/ Camping/Mountaineering without a car ?

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
vberg - on 11 Sep 2017
Just throwing this in the middle hoping to see some interesting thouts about ...


We've just come back home from Gran Paradiso after a great week of walking/climbing.

I'm curious to see other's experience about camping/climbing etc. without a car ? It felt like no one was prepared for people arriving on foot / by public transport but to us that's the idea of a camping holiday and if you fly somewhere having a car is not even an option anymore.

We felt like no one really wanted to help even if were more than happy to pay for any extra services - anyone else has similar unfridenly experiences ?


Do we really need a car to go to a camping and climb a mountain ? We don't own a car as in London you just don't need one so it's really annoying when in a remote countryside area we're presented with the idea that without a car we almost can't really do anything around and there's no infrastructure to cater for people on foot even though we have probably spent much more money than people by car.


Any comments are welcome.
10
rj_townsend on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to vberg:

I'm not really sure what you're trying to ask here, and I really don't understand your "if you fly somewhere having a car is not even an option anymore" comment. The network of hire cars available has never been better, with them available for collection at every airport (with perhaps some very remote exceptions).

A car-free trip is entirely feasible if you plan your trip to suit that type of travel arrangement. For example, a trip to Chamonix can be achieved via a flight, transfer bus and public transport within the valley.
1
Doug on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to vberg:

Try Switzerland, seems possible to get almost anywhere with the rail & postbus network
vberg - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to rj_townsend:

Renting a car to use it 2x a week seems quite silly for me ... we just needed to go further than walking distance in a week about 3 times plus getting to the camping and getting back down from the valley so while it's possible to rent a car I wouldn't fork out any sum for it ( altough we may ended up spending more on taxi )

And of course you're on a holiday so definitely will have a few drinks which doesn't go well with driving.

We have been in Valsaverenche, italy, at the Pont campground and the locals were quite unhelpful when it came to transport modes.

What I'm really asking is that we are the only ones ( it seemed like in the camping ) who carry stuff in dufflebags and backpacks and go to camp on foot by public transport or are we doing it the wrong way ?

We are not planning a trip based on accesibility we are going to places that seem nice / interesting and assuming that any camping place / village would have at least some sort of public transport and not zero.
11
marsbar - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to vberg:

I think you need to research carefully if you don't have a car. A few rural areas are well set up with public transport, but in many others it simply isn't cost efficient due to population numbers and so people just wouldn't consider living there without a car.

You can't expect rural communities to have subsidised public transport as there isn't the money for it, and without subsidies it may not be possible.

London is a very different situation.
vberg - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to marsbar:

Definitely will have a look in the future although even in this case we have looked at publice transport and on the italian bus website there was a timetable indicating a bus 3 times a day and in reality it turned out the bus didn't run.


In general i wasn't asking a question I'm rather just curious about other's experiences / would like to have a conversation with other climbers to see if they mostly drive or are there many others travelling on foot ?

1
GridNorth - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to vberg:

I wouldn't even consider it without a car. I did when I was young, in fact we hitched to the Alps first time but to be honest it just ties you down too much. I've lost count of the number of times I've been to Cham but bailed out to the Vercors or Provence because of bad weather. Without a car your holiday could be a total wash out as you are essentially trapped where you are.

Al
1
vberg - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to GridNorth:

What about the long drive or when you are not in europe ?
1
Chris Craggs - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to vberg:

Try the Ötztal in Austria (Sölden area) - they appear to be super organised, with a regular bus service up and down the valley. The bus stops even have have a electronic screen that tells you when the next bus is due and where it is going,


Chris
malky_c - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to vberg:

I do quite a bit in the UK (mostly in Scotland), and my attitude is you have to research and plan around where the public transport is rather than just assume it is there. Obviously that doesn't help with buses that turn out not to exist etc. Much as I would love to go anywhere without the car, I accept that there are some places where it isn't really possible. Not sure what you mean by no-one being prepared for people arriving by public transport.

Try hiring bikes next time? Might help if you are only travelling locally (but don't want to spend half of the day getting there).

In my experience, even if a reliable, regular bus service was laid on, hardly anyone would use it. You should see the hourly bus that goes up to the Cairngorm Ski centre from Aviemore. It gets plenty of use in the ski season, but in the summer I am usually the only person on it, despite the carpark at the top being pretty busy. A service running from Aviemore to Braemar (which was set up by the Cairngorms National Park, and seemed like a great idea) got canned a few years ago after just 2 or 3 years of running as hardly anyone used it.
vberg - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to malky_c:

By no-one being prepared for on-foot travellers I've meant that they ( bar staff, camping staff, hotel staff ) were difficult to get advice regarding taxis or any means of transport other than our own car ( which we didn't have )

Even to call a taxi was difficult on occasions which surprised me as taxis should be happy making money ...

