My Christmas Eve Wild Camp in the Lake District
My first solo Wildcamp was on Christmas Eve!
After years of busy hectic Christmases and working 'On Call' I felt the festive burnout and was more than ready for a quite Christmas alone when the opportunity arose.
2019 was the first Christmas I’d lived alone and wanted to embrace this solitude. Initially the plan was to spend the day feasting on all the naughty food and drink, watching Christmas films and listening to Christmas songs.
However, I felt the call for something a bit more adventurous. The weather forecast for the Lake District looked mild over Christmas 2019. Would this actually be the perfect time to come out of my comfort zone and try a solo Wild camp?
The thought of opening my tent to watch the sun rise over the Lake District while excited kids were thinking of nothing else than what Santa has brought them, warming smiles on parents faces as they see their offspring sharing some quality family time together and memories being made. I wanted to make my own memories. Something special and private just for me. Silently embracing nature and its beauty, while everyone else was wrapped up in their own world of festivities.
I had been to Hallin Fell, in the east if The Lake District, a couple of weeks before when my mum had come to visit. As the idea had already taken seed at this point, we looked at a few different potential pitches so the day I could choose the best one on the day depending on the wind direction.
So the decision was made. I was doing this! I had stayed at my Boyfriends house the night before and when the time came to actually leave, I didn’t want to go! The temptation to stay with him and his family, enjoy some lovely food and drinks and open gifts that were waiting for me was almost strong enough to make me change my mind.
But I knew that if I didn’t go I’d regret it forever. I couldn’t let myself down. Who knows when I’d get this opportunity again?! I had spent the last couple of years working on myself, listening to podcasts and reading books on how to understand my body and my mind. I didn’t want to be a flake. I want to be the type of person who is reliable, who can trust herself and has her own back. So there was no other choice. I was going and that was that. Hallin Fell here I come!
The drive was a very wet and slow one. Visibility was poor as the rain poured down in front of me. When I arrived at St.Peters Church Car Park a couple of hours later the sky had cleared and there was a freshness and excitement in the air.
I pulled the heavy pack on my back, locked the car and set off. From the car park to the cairn is roughly only about 20 mins. An easy short stroll with amazing views at the top. On my ascent I was blessed with a little cloud inversion. There and then I knew I had made the right decision.
I set up the tent and unpacked my bed. I had opted for the Hilleberg Staika that my Partner had let me use as I didn’t have any gear of my own at that point. I could have used a smaller one man tent, but seeing as we had been using the Staika together, I felt comfortable setting it up and knew it quite well. Plus the walk was so short that the weight wasn’t an issue. Winter nights are quite long, so I wanted to enjoy the luxury of a bigger space if I was going to be in it for all those hours. It was Christmas after all!
I love using these dehydrated meals on a wild camp. Sure I could have brought some fresh food to cook a meal from scratch, but this trip was a treat. I wanted the simplicity and ease of just boiling some water to enjoy a tasty, nutritious and filling meal. Wrapped up in a cosy Rab Neutrino jacket, Firepot Posh Baked Beans warming my lap as I waited for it to rehydrate, watching the twinkle of car lights as they drive around Ullswater. Wearing a Christmas hat having opened my Christmas cracker and a can of Disaronno Sour, in hand. I was in absolute bliss.
The sun set and I enjoyed the quiet still night reading. With my fairy lights on, a the gentle rustle of the tent in the breeze. My own private cosy Christmas home.
I’m not going to lie, I do remember feeling quite nervous at points. I always hear footsteps when we camp and I’m sure that being on my own I allowed my mind to run away with crazy thoughts for longer than I would if I had company! But that feeling soon passed and I drifted off to sleep with a big grin on my face.
Before I knew it, it was Christmas Day! I had done it! My first Christmas alone, my first Christmas in a tent, my first wildcamp. I felt like superwoman!
I packed up, double and triple checking that I hadn’t left anything behind. Then I headed up to the cairn to drink my coffee as geese flew over head and the sun tried to break through the clouds. I could see a light dusting of snow on the distant peaks.
Everything just felt so wonderful as I made my way back to the car, passing a few hikers on the way and wishing each other Merry Christmas. Big smiles all round.
I drove home listening to Christmas music, had a bath, reminisced on what I had just accomplished and started to dream about where my next solo camp would be.
I don’t know if it was the Christmas music but I decided to get dressed up and head over to my partner’s. We enjoyed an amazing day of laughs, gorgeous food and drinks with Family. A Christmas I’ll never forget.
My Christmas wish to you is that you embrace every minute, no matter where or who you send this precious day.
Merry Christmas all.