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ARTICLE: How to Convert a Camper Van into a Climbing Home on Wheels

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 UKC Articles 27 Aug 2020
Parked up in the Langdales

Charlie Low and Dale Comley share some hints and tips on how to convert your own camper van into a cosy climbing home on wheels. Check out their van configurator!



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 S Ramsay 27 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

'Bury your poo' no wonder people hate converted camper vans if that's your idea of being socially responsible. Sure if you're somewhere a day's walk from a road then there's an argument for it, but next to Malham, or anyway else where people regularly visit, is pretty bloody disgusting

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 Red Rover 27 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Please don't, we're all fed up of the bloody things! 

Post edited at 16:08
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 Mike505 27 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Article:

I own one and use it, but #vanlife is fast becoming a 'tragedy of the commons', if such a phrase can be applied to this situation?

Far too many vanlifers not acting in a respectful manner for it to be sustainiable and promoted. There are also far too many XXXXXXL wheel base monstrosities taking up 3 normal spaces at the crag, though you'd hope they at least have a toilet in them and don't just leave paper blowing across the moors.

Post edited at 16:58
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 smollett 27 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Predictable there will be a backlash against this. Unfortunately the UK is just too small for this kind of lifestyle to be taken up by the masses and it is causing chaos in places which used to be quiet and unspoilt. When numbers were fewer then it was less noticeable and therefore acceptable but now I think it's no longer the case. I think legislation like they have in the Netherlands will be brought in eventually.

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In reply to UKC Articles:

Really poorly timed article. What were you thinking? 

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In reply to Mike505:

Van use (I won't call it life, that died in 1986) has gone the way of climbing. 

What was once the preserve of a different bunch of people has become mainstream and this has brought with it its own problems. Misdeeds which may have passed unnoticed in the past are no longer acceptable;crapping in laybys, climbing whilst under the influence.

Both pass times are still very enjoyable if you can find somewhere to do them on your own terms.

In terms of the article, would it have hurt to have put a portaloo in the van or mentioned using a toilet tent? 

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 guy757 27 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

I thought this was a great article, of course there are pros and cons for Vanlife and, as the article says, it's about being responsible. Well done on the conversion, the van looks amazing! 

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 nikoid 27 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

I love the idea of getting away from it all in a van. Oh hang on there's about a million other people with the same idea!🙄

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In reply to UKC Articles:

So much negativity in the comments! Your van's amazing, your article is great. Well done with the conversion. I am well jel. 

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 CathS 27 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

'Not parking up in any sensitive areas, especially if you have a larger van'  ?

Well the photo of the van parked up in a layby in Langdale looks like a prime example of this.

I'm getting sick of the sight of dozens of the bloody things ruining the once beautiful landscape of the Lakes.

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 webbo 27 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Do people who live in these things have no sense of smell. I can’t see how sleeping in your kitchen is attractive, even better if you have a portaloo as well.

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 Red Rover 27 Aug 2020
In reply to climbingwithconsequences:

The negativity is because there is litter and shit everywhere and every other passing place seems to be blocked by some instagrammer trying to #livethedream in a van.

Post edited at 21:07
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 cp123 27 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

I was down in Portland on the last weekend - the number of climber vans really stood out - parking outside people's houses and on the verges.  I can understand how it could breed resentment. Compared to responsible wild camping where tents are pitched late and camp striked early a van is clearly visible night and day.
 

Clearly I was also part of the problem being down there myself, but a small hatch back blends in and as I was staying in accommodation I wasn't crapping in bushes.

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In reply to UKC Articles:

This is a really, really poorly timed article guys!! The Bank Holiday weekend after a global pandemic when everyone wants to get away and the weather is going to be good!! Wtf are you thinking!! Yea let’s just highlight what us climbers have known for ages and make it bloody impossible for us to do it anymore?!? If you’re gonna convert a van great! If you know some spots great!! Maybe just keep it to yerself tho eh?!? 

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 LJH 27 Aug 2020
In reply to Duncan Disorderly:

I think the main point was to promote the blog and configurator. So maybe good timing from their perspective..?

But yes, I also agree with your perspective when considering the bigger picture.

Post edited at 23:44
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 Emilio Bachini 27 Aug 2020
In reply to Duncan Disorderly:

If someone can get a van converted from this article going live and the weekend, top efforts them. I don't think the article is going to convince anyone to go away that wasn't already planning on it. Great work Charlie and Dale.  

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In reply to LJH:

Yea... Boost their SEO profile, monetise their blog... Great! Don’t worry about the cost... Oh you can’t do this in the UK anymore because locals are complaining, government taxes on vans are skyrocketing?!?!? Just winds me up! If they’ve got a good thing going on then great, I’m happy for them... Publicising it and ruining it for everyone else just makes my piss boil!!

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In reply to UKC Articles:

This reads more like a Product Announcement/Advert as opposed to an article.
Sorry UKC  for yet another negative response.... 
 

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 Reach>Talent 28 Aug 2020
In reply to Presley Whippet:

> Really poorly timed article. What were you thinking? 

Don't worry this won't cause a sudden surge in van conversions, as no one has any materials in stock! Plywood, tongue and groove and prepared timber seem to be almost unobtainable in some places. 

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 supersteve 28 Aug 2020
In reply to Reach>Talent:

Because all the climbers have bought it to build home walls....LOL

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 turtlespit 28 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Being a nerdy numbers type, I keep wondering if anybody has calculated the "cost per night in van".  After van purchase, fit-out, on going costs (fuel, maintenance, etc) and depreciation I wonder how it stacks up with the other options (camping; B&B/hotel; hiring a van).

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 Red Rover 28 Aug 2020
In reply to turtlespit:

There's no way that a DIY campervan is more economical than staying in 5 star hotels unless you are in the van for several weeks per year. But a nice hotel doesn't give you the opportunity to post about your pretend perfect life on instagram which, let's face it, is what this whole thing is all about.

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 Emilio Bachini 28 Aug 2020

In reply to Duncan Disorderly:

So it's "technically unlawful" but okay when you or a small number of people do it?

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 cathsullivan 28 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Agree wholeheartedly with the negative responses here. Would prefer to see a UKC article that really explores and critically addresses the genuine issues associated with the (understandable) increase of roadside dossing in the UK. I think that would be more interesting and positive for the outdoor community (and our relations with others) than an advert for a blog and a story about somebody doing something - fortunately perhaps - not really practical or affordable for most UK climbers.

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 Alex Riley 28 Aug 2020
In reply to Red Rover:

I’ve sold both the vans I’ve converted for a profit after using them for a while, so it worked out more economic for me. 

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 Red Rover 28 Aug 2020
In reply to Alex Riley:

I forgot about resale! They're still a pain in the rear at the moment though. Once a good thing becomes too popular (in a small and densely populated island) then it isn't a good thing any more.

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In reply to UKC Articles:

I for one love my van. Super handy after getting off the hill, able to get changed, get warm and have a hot drink. It is shorter than a Mondeo but slightly longer than a Fabia so don't buy it is taking up excess space (part of the requirements for the van was it needed to fit in a parking space). If we are staying away in it and we need a #2 we go somewhere that has toilets (obvious solution). Also if I end up far away from home and knackered I can doss in the back, whilst the poor sods I was out with drive home.