They had hire bikes too, but you had to travel 10km down the valley to some tourist office to obtain a fob-key to use them which sort of beats the whole reason getting a bike

I guess it's just convenience for campings not to be bothered by on foot travellers - they didn't even sell screw-top gas canisters so we couldn't use our stove all week as we didn't have an adapter for the click-top ones...
2
marsbar - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to vberg:

If there is no public transport, everyone has their own car, hence there is no need for taxis.
John Clinch (Ampthill) - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to vberg:

In my limited experience climbing is alot easier with a car. Unless you can find a really good campsite crag combination. The best I've come across is Arapiles

There will be equivalents in Europe. I just don't know where they are

I find car hire cheap these days. 8 days from Venice Airport for the Dolomites was £150 with all insurance. That was alot less then 2 flights with hold bags and less than the campsite. Driving empty buses round rural areas isn't necessarily better for the environment
wbo - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to vberg: as a general rule rural travel without a car is a p.i.t.a. Climbing is just a victim of this

Clint86 - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to vberg:

I did my last 21 fell races in the Lakes, and have done my last 69 munros in Scotland without a car. I wouldn't go back to a car. It's an adventure from when you leave your house without one.
MG - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to vberg:
I've spent at least ten alpine trips in the GP without a car and never had any problems. You have to plan ahead a little but the public transport is excellent. Very surprised you had problems.

For longer moves, eg. between countries, it is rather slow, however, so I take a car mostly.these.days.
Post edited at 22:08
MG - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to marsbar:


> You can't expect rural communities to have subsidised public transport as

The odd thing is very do.in the area the OP was in, unless he just missed the summer timetable??

IPPurewater on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to vberg:
We were in Valsavranche a month ago, albeit with a car. We stayed on the next campsite down the valley from you, next to a Dutch couple who had arrived by public transport, without any issues. Indeed they thought that the hourly bus service to what is really a fairly remote place, was very good ! Did you check the bus timetables ? I did. I was surprised how comprehensive they were.
Post edited at 22:14
malky_c - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to vberg:

I think it's just the case that so few people do it that there's not enough demand for the sort of things you want. Although if getting about without a car was easier, there might be more demand I suppose. But in my experience, the number of buses rattling round the Highlands almost empty tells me that most people would rather stick to their cars anyway. Bit of a shame, but that's the way it seems to be.
Fraser on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to Chris Craggs:
> Try the Ötztal in Austria (Sölden area) - they appear to be super organised, with a regular bus service up and down the valley. The bus stops even have have a electronic screen that tells you when the next bus is due and where it is going,

I think many cities in the UK have real time transport (incl. buses) info these days.

Edit: I suppose you're talking more about rural areas though.
Post edited at 22:18
Rigid Raider - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to vberg:

Nobody has mentioned hitching. In the days when I used to hitch everywhere I used to find it much easier if I had a rucsac with a rope draped over the top as drivers could see the purpose of my journey. I did Newcastle to Glenbrittle in 12 hours one fine day, a thoroughly enjoyable trip. More recently we have hitched from a French ski resort down to the town with a child in tow when the bus times didn't work for us and I have done short hitches in Wales when my feet were sore after a long walk; on every occasion I've been dressed obviously as a walker or a skier and on two occasions the first car has stopped.
Flinticus - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to vberg:

> We are not planning a trip based on accesibility we are going to places that seem nice / interesting and assuming that any camping place / village would have at least some sort of public transport and not zero.

Well, maybe that's where your problem started. Not with the locals.

Have you ever lived in a rural area? Maybe you have and were lucky to have good public transport but a lot of rural places don't and those that do, may have very infrequent service.

To take the town in Ireland I grew up in: population 25-30K. No public transport aside from intercity buses and trains. So no local bus service or trams. You either walk, cycle, drive or get a taxi. Most of my youth was thus spent within short cycling distance of home! And my home town is a key tourist destination in Ireland.

My wife grew up 12 miles outside Shrewsbury. Bus twice a day from her village to Shrewsbury. Five miles to the nearest infrequently serviced train station. Everybody drives, as soon as you are legally able.

Me in Scotland: I didn't drive until 7 years ago. I learned once I had accessed most of the hills by train that were reasonably possible and after I got fed up with finishing a long day walking along the shoulder of the A82. Also the north west train is far slower than car. 3h 45m to Fort William! Crazy. 4h 25m to Glenfinnan...You also end up rushing for the service as the next one may be 3-5 hours later or the next morning. Ever miss the train at Corrour?

