My very first wildcamp

Llanthony Priory

Guest blog from Ann, Herefordshire

Wild camping was something I had always wanted to do.  I’ve been reading about wild camping for years in all the outdoor magazines, but I really had no idea where to start — what equipment did I need, was the kit I already had suitable, where can I go, is it safe, how would I manage carrying all my equipment? I am a confident and fit walker but it is another challenge carrying everything for 2 days but I really wanted to try it.

I heard about Emma from a friend and asked her if she’d be willing to take a novice on a 2-day wild camp. I had so many questions and she answered them all and put my mind at ease right from the beginning. I had let Emma know that I wanted to walk in the Black Mountains region as that is where my family is from, so it’s an area I’m fond of. Emma studied the area and then suggested the route, but she made a point of involving me in the planning which was a good learning experience for me. Emma checked my kit, showed me route options and explained the schedule.

Day 1: We set off from Llanthony Priory in the heart of the Black Mountains. Despite setting off later in the day it was still very hot and it wasn’t long before I was tiring. But Emma set a nice pace and encouraged me to walk in any shade that was available. We set off later in the day so that we didn’t have to walk a long distance on the first day. Supper consisted of a re-hydrated ready meal — I was expecting it to be awful, but it actually wasn’t too bad. Emma told me she’s tried all manner of brands and this was the best -i I could eat it again! We pitched the tents late and settled down for the night.

Day 2: We got up very early and were lucky to see the sunrise with a mild cloud inversion on the valley below. It was amazing! I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to see an inversion on my very first camping trip. I felt so privileged. We were camped up quite near the summit of Twampa (Lord Hereford’s Knob) at approx 700m so it really felt like I was on top of a mountain. There were wonderful views into Wales and the Hay-on Wye Valley. The route for day 2 involved less ascent and was also easier underfoot.  I was enjoying the freedom and adventure and felt slightly disappointed that it was only a 2 day adventure. We walked along the Offa’s Dyke Path for a few miles so I was also able to tick off my first walk on a National Trail. On my left was England and on my right was Wales .. the views were spectacular. I was a bit sad to return back to Llanthony but I’d had a great time.

I feel so much more confident after this first trip. Emma was really good company and I felt completely safe with her. She is warm, friendly, patient and was very knowledgable about the area. I was very proud of myself and I’m now planning my next wild camp. I can’t thank Emma enough.