Sanitised Wilderness Experiences



Article by Ian Macfarlane of ‘Do it Outdoors’



Set yourself free from the routine worries of the day, forget what time is, move through the wild like a leaf on the wind, not a care in the world, free from worldly matters and all material things, relying only on your wits and trusting your intuition.


But hey, don’t forget your mobile phone with built in GPS and 1:25,000 full colour OS maps, full 3G web access, back up compass and paper map; your electronic lighter, route card with those essential escape routes, your high tech walking poles, your pressurised propane gas cylinder, bottle of buckfast to heighten your mood, your oversized machete to open your freeze dried food, your special stainless steel marshmallow toaster, mosquito repellent, wind up radio, iPod and your battery powered LED torch etc, etc ….


Aye that’s right, you’re a real outdoors man aren’t you, you’re going to get in touch with your inner self and discover the wonders of nature carrying all that – sure you are. 


That might sound a bit harsh; who do I think I am?


Well actually it’s a bit of self commentary, I was that person.  I spent years walking in the wilds obsessing about Munro bagging and gadgetry, seeing how fast I could get up a hill, how far I could travel in a day (given my over weight rucksack) missing most of the amazing delights that nature was offering up to me.


I then read about a great Northern American Indian who said, “A trip into the wild with more than a loin cloth was merely camping”.  Okay, by that definition I am still a camper and no, I am not the naked rambler.  This did make me think though about how exciting it would be to be as free as that Indian.


Now we live in Scotland, so I don’t think the loin cloth is really a goer.  But could it be that we could travel a lot lighter?  I mean really light; not just buying the lightest gear but actually doing without.  How far can you take this?


Now I’m not suggesting you wander of buck naked into the bush, but what about starting slowly, shedding your cooking equipment and cooking on nothing but an open fire not using any utensils. Sounds farfetched?  Well its actually part of the ‘Scouts Survival Badge’, target age group 10.5 – 14yrs; so no excuses.


Just remember another Old Indian Saying, “White man build big fire, sit far away; Indian make small fire sit close”.  There are many more skills that can be learnt, even going without a sleeping bag!


These skills and skills like them will still be there when your batteries are dead and food has run out.