Roll on September when the weather starts to turn and fewer people are away, gives us more places to stay.

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 Red Rover 28 Aug 2020
In reply to JoshOvki:

That's the right way to do it and it wouldn't be a problem if everyone did vanning like you do. It never used to be a problem but the last few months have been really weird, it's like there's a fleet of huge vans blocking everything up and leaving a carpet of bog roll behind. A combination of lockdown and instagram seems to have stirred up some kind of frenzy.

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In reply to Red Rover:

I think we are just seeing the problem we normally ship off to Spain for their holidays. Added in that people have more free time (taking holiday days they didn't take whilst furlonged/working from home etc). We have actually cancelled a few trips because we had heard the areas were busy. Hoping it settles down.

Post edited at 09:21
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 artif 28 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Thanks for the article, takes the heat off 4x4's, MTB's, e-bikes (maybe not), land-owners, tourists, non-locals etc etc etc 

There's a lot of rage out there for people not complying with "the rules" : )

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 cathsullivan 28 Aug 2020
In reply to JoshOvki:

Sounds great. I don't think any of us wouldn't want these advantages and more.

But I think the pressing issues are around how we can come up with great solutions that are collectively great ... not just individually great. In the neoliberal UK individual solutions are all the rage, so no surprises .... but is it a good thing?

Climbers will always want flexible, affordable accommodation (and parking) near crags. But if every individual climber solves it with a van (and who can blame them when it's such a good solution)  it raises problems for us collectively.

Club huts currently not working as normal has made this more of an issue  as has the fact that many UK areas where there are crags and mountains are currently so busy. Both of those things will probably change again so maybe we don't need to get too hysterical... But there are still issues with vans as the solution to the climber's accommodation dilemma.

For example ... car sharing is good for our pockets, for efficient use of parking facilities and the environment. But what happens on weekend (or longer) trips when everyone has to travel one van per person cos their van is also their accommodation (even if they just sleep in it in the hut carpark)?  I've been guilty of this myself because I often prefer to sleep in the back of my estate than in a busy dorm.

I recall years ago my Dad quipping about the most vital piece of equipment for climbing. Rope? Shoes? Harness? No ... a car. Maybe nowadays the answer is van. Hardly progress.

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 Red Rover 28 Aug 2020
In reply to artif:

For me it's nothing to do with 'the rules' it's the fact that the mountainous and beautiful areas of the UK are tiny and under a lot of pressure. We don't have much wild space at all especially compared to the 60 million people who live here so we have to look after it. Once you let roadside shitting and littering get established then you will see the line of litter and crap getting higher and higher up into the hills as the lack of respect is normalised. And the freedoms we have enjoyed responsibly for years may be gradually removed by law makers and councils as more and more people take the piss.

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 ptrickey 28 Aug 2020
In reply to Red Rover:

It is becoming a mainstream consumer leisure pursuit and I can see the need for national parks and local authorities adjusting facilities so that the participants in "vanlifering" can do it responsibly on an equal footing with other park users and respectfully of locals who live in the areas. 

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 Red Rover 28 Aug 2020
In reply to ptrickey:

I agree, more facilities would be nice but I won't hold my breath for it actually happening. It's up to the individual to act according to the facilities that actually exist rather than trashing somewhere and seeing it as the council's fault for not providing. 

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 Wainers44 28 Aug 2020
In reply to JoshOvki:

> I think we are just seeing the problem we normally ship off to Spain for their holidays. Added in that people have more free time (taking holiday days they didn't take whilst furlonged/working from home etc). We have actually cancelled a few trips because we had heard the areas were busy. Hoping it settles down.

I think you are right and it will settle down again. A few weeks or crap weather and a couple of storms has already thinned it out a bit. This weekend will be silly again and then after that peace again. 

I think a lot of first time vaners will also decide that the park in a lay by life isnt for them. The ground isnt level enough so their G&Ts dont sit level in the glass. Also they will decide there aren't enough people there to show their expensive toy off to.

Camp sites for vans will see a surge of demand and the flashy ones will hike prices up further.

Sad to see that the campsite in Braithwaite has been converted to serviced pitches for vans and caravans only. No more tents as far as I can see. Pity, and I bet it will cost a packet for a van pitch now.

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 ptrickey 28 Aug 2020
In reply to Red Rover:

I agree that vanlifers do need to take responsibility, but it is a growing pursuit love it or loathe it. National parks will have to manage this pursuit as they would any other user group or the problem parking and shitting will only get worse.

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In reply to Wainers44:

> Sad to see that the campsite in Braithwaite has been converted to serviced pitches for vans and caravans only. No more tents as far as I can see. Pity, and I bet it will cost a packet for a van pitch now.

I know you're not doing this but you can hardly blame the site owner using the current situation to their advantage to maximise their income; especially since they'll have missed income from April & May.

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 Sans-Plan 28 Aug 2020
In reply to Wainers44:

I have a van, have had it for 10 years now, we only ever stay on serviced sites as i like a shower when we have been biking/running, the odd occasion we do stay in a non serviced site is when travelling so arrive late and gone in the morning, i always seek out public loo's as crapping in the woods etc. is grim anyway, when i retire i'm going to buy a big one for a grand European trip, it will have a loo.

> I think a lot of first time vaners will also decide that the park in a lay by life isnt for them. The ground isnt level enough so their G&Ts dont sit level in the glass. Also they will decide there aren't enough people there to show their expensive toy off to.

And not to mention if the police come knocking and you are both pissed in the van in a layby, good luck explaining that away.

> Sad to see that the campsite in Braithwaite has been converted to serviced pitches for vans and caravans only. No more tents as far as I can see. Pity, and I bet it will cost a packet for a van pitch now.

I understand it it's caravan club owned now so you can't even book without being a member

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 Spanish Jack 28 Aug 2020
In reply to Red Rover:

This avalanche effect of social media effects everything. Climbing exploding in popularity, even more so van conversions. It's a weird time we are living in. Peak humanity.

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 Spanish Jack 28 Aug 2020
In reply to cathsullivan:

It's not only the UK it's a global phenomenon.

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 Mowglee 28 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

This advertorial backfired a bit, eh?

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In reply to Emilio Bachini:

My point is that publicising this kind of lifestyle is going to do nothing but get the authorities to come down hard on those that do this (including the article authors!)! What don't you understand about that? An example of where the myopic outlook presented by  this article is heading is that recent spates of people going to traditionally quiet beauty spots around Sheffield and then publicly sharing them all over the Internet has meant that those spots are now either banned/have security guards or are too crowded to be beauty spots anymore! Folk have even been living in vans at honeypot venues and pissing off locals & climbers alike so if we want to retain access and be able to do this kind of thing (in moderation as many people have been doing for years) then being quiet, respectful and not shouting about it all over the bloody Internet seems completely reasonable... But if you think it's fine then you keep thinking that... I'll keep thinking you're wrong!

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 flaneur 28 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Dear Charlie and Dale, as Portland regulars you’ll be aware the Cheyne Wears parking has been closed because #vanshitters. I have unfollowed you on Instagram.  

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 peppermill 28 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Lovely conversion, far better than I could do myself, and certainly nicer than the one I used to have.

