk anywhere you like.
As a result Scotland is, like France which has the same sort of approach, a boon for wild camping. And, as there are plenty of gravelly parking places with some fab views, you sort of want to wild camp. The views are enticing you to. And we have … and we do. And when you find yourself on your own, with nights as black as pitch, with deer wandering around where you are, it is a difficult draw to ignore.
So why don’t we do it all the time up here? Two reasons. First we have to fill with water and empty our loo. Unlike France where there are aires (purpose built motorhome stops most with facilities) in almost every village, there is nothing similar here. Yes, you could use the odd public convenience, and we have on one or two occasions (not this time), but it is frowned upon as you can’t help not making a bit of a mess and it is always difficult to clear up afterwards. And it’s not a mess you want to leave lying around. Also, public loos do not generally have drinking water that’s easy to get at, and, again, taking it is frowned upon.
We can survive a week with a full tank of water (110 litres) but only 3 nights, maybe 4 max, with our loo. I am going to get a spare ‘cassette’ for our loo and this should allow us to roam free for a week. But, up here we would still need to stay in a campsite one day in seven. [Insofar as charging batteries, etc, our system is so efficient now that I have everything sorted, we have been ‘off grid’ for 4 weeks in late autumn in France without a worry, so it’s not a problem for us … but it might be for you.]
Which is fine, because, whilst I don’t like spending the money (you’re working on between £17 and £30 a night here in Scotland – our three pitches have cost us £23; £25 and £18) staying on a campsite does give you that sense of freedom to open your doors and just let everything hang out. There is always something a little bit edgy about wild camping – not so on a campsite. And, whilst our shower is perfectly adequate, we always restrict the amount of water we use. On a campsite, that is not an issue.
So, it’s a balance, one forced on us by the need to get water and empty tanks. Which works well. Currently, now meandering home having had a fab couple of nights in Scourie campsite … with another 25 mile cycle ride that our thighs have yet to recover from … and then two nights wild camping in the back of beyond, we on Morvic Campsite. I’ve just run five klicks and C is out doing the same. We’ve got Cassie again, as Jen and James are heading home, and we are pushing south via Mallaig to see old work friends of C’s.
Home by Tuesday. Work at the school on Thursday. And then a busy time here and there, including a three-night stay in Paris in mid-October with Mary. I know, it’s a hard life. I should be writing book 6 by then. I’ve finished rewriting Unsuspecting Hero and we are now in the ‘reading out loud to C stage’, which really does help. It is a much better book now, even if I say so myself.
And good news: no politics today!
[John Redwood tweeted yesterday that it wasn’t the courts’ responsibility to preside on issues like the poroguing of parliament … it was parliament who should be debating the issue. I’m not quite sure he saw the irony of his tweet. Oh well.]