Reversing the star system

One of the features of Nearly Wild Camping is the rating system we are going to use. We are going to take the conventional star system for tourist accommodation and turn it on it’s head. So in the middle of nowhere, with no facilities is going to be 5*!

I have been having a think today about how exactly this could work. I think it is going to be a mix of two different scales, one for how many facilities are available and the other for how remote it is, which will include how far away it is from buildings, how far it is from any shops or facilities and how remote it feels. It is going to be a bit subjective to decide where a site is on a scale and also a site could potentially come out at different stars on each scale, so there would have to be some rules on what you do in that situation. Averaging them wouldn’t help because if they were only one star apart then it would end up in the middle! Or maybe you are allowed to have half a star? Any suggestions gratefully received!

My thoughts so far for the Facilities scale are:

5* has no facilities at all

4* has access to drinking water

3* has a few facilities

2* has provision for all facilities, but not necessarily conventional options, eg. compost toilets and solar showers

1* has all the conventional facilities

 

The remoteness scale is a bit trickier, my initial try is:

5* is at least 500m from any buildings and they are not visible, it feels remote and is at least 2 miles from the shops

4* some buildings are visible, but they are not within 200m, it still feels remote and is at least a mile from any shops

3* still feels remote, but it s either near to habitation and the shops or is next to habitation but a long way from anything else

2* is near to habitation, but still feels separate, it is also not far from a shop

1* is next to buildings or habitation, a short distance from the shops and does not feel remote

 

I feel like remoteness is different to wildness. You can find wild patches in the middle of big urban conurbations, but to be remote you need to be far away from convenience facilities. What do you think? I would love your feedback on my ideas.

Not so wild camping

As I mentioned in the last blog, we ended up with a rather ironic camping location at the Welsh smallholders show last weekend. I just thought you might appreciate a photo of it!

As well as the beautiful brick toilet block with the lights on all night, may I point out the road just visible behind the tents, which is where all of the car parking traffic came into the showground, starting at 6am! It certainly made me more passionate when talking to people about some wilder options!

And we’re off!

The Nearly Wild Camping team are now back and recovering from a whirlwind weekend at the Welsh Smallholder show. It was wonderful to talk to so many enthusiastic people, confirming that there really is a demand for Nearly Wild Camping from both campers and smallholders.

Nearly Wild Camping Stand

The Nearly Wild Camping stand at the welsh smallholders show

We talked to people who were veteran wild campers, who were interested in being able to visit a wider range of places and not to have to move on first thing in the morning. And then we talked to people who had never camped before, but were really taken with the idea of having the experience of camping in wilder places.

We talked to smallholders who wanted to share their little bit of wilderness with others and those who were struggling to make a living from the land and welcomed another income stream. As well as those with bigger farms, who realised this could be a good use for some of their out of the way awkward land – difficult for farming, but perfect for nearly wild camping!

We also talked to some organisations who thought that their members might be interested in getting involved. What about being able to visit some of the farms who are part of the Calonwen cooperative?! I know I would be really interested to go and check them out.

We had lots of campers and smallholders who want to get involved in this summers trial, so we will be getting everything together this week, once we have properly digested all the interesting conversations and feedback we have had, ready to get the trial up and running.

There was also a beautiful irony about the weekend. The camping spot that we had been allocated was right next to the toilet block and the main car park…

Let us know what you think

As well as looking for enthusiastic volunteer campers and sites to get involved in our trial this summer, we are still collecting people’s opinions and ideas on how Nearly Wild Camping could and should work. We have made a couple of short surveys to let people have their say. So if you have a few minutes we would love to get your feedback. There is a survey for campers and a survey for potential sites.

Our ideas of how we should structure the organisation, how we can make it commercially viable (so not making a loss!) and what is going to work the best for campers and sites is evolving all the time. So all input will be really valuable to us and definitely given consideration.

Our New Logo

We thought it was about time we came up with a logo, so that we can put it on all of the flyers and leaflets we are getting printed ready for next week.

So, Steve has put his ipad drawing skills to good use and has created one for us.

Nearly Wild Camping

This is the first version of the new Nearly Wild Camping logo

It still needs a bit of refining, but I really like it. We are hoping that it captures the spirit of wild camping, without making it feel too exclusive, you don’t have to be on a remote hillside to nearly wild camp!

This is something we really care about at Nearly Wild Camping. We want to encourage everyone to wild camp, whatever they think wild is. For some people camping anywhere is wild, after all in a tent there is only a sheet or two of canvas between you and night sky.

What is your definition of wild? Do you think our logo captures it? We would love to know what you think, so please do leave us a comment!

Gearing up for the Welsh Smallholders Show

Nearly Wild Camping is going to be in the Green Enterprise tent at the Royal Welsh Spring Festival in a couple of weeks. So at the moment we are busy planning what exciting things we can do on the stand.

I can’t wait to have a go at the badge maker we have lined up for the kids to make their own camping and outdoor themed badges with. They make such a satisfying clunk when you make the final ‘press’.

Carved wooden spoons

whittling away (Kirsty Morris)

Then Steve is getting out his whittling knives and has promised to teach me how to make chickens! So that will be an interesting project for the weekend. I don’t think we will be able to give people lessons, but we can definitely do some demonstrations.

We are also collecting together an array of unusual, but useful camping equipment. If you don’t like head torches, then come check out the candle holder! If you know of any good examples then do leave a comment. We are also going to be collecting peoples top tips for Wild Camping, so watch this space in a couple of weeks for some gems of knowledge!

As well as having all this fun we are also going to be spreading the word about Nearly Wild Camping far and wide and finding lots of interested campers and landowners to take part in this summers trial. We are still collecting peoples’ views too with our short questionnaire. We want to talk to as many people as possible so we can make Nearly Wild camping work for as many people as possible.

So if your going to be at the Royal Welsh Spring Festival too then come and say hello, ask us lots of questions and join in the fun!