However a bright yellow, long wheelbase sprinter combined with an article shouting about it from the rooftops is hardly helpful at the moment, as others may have pointed out...

All I could think of was the bright yellow Range Rover from "Layer Cake". What happened to keeping things under the radar?

Post edited at 11:08
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 bbbben 28 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Probably reflecting the sentiment of others - it's difficult to find a place for van life in the UK right now, especially without a toilet! Showing the van parked up in Langdale isn't great either. "Parking in campervans and motorhomes is not considered wild camping" as per https://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting/where-to-stay/wild-camping which carries on to state the only place for the like are campsites, given that it is illegal elsewhere. Given the number of 'vans on the road now I'm inclined to agree with this. Like all these things, when only a few partake the impact is generally low, the individuals involved are respectful of the environment and hence it takes place "under the radar". It's definitely on the radar now!

I don't agree with the sentiment of some that it is a transient issue. Yes, ok, not many are going to Spain or wherever but just look at what promotion of the Highland 500 has done in Scotland. Pre covid, littering etc was already becoming a big issue along with parking in passing places and causes blocks etc on narrow roads. 

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 Jon Greengrass 28 Aug 2020
In reply to Presley Whippet:

> Really poorly timed article. What were you thinking? 


Clickbait = advertising revenue

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 Wainers44 28 Aug 2020
In reply to Michael Hood:

> I know you're not doing this but you can hardly blame the site owner using the current situation to their advantage to maximise their income; especially since they'll have missed income from April & May.

Agree totally.  They have to do what's best for their business.  Still a bit a shame though. Never stayed there but it always looked a lively and friendly place.

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In reply to cathsullivan:

> Agree wholeheartedly with the negative responses here. Would prefer to see a UKC article that really explores and critically addresses the genuine issues associated with the (understandable) increase of roadside dossing in the UK. 

Nail on head Cath!

When I saw a picture of I van I thought that's what it would be so was surprised to read the text..... what were they thinking?

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 Mike505 28 Aug 2020
In reply to Red Rover:

I don't know about that, though ours gets used alot, it's also about the flexibility and spontineity. If i lived closer to a climbing area I probably wouldn't have one. Being a member of the CC and FRCC with hut use is probably cheaper more social option though.

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 Emilio Bachini 28 Aug 2020
In reply to flaneur:

#problemsolved

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In reply to flaneur:

>  you’ll be aware the Cheyne Wears parking has been closed because #vanshitters.

I'm now going to have to go and see if anyone has used that tag on Insta... Although I fear the results if they have.

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In reply to UKC Articles:

It's suprising how quickly things can change, if I'd read this article a year or two ago, I would have thought "great, sounds fantastic and good job on the conversion"

I'm sure there are ways of doing the van life responsibly and I imagine most do, and I can imagine if you go away out of season and avaoid the honey pots you can probably still do it without pissing people off. 

But publicising "apps such as park4night that you can use to find suitable spots to sleep" is not helpful. These sites seem to be herding people to gather in a few spots. The Pembrokeshire national park free parking area above skrinkle haven has for years had a sign saying no overnight parking. The occassional van ignoring that and staying there didn't seem to be a problem, and because the occassional van didn't cause a problem no one ever came round to check/enforce.

Because of the the van parking websites, and peoples instagram feeds there is now on a bank holiday weekend 15 vans parked up, with toilet paper in the bushes and on one occassion this year a turd and paper actually right on the coast path To be fair this could have been left by a day tripper who's kid was desperate, but when there are a cluster of vans in the nearby carpark, a lot of which obvioulsy haven't got toilets, most people assume it is them

As I work locally I talk to a lot of these (mainly very nice and quite reasonable) people and when  I point to the small sign saying that overnight parking is not allowed I have often been told, "but this spot is on one of the van websites"

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 tehmarks 28 Aug 2020
In reply to webbo:

What on Earth do you cook in your kitchen that smells so offensive? I've lived in studio flats, the back of a 40' lorry trailer converted into four rooms (a circus special), two narrowboats and spent several months in one go in my tent. I can't say that I've ever been bothered by any smells. Maybe you need to wash your dishes more often/sort your own personal admin out?

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 tehmarks 28 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

To the article: I live a fairly nomadic life and absolutely support the concept in principle - but thanks to the wonders of Instagram, hashtags and hipsters, people living in vans in the UK are causing chaos here, there and everywhere.

Passing places are provided for passing, not for parking some ridiculous wheelbase behemoth in them. Bury your shit...next to the parking spot scored of others are going to use thanks to apps like park4night? Don't park in sensitive areas...like Langdale? It's hard to get behind an article so full of contradictions.

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 Red Rover 28 Aug 2020
In reply to tehmarks:

I think it's less of an article and more of an advert.

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 Emilio Bachini 28 Aug 2020
In reply to Duncan Disorderly:

I think we're a tad past being quiet about it. Good luck telling people they either can't go places, can't talk or share their experiences. Something needs to change, yes, absolutely but it's not going to involve going back to the days gone by. Legislation and mentalities need to change, because frankly people aren't going to stop doing what they want to. 

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 webbo 28 Aug 2020
In reply to tehmarks:

> What on Earth do you cook in your kitchen that smells so offensive? I've lived in studio flats, the back of a 40' lorry trailer converted into four rooms (a circus special), two narrowboats and spent several months in one go in my tent. I can't say that I've ever been bothered by any smells. Maybe you need to wash your dishes more often/sort your own personal admin out?

I never been that fond of smelling like my last meal. I’m puzzled why I would need to wash my dishes more often or what sorting my own personal admin has to do with it.

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In reply to Emilio Bachini:

> I think we're a tad past being quiet about it. Good luck telling people they either can't go places, can't talk or share their experiences. Something needs to change, yes, absolutely but it's not going to involve going back to the days gone by. Legislation and mentalities need to change, because frankly people aren't going to stop doing what they want to. 


All well and good but you are missing the point. People are objecting to an unquestioning advertorial riddled with contradictions and 'advice' likely to make the situation worse.

It's a missed opportunity for a balanced article on the issue.

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 peppermill 28 Aug 2020
In reply to Red Rover:

> I think it's less of an article and more of an advert.

When I saw the van itself and the locations photographed part of me thought UKC had gone "Screw it, let's bam everyone up" after some of the recent van threads.

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In reply to Mike Stretford:

> All well and good but you are missing the point. People are objecting to an unquestioning advertorial riddled with contradictions and 'advice' likely to make the situation worse.

Indeed

The blog advises parking along the shore of waswater, which is already one of the best know and overused "wild"camping spots and the langdale valley.

Or around elterwater  in a "lay-by that make a perfect overnight spot with an incredible view" never mind that the huge van parked in the layby is spoiling the view for other people at sunset and sunrise.

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 tehmarks 28 Aug 2020
In reply to webbo:

Because I can't say I've ever smelt like my last meal, no matter how large, small, open plan or divided my living space is. I have no idea what you're talking about, to be quite honest.

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 Reach>Talent 28 Aug 2020
In reply to tehmarks:

Because I can't say I've ever smelt like my last meal

May I offer my personal recipe for baked Camembert for 1, which may enable you to achieve this?

