Caravan couple on wild camping: ‘The locals aren’t the biggest fans’

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Travel experts, Emma and Alex, behind blog Travel Beans spoke to about wild camping. The couple posts their travels on their Instagram account @travel_beans.

The definition of wild camping is debated within the caravan and camping community.

Alex explained: “It’s kind of a contentious term. Wild camping traditionally means taking your tent, and going and pitching a camp.

“But, vanlifers have adopted this term to mean parking up somewhere that isn’t within a campsite.

“You’ll get these people who are really funny about the terminology.”

Vanlifers are travellers who use their usually converted vans to sleep in while they explore the world.

The couple recently drove along the North Coast 500 in their converted campervan.

Along the drive, which covers 500 miles, there were many wild camping spots, as wild camping is legal in most areas of Scotland.

Emma said: “In Scotland, and because of the popularity of the NC 500, lots of people are going wild camping, like ourselves.

“We think the locals aren’t the biggest fan because some people aren’t responsible.

“There are a lot of people that do crazy things like leave their rubbish empty their toilets in public areas.

“I don’t really understand how you can love nature and wildlife and act that way, it doesn’t really make sense to me.”

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Thankfully, the couple has found that sort of behaviour to be rare.

Emma went on: “When we were up there we didn’t see anything anyone else’s was doing that was bad or embarrassing.

“I was actually really surprised at how clean everyone was, not leaving any rubbish.

“But, I’m sure that’s very different in the peak season when all it takes is like one or two people to make a mess.”

The couple praised the NC500 for its wild camping spots en route.

Alex said: “There are many places because it’s so big and so vast.

“We had some amazing spots for wild camping. We camped next to a beach and were watching a seal from the window of our van.”

What is wild camping?

Wild camping is exactly that, camping away from caravan parks and campsites.

However, it is not legal to take a tent, or van, and camp out just anywhere – besides in Scotland where the public can camp on most unenclosed land.

This doesn’t mean you can pitch up anywhere, however. Avoid people’s gardens – for example.

In England and Wales, wild camping is generally not allowed unless with the permission of the owner of the land.

Some English national parks have designated areas for wild camping.

If you are wild camping it is important to make sure you are respectful of the area.

Do not leave rubbish, do not light fires, do not disturb others.

Recently, the couple recommended a “star of the show” camping must-have to “stay warm at night”. 

Emma detailed how the pair rely on a heater to dry off their clothes.

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