By: Blonde Two

To my mind, as a new year begins, it’s really important to start as you mean to go on. This isn’t usually too tricky and Mr B2 and I often enjoy our New Year’s Eve celebrations in a tent whilst wild (backpack) camping on Dartmoor. 2020 of course hasn’t been the year any of us planned, and outdoor activities have required some adjustment. We have all had to brush up on our un-planning skills.

When the latest round of coronavirus restrictions came into play, Dartmoor National Park authority very sensibly issued a ‘please do not camp at this time’ request for Dartmoor. This meant that our usual favourite hammocking spot was out of bounds so we set about un-planning. Here were our options:

  • Sleep at home in our cosy bed
  • Find somewhere local to hammock

We took the second one of course, and so our very local wild camp was born. Rucksacks (mine giant, his tiny) on our backs, we crept out of our warm house at 10:30 and walked 500 metres up to the local copse (already frosty). On Dartmoor it’s easier enough, once you understand the wild camping regulations, to locate a camping spot. We discovered that urban camping is more tricky. We needed to make sure our torchlight wouldn’t disturb anyone, camp far enough away from the path to avoid early morning dog walker encounters, and make sure we didn’t interrupt the local badgers. I’ve camped with foxes and slept with slugs before but a night with badgers is well beyond my bravery levels.

It didn’t take us too long to hang our hammocks but, with sleeping bags and bivvy bags, the wriggling-in bit of the night involved a few choice words, and took us up to midnight. Used to quiet camping nights we settled back to snooze but 2020 was determined to go out with a bang. The cacophony of fireworks and cruise ship foghorns that started almost immediately had us laughing out loud. We have a plethora of boats sheltering in Tor Bay at the moment, and they were obviously set on some new year fun.

Dartmoor National Park backpack or wild camping regulations

Despite the midnight noise, we enjoyed a surprisingly quiet night. I did hear some mysterious badger-like rustlings but chose not to look. I think some of them might have been Mr B2 who wasn’t quite as comfortable in his DD SuperLight hammock as I was in my luxurious five star Hennessy Jungle Explorer XL. At around five thirty we agreed it was time to head home and were packed up and snuggled in a much larger but strangely colder bed within the hour.

It had been a grand night out but I am hoping that 2021 will see us back wild camping on Dartmoor again! As soon as regulations allow we Blondes will be starting up our wild camping workshops again. Get in touch today to find out more.

Dartmoor Wild Camping Infographic