Take 1 camembert, 2 good sized sprigs of rosemary and 4-6 cloves of garlic. Poke holes in the camembert, stuff with sliced garlic and sprigs of rosemary then bake until it tries to escape. Eat with crusty bread and avoid enclosed spaces for 24-36 hours. 

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 Ridge 28 Aug 2020
In reply to Reach>Talent:

> Because I can't say I've ever smelt like my last meal

> May I offer my personal recipe for baked Camembert for 1, which may enable you to achieve this?

> Take 1 camembert, 2 good sized sprigs of rosemary and 4-6 cloves of garlic. Poke holes in the camembert, stuff with sliced garlic and sprigs of rosemary then bake until it tries to escape. Eat with crusty bread and avoid enclosed spaces for 24-36 hours. 

I'm having that tonight. Mrs Ridge is joining me so we can stink together!

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 Mike505 28 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

And for reference, in the past the ODG in Langdale have let us stay in their car park, in exchange for couple of pints and a small donation to Mountain Rescue. The same goes for a few pubs around the peak, added benefits of: staying out of folks way,
access to toilets and did I mention beer?

Still cheaper than some rip off campsites and a lot more socially responsible.

Though if i was staying in Langdale I'd probably book into thr FRCC hut, warm welcoming and cheaper than fuel for the van.

Post edited at 16:48
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 Ciro 28 Aug 2020
In reply to turtlespit:

My first van cost about 7000 to buy and fit out, spent 5 years living in it, total living expenses around £5k/annum, works out at about £17 / night - food, board, climbing gear, transport, repairs, the works.

Hard to think of a cheaper way to live in comfort.

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 Ridge 28 Aug 2020
In reply to Red Rover:

> Once you let roadside shitting and littering get established then you will see the line of litter and crap getting higher and higher up into the hills as the lack of respect is normalised. And the freedoms we have enjoyed responsibly for years may be gradually removed by law makers and councils as more and more people take the piss.

^This

Don't get me wrong, I think the van in the article is great, and in an ideal world it would be a fun thing to have.

Unfortunately this isn't an ideal world, we're a country with a large population and very little open space to accomodate thousands of vans,  or 'wild shitters' and their discarded tents and BBQs. 

The majority of van owners are great, but increasing numbers are becoming an issue as they monopolise roadside parking and laybys.

Quite a few places locally have now had no overnight parking restrictions put in place as people started pitching up in converted busses with trailers and then setting up gennies running overnight. This pissed off the locals who have this at the ends of their gardens and has spoilt it for more respectful users.

Post edited at 17:01
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 Elyse Farhi 28 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

It is worth discussing the long term implications for access and van usage, with campervans becoming more popular, and the negative effects becoming more visible. 

In New Zealand we have rules about using certified self contained campers in most areas.  One of the main requirements is having a loo of some kind.  This is doesn't solve all the problems.  It obviously can't be policed all the time.  But it does shock me a bit that this isn't a basic requirement to reclassify a panel van to a campervan in the UK.  If the law doesn't require it then do we really expect people to install them at the added cost and sacrifice of space?  We have been converting a camper for about a year now, and it is one of the last things on the list to sort out because of this. 

The UK is also incredibly inhospitable towards anyone wanting to spend time in nice locations.  I was really surprised at the lack of public toilets anywhere when I first moved here.  Is this to prevent travellers creating problems in beauty spots? Or prevent giving doggers a place to bang eachother? Is that the priority? No wonder some people are pooing all over the place, there's no effing toilets! Anywhere! Why have people been okay with this? 

You can hike for ages and still often find a long drop waiting for you in NZ.  With a population the size of the UK, and the limited amount of wilderness here why is there not more infrastructure to support people going out and enjoying it?  People have to wee and poo, why are we not making this okay?  There is better infrastructure for toilets on motorways, then for the minimal amount of wilderness we have.

I know I've only talked about the poo, but that does seem to be the sticking topic. Van ownership needs to be taken seriously, as Dale and Charlie have mentioned in their article.  But to blame all negative impacts on van owners/wild campers, rather than the lack of infrastructure provided to enjoy the wilderness is missing the point a bit.

I’m sure that campers/ wild camping will be the first thing to be banned before the thought of adding public toilets anywhere is considered.

Post edited at 17:10
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 Mike505 28 Aug 2020
In reply to Elyse Farhi:

You raise some good point but public toilets in the UK are a health hazard in themselves.

Post edited at 17:25
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 DalesClimber 28 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

The van is lovely (albeit enormous!), but the article is blatant advertorial, and a lot of the content is inappropriate.

The "Climbing Van" Facebook page and website are even worse though.... They've got a Facebook post about burying poo near what appears to be that layby in Langdale - i.e. no more than a short distance from the road! Their recommendations for wild camp spots all seem to be tiny laybys/passing spaces which are right on the road as well, and all in fairly sensitive areas.

I'm a van owner, but I agree that these guys are part of the problem. There's no reason to be burying your shit all over the countryside, or to park in places where you are so visible and likely to be an obstruction to others. It's unfortunate that all van owners (including those who try to be responsible rather than taking the piss) will probably end up being tarred with the same brush as these types.

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 tehmarks 28 Aug 2020
In reply to Reach>Talent:

Damn it, my oven is broken...

(It legitimately is, otherwise I'd be seriously considering that recipe! For French pong though, can I raise you a raclette? That takes traditional French cheese dishes to a whole new level)

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No one seems to have drawn attention to this page yet:

https://www.climbingvan.co.uk/post/5-amazing-van-spots-in-the-lake-district

Fifteen grand they spent on the van. Fifteen thousand pounds. And then "We had driven towards Rydal water hoping to find a spot for the night, but all of the main roads didn't have any lay-bys, and all of the car parks were very expensive. We kept driving past Grasmere and onto some much smaller roads back towards Ambleside when we stumbled on this perfect little spot."

Incidentally, I'd like to start a caption contest: caption all the photos on the linked page. I'd start, but mine is the same for all of them, only has 4 letters, and would be moderated.

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In reply to Reach>Talent:

I would suggest wrapping in pizza dough before putting in the oven!

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 Red Rover 28 Aug 2020
In reply to Elyse Farhi:

You are right, public infrastructure in the UK countryside barely exists. But people should behave according to what does exist. #vanlifers have to take resonpsibility for themselves; you can't just shit everywhere and blame it on the state. There is no bin on top of ben nevis but that means it is still up to me not to litter there.

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 Mike505 28 Aug 2020
In reply to Longsufferingropeholder:

Also note the picture of pointless posing on the van roof, presumably taken by a drone? I'm not too fussed about the drone as long as noboday was around to be annoyed by it.

But the hole concept is of our life style being packaged up and sold as a comodity, just something else to be consumed and then cast aside. It feels like a corruption of what could be a minamilist, cheap and responsible lifestyle.

Rant over (for now).

Post edited at 17:37
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"We wanted to share 5 of our favourite camper van park ups, so you can enjoy the beautiful views too."

We all were, until some dick parked that abomination in front of it.

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 Reach>Talent 28 Aug 2020
In reply to JoshOvki:

> I would suggest wrapping in pizza dough before putting in the oven!

You sir are a genius.

