Tuesday, September 29

Three things to do to Enjoy England

As you may have spotted on other sites some outdoor Bloggers have been approached by Jam to contribute to the Guardian's forthcoming ‘Enjoy England’ feature.

Speed reading the invitation my initial thought was 'Great! Finally hit the big time. A chance to kick over the traces of the day job".

Regrettably, a later slower perusal revealed a less glittering outcome.

But hey-ho; Ideas for these ramblings of mine can come from any direction and are all encouraged in whatever guise they might arise. So here's tonight's jottings, based around a common theme.

According to recent government statistics the UK will soon only have living room for 423,138 more people before our landmass achieves its maximum level of population saturation.
New laws, allegedly being drafted as I write, plan to introduce measures that will require all UK inhabitants to take Breaths-In & Breaths-Out in an alternative mode to their nearest neighbour, rather than risk those in coastal areas being slowly edged off into the sea as the majority of the populace inhale simultaneously.

A little like a living Penny Fall shuffle fairground machine.

Well perhaps things aren't quite that bad. Yet. I may even
have (whisper it gently) exaggerated so very slightly. But its true that urban living, now encompassing anyplace, short of living at the bottom of a lake, is becoming increasingly over populated & pressurised.

Here's a secret. This is a facet of modern society which can be so easily thwarted with a little personal effort.

Park the car. Start walking away from the road, and into your nearest piece of countryside. Take care to avoid well worn footpaths & tracks. Just keep going, veering clear of any signs of human habitation. Especially tourist features (Particularly Forestry Commission attractions. Honey pot to the Urban Daytripper. A wasp filled jam-jar to this writer)

Now Stop.

Take a deep breath.

And just listen to that glorious sound of ..... your own sweet self. Finally alone with nature.

Like this early morning alarm clock during my
Dartmoor Dawdle in June 2008
"I had a lie-in until the sun poked its nose over the ridge, giving me the chance stay in my sleeping bag and listen to the song of the skylarks for twenty minutes of so. And I mean really listen. Lying there with no other distraction my concentration was fully given over to their repetitive trills, before their song veered on to yet another melody. No other background noise to taint the sound. A sublime experience"

Despite somewhat draconian camping constraints under English law there are still pockets of wild uninhabited places in England that allow one to simply disappear from everyday humanity with little fuss, effort or expense.

With minimal equipment & a easy willingness to dispense with life's trappings & fripperies whole areas of England, rarely visited by most of the population are opened up.

Entry is free!

True it requires some degree of self-reliance & self confidence. In turn the benefit is a self-awareness at a level that most people would find difficult to comprehend. The easily discovered ability to spend a night in a wild place, somewhere apparently uninhabitable for so many, builds a bond with the natural world that once experienced cannot be forgotten.

Unlike so many shiny promises offered in our ' enlightened' times a repeat of this experience always seems to triggers some primordial Sigh from deep down within the brain's limbic region.

Freeze, Flight or Fight?

Not necessarily. Some of us know of a fourth way (Grasshopper).

Reckon I should start a cult?

A desolately inhabited place of some 368 square miles, and yet an area both within easy access of millions of urbanites with major road access, and a place that positively encourages Wildcamping.

To the majority, trundling across tight moorland roads, it may seem an endless expanse of open land & weirdly sculpted Tor tops, mostly shrouded in thick mist & heartily driven rain. To guests of the HMP Dartmoor establishment, at Princetown, possibly a beckoning view, somewhere green & encouraging beyond thick Napoleonic walls of retribution.

For some an equally scary proposition when viewed from the comfort of a car. But after a few visits into Dartmoor's interior, by foot, the rich history of earlier human habitation springs into being. Neolithic stone rows to the more recent historic drippings of mine tramways, all underline that this was once one of the more densely populated place in England during past eras when a wooded valley was a places of Danger & Threat.

Forget the forlorn baying of the Sherlock Holme's Baskerville Hound. Instead learn to celebrate a place once full of life, and eager to share its secrets, many long forgotten, for those prepared to explore away from the modern day tarmacadam detour of bland conformity.

Or just stay inside the safety of that car.

Going from Nowhere. Leading to Nowhere. Please exit at the cliffside departure gate along with your fellow lemmings.

Was that Three Things to Do in England? Perhaps not quite what the Guardian invitation had in mind?

Whatever - just get out into some distant English wild place, and soak up its true nature. Far from the crush of humanity.

Better be quick. Tourist No. 423,139 arrives in 4 years time. And then this island starts to slowly sink into the sea.

Me? I'll be on Yes Tor. Having a brew & watching the sunset.

Glug .... glug
.... glug.

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I have been researching UK based camping blogs to promote on my blog http://www.gonecampinguk.com

I was wondering if you would mind me linking to a few of your blog posts?

I am also in the process of setting up an interactive camping forum dedicated to camping in the UK at http://www.gonecampinguk.com/forum and after reading your posts I was wondering if you might be interested in contributing to the forum?


Dom Clacy
John my Easter walk which was alone, and included wildcamping on Dartmoor, enjoying the sunset high up was pure joy. Great part of this fine place we call England and home :)
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