I arrange to meet up with a big 4 audit friend in Stuttgart for a beer festival. He’s just finished his senior training and is touring Europe for the month. There’s nowhere to stay in the entire city it seems that weekend and we neglected to arrange a place to stay. I’m bringing the sleeping back and tarpaulin to cover us over for the two nights.
We’ll probably “camp” in whatever green space we can find like homeless people. I don’t really mind having to sleep rough. Probably cheaper than hotels.
While the woman was away in China, I got a decent sleeping bag, mat and tarpaulin. Bath is surrounded by forests and hills, but it’s technically tresspassing to stay on the land. Another friend is coming out late October for a blacksmithing course we are doing together (all these 18th century houses need ironwork repairs, so Bath is a hotspot for blacksmiths), and we’ll be hiking through to somewhere and camping there.
I scoped out a few places on google maps, and saw one more forested area with high cliffs and water. So I decided to try camp stealthily wild there for a night. I’d get there about sunset, let no one see me and set up camp.
I had about 20lb in the bag, and brought water. Had walked about 90 mins to get to the “trailhead”. But got the sunset. This meant about 30 mins of scramble through the dark forest to get to the top of the hill, where I figured there would be some clearing to camp in. I had seen a clearing about 2 miles away from another valley.
Picked a good site, but it was dark by the time I had the tarp up. Decided not to go for a fire in case I drew attention to myself there. Was in the sleeping bag by about 9PM. Alone. Kind of hoped there would be others to share a beer with.
The night passed without any major incident: an owl pissed me off from 2AM to 3AM. There were fireworks going off somewhere distant, and chickens were screaming in the night. Aside from that, just the wind in the trees. Kind of spooky.
Woke at dawn at 6.30AM and broke camp after breakfast. Got some atmospheric pictures, and returned home while exploring the hill.
Firepit beside where I pitched the tarp.
The forest is managed – to an extent.
It was very damp and visibility was bad. It began to burn off about 9AM.
Found I shouldn’t have worried about trespass – lots of coppiced woods that people had made a shelter from.
There were some limestone caves that have rare bats in the them, along with an abandoned WW2 ammo dump, but wanted to save some things to do for next time.
Things I would change: it was quite warm, the lowest being about 5 degrees celsius and the sleeping bag I have is perhaps too heavy for the south of the UK. Maybe a lighter bag would be better. I’ll definitely bring an alcohol burner of some kind of a cup of tea – making some alcohol stoves at the moment for this. I would definitely bring people with me. It’s not that fun alone.
I also walk past an Army barracks every day to work. They are looking for IT people and give a £3200 bonus for passing basic training. The Squadron is from a Signals and Comms battalion. Was thinking I should join the Army reserve for fun and money. Would make up for not getting into the Irish Army. But then again, I would probably be better served studying CCNA or doing some C# development projects if I was talking money. I think I made that conclusion back in college when I decided to focus on a career and not the military.
While I like the job I’m in now, the bullshit has started to set in. It’s mickey mouse – the staff are small time and few have any qualifications. It’s good in ways to get a chance to do lots of things. But the salary is quite low. I can’t really afford a car, or a family on £20k. I think when the woman comes back, I’ll start seeing what else is around. Once I have a good idea, I’ll either push for more money here, or go elsewhere.
Fuck up, but learn to live with it.