Editorials

Is wild camping the answer to travel restrictions?

23 June 2021

By Josh P

With the future of travel being so unclear as a result of ongoing Coronavirus restrictions, many people have found themselves unable to take much-needed holidays. For anybody who lives in Scotland, the existence of the right to roam provides the ability to access all lands freely for recreational purposes – including wild camping.

This right to roam presents a brilliant holidaying option on both a low budget and with ease of access. As both England and Wales maintain restrictions on the ability to wild camp, could an easing on this particular rule provide a simple solution to Coronavirus holidaying?

coastal-camping

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Having lived in Scotland for the majority of my life, wild camping has always been an available option for a quick getaway with little necessary planning. The ability to pack the essentials, spend time discovering new places and spaces to set up a campsite for the evening provides a great experience.

Some of my all-time favourite holidaying moments come from simple trips with friends during which we embarked with little idea of where we were going, only to find new places which we return to for years to come.

The pros

The benefits of wild camping are vast. One of the key pros is its cost-effectiveness.

Although camping can be seen as an expensive hobby to get into, many of the expensive elements come from the additional tools and gear more experienced wild campers use.

Buying the basic gear for camping from the right places can help keep your budget low and furthermore camping gear isn’t one use only, meaning that your initial investment into gear covers numerous camping trips.

With a traditional holiday, the payment for flights and hotels typically totals a far higher figure than camping gear and these are not reusable.

Another key benefit of wild camping is physical activity. As many of us have been stuck inside for the past year, wild camping provides a brilliant opportunity to integrate more physical activity into our routines. By pairing physical activity with exploration, you often find yourself unaware of just how far you have travelled, often resulting in more physical activity than expected.

Social distancing is also perhaps an element of wild camping which could now be seen as a benefit. With one of the biggest concerns of holidaying currently being the potential spread of Coronavirus, this kind of getaway provides a brilliant answer to this.

While it is not uncommon to come across another wild camper while out in the countryside, there is no obligation to set up your campsite with them. You can freely maintain distance from other campers which heavily juxtaposes the idea of being crammed into a plane full of recycled air.

The cons

Despite all the positives of this experience, some objections may be raised in response to fully opening all land to wild camping.

One of the main arguments against wild camping is the potential damages caused to land as a result of campers. Although most campers aim to leave no trace of their presence, there are always going to be some people who don’t clean up after themselves. This issue is extremely difficult to combat as once you have ventured deep into the countryside, there are no means of enforcing rules.

While it is obviously unfair that landowners should have to deal with potential rubbish on their land, I would argue that most people would strive to maintain the land they are visiting. Additionally, if there were to be a consideration for easing wild camping rules in England, updated documentation relating to the activity would then help to educate people on preventing environmental damage.

scottish-camping

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With both the pros and cons of easing wild camping restrictions outlined here, it is extremely clear that it could provide many people in England with an alternative means of holidaying during the current coronavirus climate.

Despite potential concerns regarding littering, updated documentation could help to counter these concerns and with everything currently going on in the world, perhaps wild camping could be an unforeseen solution to many people’s lingering lockdown lives?

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