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In reply to Mike505:

> And for reference, in the past the ODG in Langdale have let us stay in their car park, in exchange for couple of pints and a small donation to Mountain Rescue.

I think I remember this being discussed in relation to people sleeping in cars, but what's the legal situation for being in a motor vehicle of any type, in possession of the keys when you've drunk enough to be over the limit?

I drive past people sitting outside the vans in the laybys below, and up near the top of, Stanage regularly. In the summer I saw people sitting outside their vans, in one case round a brazier, enjoying some beers. It looked quite pleasant beyond the fact you're in lay-by which is a bit weird to the wild camper in me. But could the police breathalyze you and charge you with something? Is drink driving only a crime if you are stopped driving? Or is being over the limit whilst you are with a static vehicle that you have the keys for enough?

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 WVRox 28 Aug 2020
In reply to Longsufferingropeholder:

> No one seems to have drawn attention to this page yet:

> Fifteen grand they spent on the van. Fifteen thousand pounds. And then "We had driven towards Rydal water hoping to find a spot for the night, but all of the main roads didn't have any lay-bys, and all of the car parks were very expensive. We kept driving past Grasmere and onto some much smaller roads back towards Ambleside when we stumbled on this perfect little spot."

FFS.......these guys are taking the pi**. This is the little Lake district, an hour from Manchester, a fabulously lovely but fragile and 'loved to death' environment. Go to the Aussie outback....go to Canada.....just go... or, if you must  bring that eyesore van here, stay on one of the many campsites, contribute to the local economy and stop destroying this  national park for everyone else 

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In reply to Longsufferingropeholder:

> No one seems to have drawn attention to this page yet:

It also includes this (what I seriously hope is a) typo! "if you don't have a toilet it's important to dig a hole when you go to the toilet at least 15cm deep and at least 50cm away from any water source."

I think 50 mtrs is the standard advice! 

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In reply to TobyA:

Also "There are a lot of people heading out to these remote areas who are not treating them with the respect that they deserve."

This is the first time I've seen one of those people place an ad to brag about it.
When #vanwankers are banned (or existing restrictions enforced), and they will be, this blog and their instagram means nobody will need to ask why.

Mike505: Of course they have a drone. There's a video on insta of them botheirng sheep with it.

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 Mike505 28 Aug 2020
In reply to TobyA:

I'm not sure on the laws tbh, when using ours one of is is generally legal to drive. 

Though I had a teacher years ago who lost his licence, the story was he was in the back of his motorhome at the time, but i wouldn't be suprised if it was a little more serious.

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 nikoid 28 Aug 2020
In reply to Longsufferingropeholder:

> "We wanted to share 5 of our favourite camper van park ups, so you can enjoy the beautiful views too."

> We all were, until some dick parked that abomination in front of it.

Your post was one of those where I find myself stabbing furiously at the "like" button, in the hope I can register more than one. Alas you'll have to make do with one!

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 ollie_e 28 Aug 2020

All of this begs the question of why this lifestyle / pastime is actually causing an issue, in comparison to Europe where campervans are commonplace.

I’m not convinced lack of space is the issue...or at least, is the issue actually ‘lack of public / state owned’ space, as opposed to their physically being too little space (I am sure there are examples where this doesn’t quite ring true, but bear with me).

Purely on my own anecdotal experience, the UK doesn’t seem to have any state / government owned land, which could be used to accommodate a transient lifestyle.  However in New Zealand, they have DoC (department of conservation) sites across New Zealand, where loads of people holiday in campervans, set aside specifically for tourists to camp for free (or at minimal cost).  They’re all equipped with toilets so you don’t have to buy a coffee or dig a hole to fulfil your most basic of human needs...and unsurprisingly there doesn’t seem like much of a fly-pooing issue in NZ.

 If the UK government had the power to set something like this up, surely its an easy fix, as most people in vans (speaking for myself here too) could care less about a view and just want somewhere to crash for the night and not be bothered by pissed off locals.

So why don’t we have this? With reference to recent surprising discussions on here about how all of Portland was actually owned by a quarrying company, the majority of land in UK seems to be owned by someone (ie a private individual / organisation).  Wherever you park you are almost certainly on someone elses (other than the state’s) property.  

So my question is, and I don’t know the answer, in those countries where van life is tolerated, France and Spain being good examples, is there a ‘benevolent’ state at play, making overnight parking available?  

And if there is a benevolent state at play outside of the UK, perhaps instead of getting worked up about the symptom of the problem (vans) maybe answer is in forcing the government to legislate and force private individuals or companies banking land to give it up and put it to good use?

The above of course won’t be this government’s instinctual response, as seen in recent attempts to criminalise trespass.  They will always support the 1% and while vans lining the pass at the weekend is f*cking annoying, remember that the inevitable heavy handed legislation to deal with it will be just another step down the road of further erosion of your most basic civil liberties...

Post edited at 19:13
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 Emilio Bachini 28 Aug 2020
In reply to flaneur:

Can I also point out that they've published on multiple occasions about their views on lack of toilet and leave no trace approach. 

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In reply to nikoid:

> Your post was one of those where I find myself stabbing furiously at the "like" button, in the hope I can register more than one.

Although one wonders were he parks his car when he visits the Lakes? I've got a car, not a van, but I've left it parked by the road overnight in Cockley Beck, Glenridding, and various places around Kinder in the last year. I've not slept in it, but rather in a tent up the hill, but I'm afraid I didn't consider if the parked car spoilt the view for passerbys. 

Do you camp in the hills and if so where do you park when you do? I'm not sure those of us who wild camp, and drive to wherever we are going, have much of leg to stand on in criticizing van dwellers. Perhaps we have some moral superiority for taking our dumps on the fellside rather than by the roadside? But I guess it's not much. 

Edit: oh and a carpark not far from High Cup Nick just the other week too.

Post edited at 19:24
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In reply to TobyA:

Since you ask: huts, campsites and occasionally pub/hotel.

My car isn't 22ft long and bright yellow.

Post edited at 19:34
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 webbo 28 Aug 2020
In reply to tehmarks:

> Because I can't say I've ever smelt like my last meal, no matter how large, small, open plan or divided my living space is. I have no idea what you're talking about, to be quite honest.

You have never been for an Indian meal and next day picked your clothes up which reek of curry or smelt cooking fat on someone you have stood next to in a confined space. I once went sailing off the west coast of Scotland which meant sleeping in the galley. However sleeping with smell of cooking was not for me I slept on deck. Maybe I have too keen sense of smell, probably as a result of years visiting people whose homes smelt of tobacco and cooking fat. 

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In reply to UKC Articles:

Your £15k campervan is the equivalent of spending every Saturday night for 3 years in a £100 a night hotel or approaching 7 years accomodation in a CC hut. 

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 red1200 28 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Sorry but that van is an eyesore, who wants to see a bright yellow long wheelbase van parked up in that beautiful scenery. 

As Charlie is a freelance photographer (according to the about us bit on the blog) did she not consider the visual impact of it.... Maybe she did and perhaps it's fine for showing off on your blog or instagram, but she obviously doesn't care about anyone elses appreciation of the view.

But hey, you've got the view you want from your bright yellow van door, and you'll be there as blot on the landscape for the whole sunset and sunrise, but it's vanlife and instagramming so it's ok and sod everyone else?

