Brace yourself, if you haven't heard us shouting about it Wild Trails is well and truly underway. Last week we visited our first Wild Trail and it very much came to life and we couldn't be more stoked about what it has to offer. Before we dive into the monumental details of what we uncovered on our trip to Scotland last week, I want to wind back and tell you why we ended up standing on top of a snow covered mountain in the middle of winter trying to defrost our toes…
For Tom and I the essence of adventure lies with exploring new areas together and pushing our boundaries, collaboratively facing new challenges and supporting each other through the good and the bad, it's not all sunshines and rainbows but shooting out the other end of an adventure it is crystal clear there are so many benefits to be had. Truth be told, like many, this is where our friendship was founded as young men; stomping the hills of Dartmoor, throwing ourselves off cliffs into the sea and climbing pitches that would be enough to give any mother a heart attack. These endeavour's have over the years evolved into multi day adventures that for us are the benchmark for, well..doing something epic and feeling great for it!
Wind back one year and these adventurous escapades had landed us on top of a mountain nestled on the fringes of the lake district; we sat watching the sunset contemplating how absolutely everyone should have the confidence to access wonderful adventures that connect us to nature, and for us had been a catalyst for positivity in so many ways. This is where CampWild was born and we had every intention from that day to create an accessible scale of camping adventures that not only allowed people to easily plan and execute a nature immersed night under the stars but also embark on an adventure of exploration and new experiences in the wild....enter Wild Trails.
For us Wild Trails is the hallmark of our mission and gives the opportunity to thrust anyone and everyone into a world of exploration in nature, breaking down boundaries and developing oneself in many ways. We had always envisioned that Wild Trials would transport our community to the deepest, most remote and wild locations that the UK has to offer, so when we heard about the estate in Scotland that our project partners Oxygen Conversation had acquired we truly felt like the stars had aligned… we kicked the wheels into motion and began to plan our first route for Wild Trails.
Okay, you are up to date and we have landed last week and we are stepping onto a snow filled mountain range to bring our very first Wild Trail to life, boy did it deliver.
Lets’ paint the picture as you open your car door to step foot onto the trail…ancient woodlands bank into towering waterfalls carved into the hillside, the landscape then towers up into a striking climb further into the mountains, that are surrounded by the wildest of landscapes; waterfalls, lochans, towering cliffs, thermo-springs, boulder fields and beyond. The abundance of varied and beautiful landscape here is beyond words and you could just as well be stepping foot onto another planet. This place is the perfect escape.
The beauty of this Wild Trail is that as soon as you step on to the route you are walking further and further away from civilisation. This route truly does take you off-grid with its Wild Spaces to camp at the head of the trail, as far away from human life as you can imagine. We couldn't be any luckier to step foot onto the route in snow covered conditions. This place is thriving year round and offers different adventures all through the seasons.
As the route begins it gently winds you through the base of a beautiful valley then takes a sharp accent that will get your heart pumping, but crikey does it give you a wonderful view with every foot step. As you reach a shelf that plateaus along the side of a ridge it becomes quite clear how wild this place is; far reaching views with snow capped mountains, momentous rock formations, beautiful frozen bodies of water and not a soul insight. At least not a human soul in sight…
We knew that wildlife was in abundance here but we were blown out of the water within minutes of leaving our vehicle right the way until we returned. Birds of prey, herds of deer, foxes, mountain hares, otters! (yes you read that correctly), the list really does go on and we are lucky enough to have had a consistent canvas of evidence to share with you. I will let the pictures do the talking.
After what felt like a day of pioneering exploration where no one else has been, our route lands us at the foot of the final ascent to our home for the evening: A Wild Space found at the most remote part of the estate. Now Tom and I have camped in some truly stunning places, but the awe and beauty that this spot offers is something never to be forgotten. Oh, and the cold. The cold is never to be forgotten! We are lucky enough to have amazing winter conditions to recce the routes but that does mean that when the sun goes down, it gets pretty cold at 800m above sea level. To be specific -15 out of the wind! With the right kit this does however offer a wonderful playground tio camp in that couldn't have transported us any further away from modern day life. Again, I will let the pictures do the talking.
Let’s rewind a little as you may have remembered that I expressed our intention was to create Wild Trails that are accessible for everyone, but I can only imagine that some of you are sitting scratching your heads saying “Hell no, I cant climb 800m to camp in the snow!”, on the other hand I am sure some of you are sitting there shouting “sign me up!”. Nevertheless, before arriving at our camp for the evening our day had been spent scoping out all three of the routes we had planned for this Wild Trail; accessible, moderate and difficult. Three different Trails that create adventure for anyone that wants to step foot into a truly wild experience.
Having camped at the furthest location point from the start of the route, the final leg takes you around a truly stunning ridge line, an hugely adventurous area to walk through with options across all 3 routes that soak in the beauty of the wild and rugged landscape, and yes of course for those more daring explorers that difficult route really does take in something that will blow your mind, I will say no more. For us, walking below the ridge line above a beautiful body of water offered some spectacular sites, particularly the artwork that the cold temperatures had created as the water carved its way down the edge of the ridge towards us.
After more wildlife, more stunning views and the winter sun beating down on us and cutting through the cold we arrive back at the end of Camp Wild's first Wild Trail. As tired as we were from working hard to bring these routes together and carrying packs with not only our kit in but camera equipment and drones, we couldn’t be more elated about what we had just discovered and what we have ahead of us to bring it to life and share it with our awesome community.
Now, the reality is I have just squeezed a 3 day trip into one short write up that really doesn't quite cut the mustard in terms of giving you guys an insight into how these routes offer a truly incredible experience that will undoubtedly ignite a fire for adventure in anyone (I guarantee it!). Tom and I are going to be working hard to continue to bring Wild Trails to life ahead of our opening launch at the National Outdoor Expo in March this year…watch the space tribe this is just the beginning.