You need to plan around your needs and not expect others to provide for you.
profitofdoom on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to vberg:

> Any comments are welcome.

Getting around N Wales or Scotland on a Sunday is a pain without a car
Rigid Raider - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to profitofdoom:

As I wrote above, try hitching. Shortish trips are easy especially if you can be identified as a climber or walker.
peppermill - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to vberg:
Agree with Flinticus. Growing up in rural Yorkshire there was public transport but it was infrequent and expensive. Everyone learnt to drive as soon as it was legal ( including a tractor licence at 16 for some HA!)- if you didn't you basically didn't have a social life!

Plan your trips around the the infrastructure- you can't just turn up and expect to be able to get around without a car.
Post edited at 18:19
Neil Williams - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to marsbar:

> If there is no public transport, everyone has their own car, hence there is no need for taxis.

Only if they are teetotal. Taxis do plenty of business in the rural UK for that kind of reason.
Neil Williams - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to peppermill:

> Plan your trips around the the infrastructure- you can't just turn up and expect to be able to get around without a car.

Other than possibly in Switzerland.
cb294 - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to vberg:

Go to Switzerland or Austria, the public transport is usually excellent, sometimes even with taxis run by the bus company to take you up side valleys. The German alpine club also has a big program to reduce car use by climbers, it fells as if every second monthly magazine contains an article recommending some area where valley transport is either free or well organized specifically for climbers and hikers.

Works well, though, only when you live close to the mountains, say in Munich or Freiburg (or of course directly in Austria or Switzerland), for me it is normally not an option.

CB
Lion Bakes on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to vberg:

Public transport round there is good in the summer. I suspect you hit the shutdown that pretty much happens the first weekend in September. Locals either know of a taxi firm or they do not. It is not unhelpful if they dont know. Second hiring or taking bikes. We often take Bromptons with us to cover the extra distance between walks if necessary.

But basically plan your trips better. If there aren't good public transport links at the time of year you are there then plan for it. Dont assume you can get all your needs like gas cylinders in a rural place as it enters the shoulder season. Get them in a big town on the way. Work out if there is enough to do, even if the weather craps out, for the time you are there. Plan to walk in and out and / or hitch and allow the time for it, if necessary.
womblingfree on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to vberg:

Having only learnt to drive 5 years aogo i agree it can be a PITA getting abiut in rural areas without one.

But my last 3 holiday experiences without a car (I drive lots for a living so rather wouldn't on holidays) have been as follows

Week walking the Pembs coast path in March, so out of season, not everything open etc. Had to bail one day as my knee was giving me grief, landlord of the pub we were in drive us to the next B&B as I quote 'taxi costs will take the poss out here boys'. As it was off season we carried food as evening meals wernt available on as lot of the places we stayed. Saying that, one b&B owner drove us to a pub for dinner, and picked us up 3 hours later.

A week goibg hut to hut in the Carpathian Alps in Romania, with Explore. While we were looked after met a few groups doing similar, utilising public transport, taxis and scrounge lifts, so doable.

A week walking in the Alpujarras/Sierra Nevada foothills. Buses 3 or 4 times a day around the valleys and into Granada with locals using them and happy to held you out on arrangements.

I work in business support and lots of my tourism clients in rural Wales will go out of their way to assist guests arriving on foot or by bike

Maybe it depends where you go?
ceri - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to vberg:

We did Slovenia with no car, buses in and a lot of walking. It depends where you go.
vberg - on 13 Sep 2017
In reply to womblingfree:

We did hitch 1-2 times had met some very nice people it was rather hotel/bar staff who was actually surprised that anyone would be on foot and they were really uninterested to put any thought into how we could get around - apart from one helpful waiter who actually asked his chef friend to help us while on a break ( we paid him though ).

We did check buses well ahead but as it turned out they stopped going up to the camping just a day before we've arrived and this was not mentioned in the timetables anywhere - at the bus stop in the camping there was a timetable too suggesting 3 buses a day whilst there was none
mutt - on 13 Sep 2017
In reply to Rigid Raider:

> As I wrote above, try hitching. Shortish trips are easy especially if you can be identified as a climber or walker.

I was just beginning to loose hope! does no one hitch anymore? My experience, albeit several years ago, in spain and the dolomites, at least, is that the locals are more than happy to pick up hitchers, and particularly easy if you identify as a climber by draping the rope over the rucksack. Indeed on one of my holidays around catalonia all of my best experiences were precipitated by meeting the locals and visitors when hitching.
jonny.greenwood - on 13 Sep 2017
In reply to mutt:

When hitching, holding up a €20 note often works better than a sign! It's still possible, just like all aspects of life, it costs more than it used to!

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.