by Nicola Hardy
@adventurer.nic is an ambassador for #WildNightOut2019 and explains what wild camping means to her
In 2017, I wild camped for the first time in the Lake District. I caught the bug almost instantly, investing in a lightweight backpacking tent. Pretty soon that wasn't enough, I invested in a 4 season tent so I could say I'd endured nights on mountain tops in sub zero blizzards, and then a bivvy bag, so I could enjoy dry summer nights truly under the stars without a tent or tarp. By 2019 I can say I've slept under canvas for 20 nights so far in 2019 and counting. You'd be right in thinking I started wild camping and I never looked back.
In April, I started a peak-bagging round of the Scottish 3000ft Munros, with the aim of standing atop each of the 282 mountains by the autumn of 2019. I aim to sleep wild on as many of them as I can as I tick them off though the summer. Wild camping has been legalised in Scotland and I enjoy the freedom of setting off from the base of a walk not knowing where I'll stay the night. I stop when I'm tired or hungry (or both) and scout around for a small patch of thick grass on which to pitch my tent. The anticipation of whether or not the sunset or the sunrise will beat any of the previous I've been treated to is exhilarating!
I've come to feel far more safe in my tent than I ever do in a city centre of an evening. Learning to trust your own skills in the wild and cope with whatever mother nature throws at you is liberating. I'd like to think I am a positive champion for 'leave no trace' respectful wild camping, I have never started a fire and take all rubbish away with me when I leave, respecting the environment is of utmost importance if we are to keep enjoying rural spaces for years to come.
Wild Night Out is born out of the positive impacts of the outdoors on health and well-being, and this is something that wild camping has given me over the last 2 years as it has become a bigger part of my life. Slowly I'm shunning the material items I have collected over the years and simplifying my life, carrying only the items that I can fit in my backpack and enjoying the natural world more and the digital world less.
So how will I be spending #WildNightOut2019? I plan to be in Scotland, in the middle of my Munro-bagging challenge, wild camping in the mountains. I could be on the Isle of Skye, in the Cairngorms, on the most northerly munro Ben Hope, or on the highest mountain in Great Britain Ben Nevis. It matters not, purely that I have escaped the stresses and strains of normal life and I'm enjoying my night under canvas. After all, home is where I pitch it.
So why not join me? Grab your walking boots, head into the mountains and take part in #WildNightOut2019 on 29 June 2019.