Wild camping is one of those things that I love but it also make me feel slightly apprehensive at the same time. I love the idea of running on a trail and then just being able to pitch up when I feel the need. In the morning I can then just get up and carry on along the trail. That makes it sound so easy and idyllic but the reality is often quite different. Firstly you need to get your kit right, there’s no going back to the car if something vital has been forgotten! This includes carrying enough food and water for the length of time you expect to be out plus some emergency rations. Secondly, finding the right spot to camp, flat, sheltered and somewhere where you won’t be disturbed. In Scotland wild camping is allowed, in England you need to use your discretion and keep to high ground away from farms and populated areas.
I chose to make my way out from Selkirk at about 5pm with a plan to follow the trail up to the Three Brethren before joining the Southern Upland Way.
‘One of Scottish Borders’ iconic hills (465m), topped with three impressive cairns demarking the meeting of three estates – Buccleuch Estate, Yair Estate and Selkirk Burgh’
The Southern Upland Way was Britain’s first official coast to coast long distance foot-path. It runs 212 miles (340km) from Portpatrick on the south-west coast of Scotland to Cockburnspath on the east coast.
I followed the track for a short while before finding a suitable place to camp, sheltered by small fir trees.
The ground was quite lumpy with tree stumps and tussocks of grass and heather which I managed to squeeze my tent in between. I sat in the door of the tent and cooked my meal of chicken with pasta sauce and cheese on top.
In spite of the tussocks I got quite a good nights sleep. There were no sounds to be heard, not even a bleat from a sheep which were nearby. Early in the morning I did hear a fox bark a couple of times and a few grouse calls.
It was light by 7am and by 7.15 I had the tent all packed away and ready to go. The sky was lovely and clear with cloud filling the valley below.
I walked back towards the Three Brethren and got there just as the sun was beginning to show itself through a gap in the clouds. A few seconds later the hills beyond were also displayed but unfortunately my phone battery had died by this point. I can only describe the three humps of the Eildon hills to the left of the view and then the large mass of the Cheviots over to the right. Many inviting tracks and paths were also visible but they will have to wait for another day. For now my path was down and back to Selkirk.