Wind and 'Wilderness' in the UK
While a few degrees of Latitude and 876 miles (say 1400km) separate these two spots there doesn’t seem to be too much difference in the ambient temperature either – just variations in cold, I reckon. Right at this moment though the sun is shining, the sky is a wispy blue and the wind is, for a change, just a zephyr.
I’ve also found it doesn’t take long to begin to feel a little claustrophobic and a little hemmed in here, especially south of the border. In England there’s no such thing as really wild country, while Scotland can at least boast of having some, especially when the dark, blizzard-laden grip of winter spreads its mantle over the land. Winter in our ‘High Country’ doesn’t really rate in comparison.
Early on and trying to find anything 'wild', we did enjoy a few days in The New Forest, down in the south of England. Named and proclaimed by old King Harold in 1079, the place was his private hunting reserve, while King Henry V111 a few hundred years later stripped most of the big trees for his new navy that set England on the way to rule the waves. It’s been protected in some form since those early days and it is now the UK’s latest national park and one of the biggest, covering about 42,000 hectares. With over eight million visitors a year the place is crowded much of the time; people walking dogs, (What, in a national park??) riding horses, pedaling bikes, flying kites, playing footy (soccer), bird watching, admiring the wild horses and hill walking. All of this is of course within cooee of a bitumen road and a continuous thunder of traffic that ebbs and flows to and from the nearby cities - and the villages that lie within the park.
But this north coast of Scotland takes some beating and we’ve been camped in a small, island protected cove for the last couple of nights, enjoying the milder weather and taking short walks over hill and dale. There’s just a couple of other camps – walkers and sea kayakers – nearby which makes a change from the more regimented camping places and caravan parks you are obliged to stay at most of the time when touring the British Isles.