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In reply to red1200:

They've achieved one thing I never thought possible though; they appear to have united UKC...

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 Mike505 28 Aug 2020
In reply to Presley Whippet:

It'd put me up in our club's hut, with log burner, library.... And a toilet, for 3000 nights!

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 kevin stephens 28 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

I’m reading this sat in our LWB VW Transporter camper with all mod cons including dedicated WC compartment with cassette loo parked in a campsite and two sea kayaks on top wondering how these self proclaimed experts could spend a year designing conversation of a larger Sprinter van without managing to include a toilet? Instead relying on shitting “responsibly” in the Woods. Having said that there’s some nice tips as I’m planning converting a larger van for longer very responsible trips

Post edited at 21:07
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In reply to Presley Whippet:

Here is where the likes/dislikes fall down, currently 7/4. It's maths! One number divided by another. Liking or disliking the outcome has no effect. 

Post edited at 21:33
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 jamieevans 28 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Dirtbag lifestyle is fine.

If you're a Dirtbag .

An instructor nomad for instance, who punts around between varies gigs with full kit and uses the facilities in cafes, climbing walls etc.

If you live in a house and use a van a handful of times a year though.

It's an extravagance. A toy. 

The only thing you add to the local economy in the area you visit is particulates. 

The next logical step though- the positive one - is the climbing exodus.

Only need to be in the city twice a week post lockdown.

So let's move to Bristol /Sheffield /Manchester/ Glasgow.

I live in one of those and most of my cragging is done via a £100 bicycle.

Longer distance trips could be done sharing a car club electric vehicle off the street.

And with the exodus comes the city money, into the rural economy. 

Covid and climate mean we have to travel less. 

So put yourself in the centre of your map of prorities - not 200 miles away.   As one comment put it about Langdale - "one hour from Manchester"!! 

Take ownership of what you love, don't "raid" it. 

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In reply to UKC Articles:

I'm hoping to submit a series of articles to UKC shortly, which will compose of a number of inspiring landscape shots of the north west of Scotland centrally featuring a layby occupied by heavy plant machinery. Article 1: Assynt and Cement Mixers.

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 lizard-16-07 29 Aug 2020
In reply to Longsufferingropeholder:

> No one seems to have drawn attention to this page yet:

I take real issue with the last part of that article (as well as all of it in general) "Wild camping in a camper van"....an oxymoron if ever there was one. There seems to be a growing perception that wild camping basically means camping anywhere you like! So frustrating. You cannot wild camp in a van, you're just parking, somewhere that people will potentially find very annoying. Circling the north face car park at early o'clock to find it rammed with massive camper vans springs to mind. Some might be climbing, but extremely doubtful that all will be.

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 TechnoJim 29 Aug 2020
In reply to planetmarshall:

Scope for a 2021 calendar perhaps? 

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 duncan 29 Aug 2020
In reply to Emilio Bachini:

> Can I also point out that they've published on multiple occasions about their views on lack of toilet and leave no trace approach. 


They have also publicised the joys of shitting in the woods. It is particularly inexcusable somewhere semi-urban like Portland. The reason for the loss of the parking and the strained relations with locals is due to people like them. 

In reply to TobyA:

#vanshitters appears to be previously unused. Let’s get it trending! 

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 DalesClimber 29 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

I messaged the Climbing Van Facebook page to say pretty much what I said above re: burying shit near the roadside. Rather than attempting to explain or justify their decision to promote using land near laybys as a toilet, they've just blocked me.

If someone isn't able to engage in dialogue to justify a controversial decision, they definitely shouldn't be doing it in the first place.

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 alastairmac1 29 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Great....just what we need. Encouraging even more people in converted vans to block up our roads, set up camp in every lay by ( and sometimes passing places) overload fragile infrastructure and pollute our wild places. Time for a tourist tax on camper vans.

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In reply to Longsufferingropeholder:

Have you never parked by the side of the road somewhere and gone off into the hills to wild camp? If not then a) well done, and b) I suggest giving it a go some time - the wild camping in the hills, not the parking by the side of the road bit, although the former often requires the latter.

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 jack_44 29 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Yet another rubbish and very concerning article from UKC. Glad I haven't "become a supporter". Hope the author's Instagram friend count went up though.

So much of the highlands have become theme parks full of campervans this year and this sort of advert prompts more and more people to park discrete giant vans and sh*t next to the car park. Very glad it has received the negative comments it has.

Maybe we could see more and more articles and posts (not just a small paragraph at the end) that look at how to visit places in as discrete a way as possible. And also how to support the local economy. While folk seem happy to spend thousands of pounds on kitting out their van and then not spending a penny apart from the big Tesco shop and the petrol station. As rural tourism increases, maybe we should think how we can help a local economy. Outline local accommodation options, local shops and cafe's etc. 

I view sustainability in the outdoors as so important that it should be one of the main talking points. Not even to mention the carbon footprint of a massive diesel van! 

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In reply to TobyA:

No. Made vague plans to a few times but never have. Usually just with the aim of getting 2 days climbing out of a long walk in, but the thought of carrying a full mountain crag rack AND tenting gear, and the guarantee of other climbers being there, and being fortune to have access to a number of huts always makes it hard to commit. I can see the appeal though. 

It's moot, but places I've thought about it have all been a walk from a hut or p&d.

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In reply to TobyA:

How did we get here anyway? I'm not anti parking in a layby. Overnighting in a 22ft monstrosity in the middle of that photo of wasdale however.... That's a pretty clear "I am not thinking about anybody else".

Post edited at 16:06
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 TMM 29 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

I think publishing this article shows a real error of judgement by the UKC editorial team. I really hope they reflect on the comments that have been left.

This highly public advocacy for 'vanlife' undermines the climbing community and the love that most of us have for wild places and the communities located there.

Genuinely surprised and disappointed to see this published here.

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 Sean_J 29 Aug 2020
In reply to TMM:

By publishing this article, UKC will get more site visits from aspiring #vantwats, more ad views/clicks and maybe a few new user registrations too. Gotta pay those bills, man!

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 Blanche DuBois 29 Aug 2020
In reply to Sean_J:

> By publishing this article, UKC will get more site visits from aspiring #vantwats, more ad views/clicks and maybe a few new user registrations too. Gotta pay those bills, man!

On the minus side, might get less visits from actually realised #elderlywrinklytwats.  Swings and roundabouts.  

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 Sean_J 29 Aug 2020
In reply to Blanche DuBois:

Yeah but they're all tightwads and don't click on the ads anyway

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In reply to UKC Articles:

UKC must have known this article would get the reaction it has. It makes me wonder whether it was deliberate.

While I agree that, if in fact published naively, it was probably an error of judgment, I am uneasy about some of the demonisation of van owners. The issue is the number of them in certain places at certain times, not vans as such. 

What is next for this treatment? Anything that might encourage car use (let alone flying)? In other words, most stuff about climbing?

Post edited at 20:30
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In reply to Presley Whippet:

> Your £15k campervan is the equivalent of spending every Saturday night for 3 years in a £100 a night hotel or approaching 7 years accomodation in a CC hut. 

Which entirely misses the point.

