Unlike in Scotland, wild camping isn’t technically allowed in England. That’s not to say people don’t do it, you’ve just got to be a bit more discreet. Probably best not to camp on farmer’s land and definitely leave no trace!
So last weekend we rather spontaneously decided to go on a camp out somewhere. The weather’s been so sunny and dry recently – the perfect weather for camping! So, we packed up our gear after work on Friday and hit the road (well the train.)
I grew up in the Yorkshire Dales, so am familiar with lots of beautiful and peaceful spots round there, so that’s where we headed. One place in particular that I’ve always fancied wild camping near is the Ribblehead Viaduct. The Viaduct forms part of the famous Settle – Carlisle railway, renowned for being a stunning ride right through the Dales. It’s located near Whernside, one of the Three Peaks, with clear views of Pen-Y-Ghent and Ingleborough in sight. It’s the perfect spot for nature lovers, walkers and photographers alike.
Luckily enough there’s a train station next to the Viaduct. Heading from Edinburgh it will take you around 3 hours with a change in Carlisle, and from Manchester it will be around 2.5 hours with a change in Leeds.
The great thing is that when you’re off the train you need only walk 10 minutes and you’re there.
Where we camped
With a view to taking pictures we chose a spot about 15 minutes walk from the train station, 10 minutes’ walk from the Viaduct, looking directly out to it. I have to say, it was the perfect spot. Beautiful views and not in the path of any walkers.
We’ve heard rumours of National Trust rangers roaming around and moving campers on, so decided to wait until it was getting dark to pitch up the tents. We didn’t see any though, thankfully! In fact, we didn’t see many people – we were the only campers around. It was just us and the sheep!
What we did
To be frank not a lot! It was a beautiful evening, so we sat out and watched the sunset. We got tons of photos and to top it off there was no mobile phone signal whatsoever. It was really refreshing, there were no distractions at all. The perfect spot for those wanting to enjoy the great outdoors. We didn’t walk up Whernside this time as we arrived fairly late and left early in the morning, but having done it before I can vouch that it’s a lovely walk.
Wanting to catch the sunrise too, we forced ourselves to get up at 4:15. We’re not going to lie, it was painful. The temptation to snooze the alarm was strong. But we managed and we were so glad we did.
We crawled out the tent to find a thick, rolling mist clinging to the ground. Moody and atmospheric, it was definitely worth the early start. We got out our stove, made up some coffee and watched the sun come up. Such a lovely start to the day.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a northern lens trip without us taking lots and lots of photos. Where we were camping was the perfect photo spot, but we also ventured over to get up close to the Viaduct itself. On our walk through the field we noticed loads of spider webs glistening in the morning sun which made for a lovely photo.
Sadly we had to rush off in the morning to get to a family event, so we hopped on the 7am train and off we were. Short but sweet.
We are keen campers, but honestly in the past few years our tent’s only seen the light of day once a year for its annual trip to Glastonbury festival. But, with the weather so good recently we’re definitely planning on getting out there more.
So, what did this impromptu trip teach us? We need to invest in better gear. It wasn’t such an issue for this trip as we really didn’t have far to walk, but if we were to camp in the Lake District at the top of a hill, we’d have run into trouble. All our gear’s just a little, clunky. If you can I’d definitely advise that you invest in some lightweight kit. We’ll certainly be buying a lighter tent, and compact sleeping mats!
We’ll keep you updated when we head out on our next camping trip with our new gear, and hopefully we’ll be able to share some recommendations with you guys! If anyone’s got any recommendations of places they think we should go camping in the North of England or Scotland hit us up! Send us a message or comment on one of our posts.
Check out more of our images from the campout over on our Instagram @northern.lens