Sam Wollaston’s article on camping on Dartmoor (“Doctors should prescribe it!”: the joys of wild camping – and why it is under threat in England, 5 July) reminded me of our honeymoon in July 1974, which we parted with hiking and wild camping in Dartmoor . The walking was invigorating, the view spectacular – and the excitement was great.
As a local (I grew up in Tavistock on the western edge of the moor) I knew I had to check with the local police station about planned military exercises. So I asked and was told there weren’t any on the dates in question.
Waking up in our tent on the second night, we woke in alarm to hear helicopters overhead, the sky lit by torches and gunfire not too distant. Were we on the set of a war movie? Were the police misinformed? We never found out, but needless to say we survived unscathed and survived to tell the story.
Wild camping was blissful only the occasional Dartmoor pony surprised our skinny dipping in streams. Heather made a scented mattress under our groundsheet. Enjoy Dartmoor’s unique beauty with wild camping, but stay alert at night.
Your article immediately took me back to the 1960s when “wild camping” was the norm. We Girl Guides set up camp in a field at the foot of Easby Moor in North Yorkshire. It was near a railway line and the driver honked the horn “Come to the Cookhouse Door”. It rained nonstop and a few bell tents slid down the field to the fence, their occupants inside. My most enduring memory was of being awakened in the dark in great pain. My hair was pulled and a monster tried to eat my head. A curious cow chewing grass got more than she bargained for.
I was surprised to read in Sam Wollaston’s article that wild camping is not allowed at all in Wales and only on Dartmoor in England. When I was young, after years of practice, I applied to become a mountain guide. My initial training and final exams, each two weeks long, were conducted in the Lake District and Snowdonia respectively. The British Mountaineering Council syllabus required a three-day mountain hike with two high-level camps before a certificate was awarded. How can potential executives be assessed now?
Do you have an opinion on everything you read in the Guardian today? Please E-mail us your letter and it will be considered for publication.