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In reply to lizard-16-07:

> I take real issue with the last part of that article (as well as all of it in general) "Wild camping in a camper van"....an oxymoron if ever there was one. 

Sorry, but the usage to mean simply not in an official campsite was around when I was a child fifty years ago. The more recent appropriation (let alone the horrible single word "wildcamp") doesn't have a monopoly. 

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In reply to Longsufferingropeholder:

> Fifteen grand they spent on the van. Fifteen thousand pounds. 

But a lot of people spend that much on a car that isn't even big enough to doss in.

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 peppermill 30 Aug 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> While I agree that, if in fact published naively, it was probably an error of judgment, I am uneasy about some of the demonisation of van owners. The issue is the number of them in certain places at certain times, not vans as such. 

Basically it's this timing (I think) that has wound everyone up so much. Certainly what made me post. The recent van problems highlighted on other threads combined with the style of the article and in particular the blog. Comes across as completely oblivious and rather desperate to be the centre of attention.

As others have said a couple of years ago it may have got a very different reaction.

Not exactly helpful to responsible van owners that try and disappear before anyone notices too much, when pictures of a 20ft bright yellow sprinter parked up in places where van camping is a bit frowned upon anyway are plastered all over the internet, along with telling everyone where the quiet van spots are. 

Post edited at 05:51
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In reply to peppermill:

> Basically it's this timing (I think) that has wound everyone up so much. Certainly what made me post. The recent van problems highlighted on other threads combined with the style of the article and in particular the blog. Comes across as completely oblivious and rather desperate to be the centre of attention.

Oh I agree entirely with all that. The article is terrible on several levels. I just don't like the way all van owners are getting tarred with the same brush by some (I'm not a van owner as such but I regularly doss in my car roadside). Amusingly, while I regularly hear car owners decrying van owners, I then also hear van owners decrying motorhome owners (though I'm not sure where the line lies in either distinction).

Post edited at 07:12
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 Lankyman 30 Aug 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> (I'm not a van owner as such but I regularly doss in my car roadside).

Come on, Robert. Just admit it. You heard about this fantastic route round quiet and peaceful roads up the top end of Scotland so hired a motorhome and decided to have an exclusive getaway. You're getting a great internet connection from that lay-by on the edge of Durness.

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 TMM 30 Aug 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Oh I agree entirely with all that. The article is terrible on several levels. I just don't like the way all van owners are getting tarred with the same brush by some (I'm not a van owner as such but I regularly doss in my car roadside). Amusingly, while I regularly hear car owners decrying van owners, I then also hear van owners decrying motorhome owners (though I'm not sure where the line lies in either distinction).

I am not against people discreetly using their vehicles to doss in. I am however absolutely against the promotion of this lifestyle via social media which serves to increase its popularity at time when it has already caused bad feeling in the communities where it takes place.

The article and the blog it links to are particularly repellent given the visually highly intrusive nature of vehicle used, the inaccurate and reckless advice regarding human waste disposal and the glamorising of a lifestyle that contributes very little to local communities and disproportionately impacts on the enjoyment of the outdoors for many others.

I am well aware that climbers are far from blameless with our erosion, noise pollution and reliance on carbon based travel but to have an article that promotes some of the worst aspects of this seems tone deaf.

Additionally I suspect that this kind of promotion will only speed up efforts by local councils and communities to seek legislation to remove rights to stay overnight in vehicles or try to restrict overnight parking to specific car parks to try and control the problem.

Post edited at 07:58
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In reply to Lankyman:

> Come on, Robert. Just admit it. You heard about this fantastic route round quiet and peaceful roads up the top end of Scotland so hired a motorhome and decided to have an exclusive getaway. You're getting a great internet connection from that lay-by on the edge of Durness.

Actually the post you replied to was written while having coffee while still in my sleeping bag in the back of my car by the side of the road at the very north end of Skye with a nice view out to Harris🙂. Yes, good 4G. Great day at Kilt Rock yesterday. Just off to find somewhere for a responsible dump on the way to the Cuillin🙂.

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In reply to TMM:

I agree with everything you say, but I think some degree of regulation might not just be inevitable but desirable in some places at some times. And with that, if local communities want to benefit from van users, they will need to provide basic infrastructure for them (ie somewhere pleasant to park at a reasonable price with waste disposal). Having said that, I don't think I actually feel any obligation to contribute economically locally to the places I go in this country (I pay my taxes, I use the roads) - a bit different abroad though in developing countries.

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 Lankyman 30 Aug 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Actually the post you replied to was written while having coffee while still in my sleeping bag in the back of my car by the side of the road at the very north end of Skye with a nice view out to Harris🙂. Yes, good 4G. Great day at Kilt Rock yesterday. Just off to find somewhere for a responsible dump on the way to the Cuillin🙂.


Living the dream!

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In reply to UKC Articles:

It could be argued that "car dossing" or wild parking. has a greater impact than campervan/motor home use:

Almost certainly wild pooing.

Cooking will be conducted outside of the vehicle, perhaps even using one of those dreadful disposable Barbeques. This leads to a greater chance of wild fires

If we continue this discussion on a hill side, is it wild rowing? 

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 DalesClimber 30 Aug 2020
In reply to Presley Whippet:

Not having a toilet in your car/van doesn't mean that there has to be wild pooing.... In the years we've had our (toilet-less) van, we have never pooed anywhere other than a public toilet when using it. Before the van, we used to doss in the car occasionally, and did the same.

It's not so much about whether the vehicle has a toilet - its about whether the owner is responsible about their waste. Having said that, I'm not sure there's any excuse for not including a toilet when the van in question is as big as that one!

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In reply to DalesClimber:

It is all about responsibility. No toilet doesn't mean you will but it increases the probability. 

Given current circumstances increased numbers, covid risk etc £100 or so spent on a portapotti and a toilet tent is a wise investment. 

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In reply to Robert Durran:

> While I agree that, if in fact published naively, it was probably an error of judgment, I am uneasy about some of the demonisation of van owners. 

I don't think we're demonising van owners, just dickheads. As is the case with most of the demonising that goes on round here, cyclists, motorists, walkers, runners, whatever, it's those that happen to be selfish knobs that everyone rallies against, not the group as a whole. 

If nobody ever sees your van or your litter or your turds then nobody will get upset. If you place an ad explaining how to do all the things that piss folk off, this is what you get. 

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 S Andrew 30 Aug 2020

> If nobody ever sees your van or your litter or your turds then nobody will get upset.

But they might get Giardia.

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In reply to ollie_e:

Camper van's are more common in Europe but it's starting to become an issue here as well, for the same reason, the sheer numbers and the main grip toileting. On the way to a local crag this summer I would regularly see 15-20 van all summer parked near the crag and most of them didn't look like they would have had a toilet in them (i may be wrong) and this isn't a one off area, any small road or discrete parking had van in over summer. If you dare venture just of the path or road near these spots its a sea of toilet paper and crap. 

I don't really have an answer, I like many climber have slept in cars and vans and can see why people enjoy that experience, but like many on here just feel now the numbers doing it are not sustainable.

One thing I do find interesting is some of the arguments around usage, I have heard a lot of camper van owners saying we are coming any way, if you don't like it give us free or cheap facilitates, which I kind of agree with. But we do have a local facility, but because of the fact its in a town and ugly it hardly gets used, plus it would never hold the numbers of van users that come here.

