Many wild campers don’t realise that it is illegal to park a vehicle anywhere in the UK, including North of the Border, without the knowledge of the landowner.
The website Wild With Consent gives self-contained campervans and motorhomes the opportunity to get off grid with full permission.
You book the site beforehand, get directions using What3Words to the specific spot, but you are unlikely to meet your hosts - or anyone else - as only one campervan is allowed in each remote location per night.
Budget or boutique?
The site we picked, at Lanton three miles from the Northumbrian market town of Wooler, is half a mile down a rough track. It is surrounded by the foothills of the Cheviots and on the bank of the River Glen - but don’t expect shower blocks or a laundry. These sites don’t offer camping facilities at all, which is part of the attraction.
It’s on the edge of the Northumbrian National Park with not a house in sight. We drove past a few sheep on our approach and managed to surprise a family of gamboling hares, but that was it.
The Ford camper came from Camptoo, a sharing platform which puts campervan owners in touch with renters. The vehicles all have names – ours was Bella - and on picking it up we had a swift tutorial from the owner on how everything worked including the two-ring burner stove, sink, microwave and fridge.
On arrival at the site, it was easy enough to pop up the top, roll out the open-sided awning and set out seats to watch for the hares’ reappearance.
The camper comes with a porta potty, but no shower. Fortunately we managed to catch the start of July’s heatwave, so we took our chances and washed in the river rather than use the sink. Same for the dishes, and I actually did manage to catch a little fishy in one, which was culturally satisfying in this part of the world.
The van has two double beds, one folding down from the seats and one hidden inside the pop up roof. It sleeps four, although you’d have to know each other very well - the roof bed would be great for kids as it requires a bit of a heave-ho to get to.
It has black out blinds, lights and heating, although we didn’t need the latter.
Wining and dining
Wooler has a Co-op in which to stock up. The van’s kitchen is small, but well equipped. The size of the fridge meant it could have been a tough choice between keeping drinks or food cold, but a bottle of wine placed in the river solved that.
Worth getting out of bed for
From the site there is a walk up to Humbleton Hill, where Harry Hotspur defeated the Scots in 1402.
Wooler is a pretty town, with antique shops and gift emporiums. The long distance walk, St Cuthbert’s Way, passes through the village.
But the beauty of having a small campervan meant we could easily pack up and go further afield, chasing the best weather.
It drives much like a car and the only hairy moment was a turn into the wrong field which necessitated a reverse along a steep embankment, but it is surprisingly nimble, thankfully.
At Alnmouth we made our lunch and a brew, paddled and ate ice creams - all with food, crockery and cutlery, books, towels, change of clothes and comfortable seating on hand in the van.
But the real joy was to escape the crowds, head back to Lanton, and watch the sunset in our private field.
“Such a peaceful relaxing experience, this is the only way to camp.”
Wild With Consent offers pitches from £25, the Lanton site is priced at £45 per night.
Camptoo has over 1,800 vehicles listed for hire in the UK, with prices per night starting at £60.