On the flip side I have heard locals say they could pay for a bigger or more facility's out of their tax's OR they could campaign to local authorities to pass by-laws to ban overnight parking/camping and for the police to enforce it and start gating some of the roads/track capers are using (this has already happen in some places), quite a lot prefer the later.

For me I think its better for both sides to talk and come up with a mix of solicitations, facility's are available cheaply for vans with out toilets, anyone outside these facility has to have a toilet (by law and enforced), and a code of conduct/ethics for van users about numbers at venues and parking etc and this should be enforced by all,  like climbing ethics.

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 Doug 30 Aug 2020
In reply to ecrinscollective:

Similar here even though there is a very cheap site with facilities in the next village some 5 km away. A popular spot is at the end of our road on a plateau above the village, with most vans/camping cars parking next to the prominent sign saying overnight parking is forbidden.  I imagine its just a question of time before the gendarmerie start paying regular visits.

But I suspect its less of a problem here than chez vous as here its mostly 'camping cars' rather than converted vans & more of them seem to have toilets. Also difficult to know how much of the merde, paper etc comes from campers & how much from those picnicking.

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 WVRox 30 Aug 2020
In reply to ecrinscollective:

We've taken our van all over the UK and Europe. We've stayed in some fabulous camp sites in the UK and never once felt it appropriate to pull up in some car park and stay there, pretending we're somehow living the dream, and getting one over the system by staying for free. I think the argument comparing the cost of a van with the cost of hotels is irrelevant, but to say that if you can afford a £15k van, you can bloody well afford the National Trust campsite fees in Langdale is spot on.

The same goes for any popular area of Europe. Pay up  - the fees at municipal sites are peanuts. 

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 Doug 30 Aug 2020
In reply to WVRox:

out of interest I've just checked the prices for some local sites, the one I was thinking about above is €11 per 24 hours, another slightly further away is €4 per 24 hours.

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In reply to UKC Articles:

Staying out in the van tonight, not at a campsite!! 

Instead we popped into a pub asked if we can stay the night in the van if we come in and have dinner and a few beers. They are going to leave the toilet block open for us too, very nice of them.

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 kevin stephens 30 Aug 2020
In reply to JoshOvki:

Yes we often do this, really useful for stop overs on long trips

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In reply to kevin stephens:

Still getting down votes! I am fairly sure we have checked all the boxes for doing stuff that doesn't annoy people.

  • Get permission - check
  • Find a hygienic way to get rid of waste - check
  • Contributing to local economy - check
  • Small van (fits in a parking space) - check

Just can't win with some people.

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 mysterion 30 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Needs rotating flashers

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 kevin stephens 30 Aug 2020
In reply to JoshOvki:

Well I guess there must be a good 3G signal at the bottom of Raven Tor this evening 

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 DerwentDiluted 30 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Well, if I see that great custard bus in the wilds I'll be sure that any alfresco dump I am forced to make will be at least 50cm away.

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In reply to UKC Articles:

This has gone down well.

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 Tobes 30 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Ah #vanlife eh - 

pre pandemic - ‘rah! rah! living our best life!’

Pandemic - ‘quick back to mum and dads!’

post (?) pandemic - ‘phew, that was close, now where were we? Oh yeah, rah rah living our best life’

Zzzzzz

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In reply to WVRox:

> To say that if you can afford a £15k van, you can bloody well afford the National Trust campsite fees in Langdale is spot on.

It may well be true but it is a completely bollocks argument that really annoys me. People may be scrimping and saving so that they can afford to run a van. I'm not defending the particular irresponsibilities of the people in the article, but half the point of a van is not to be shackled to campsites. People make choices about how they spend their money; they save on some things so that they can spend on other things which are more important to them. I don't often spend much more than the cost of diesel on trips within the UK. It means a fairly scummy existence (which I love anyway) but it means I can afford to go away pretty much whenever I can and also on more expensive foreign trips. 

Post edited at 21:37
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 Mike505 30 Aug 2020
In reply to JoshOvki:

Ah yes but you fail to have an electric van, and maybe the opportunity to move to a climbing area thus eliviating the need to even own one. 

I can only imagin its is a carbon footprint type dislike. Yes we should all do our bit, however we can't all afford to live in the Lakes or start our own busssiness in North Wales or have a skill set that allows us to up and move to a location of our own choosing. Or to buy a new Tesla or even a Nissan Leaf. 

Has this thread gone on long enough yet? That yellow sprinter is looking more and more like a lead balloon.

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 facet 30 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

A gash of an article at present UKC.

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In reply to Mike505:

I did look at a e-conversion for my van but at €15,000 it was a little steep and not environmentally friendly enough to to ditch a perfectly good engine for.

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 Mike505 30 Aug 2020
In reply to JoshOvki:

If you'd spent that €15,000 you may not have recieved that last dislike, just saying...

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 WVRox 30 Aug 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> It may well be true but it is a completely bollocks argument that really annoys me. People may be scrimping and saving so that they can afford to run a van. I'm not defending the particular irresponsibilities of the people in the article, but half the point of a van is not to be shackled to campsites. People make choices about how they spend their money; they save on some things so that they can spend on other things which are more important to them. I don't often spend much more than the cost of diesel on trips within the UK. It means a fairly scummy existence (which I love anyway) but it means I can afford to go away pretty much whenever I can and also on more expensive foreign trips. 

So where would you stay in the Lakes?

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In reply to WVRox:

> So where would you stay in the Lakes?

I hardly ever go to the Lakes because I hate the number of people, the unviability of roadside dossing and the extortionate cost of camping and parking. I am lucky enough to live in Scotland so have little urge to go there generally, though there are some crags I would still like to visit and routes I would like to do at some point.

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In reply to UKC Articles:

Is it legal to do the gas fitting yourself? Just seems like one of those exceptionally dangerous activities that would require some kind of licenced testing?

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 Alex Riley 31 Aug 2020
In reply to Lurking Dave:

It’s a bit grey. The first van I converted I paid a “gas safe” fitter to do it and it leaked pretty quickly afterwards, I replaced his work and it was fine. Second van I did it all myself. Best practice is to get it checked if you fit it yourself (it can all be plumbed, then pressure tested before you fill it with gas). Insurers and DVLA don’t check or ask for anything in my experience. Same with van wiring (although if it’s 12v you wouldn’t need to anyway afaik).

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In reply to DalesClimber:

> Not having a toilet in your car/van doesn't mean that there has to be wild pooing.... In the years we've had our (toilet-less) van, we have never pooed anywhere other than a public toilet when using it.

What sort of areas are you using it in?  They must either have a lot of public toilets or you have remarkable bowel control! Or do your trips revolve around toilets in a restrictive though perhaps admirably responsible way?

Post edited at 07:32
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 nikoid 31 Aug 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> What sort of areas are you using it in?  They must either have a lot of public toilets or you have remarkable bowel control! 

Or constipation.😀

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 JohnBson 31 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Good article, best of luck with your enterprise. Hope you continue to enjoy vanclimbing. Ignore the UKC hypocrites and perpetual bores of the climbing community, live your life the way you want, climb how you want and if it makes you some money and you pay tax in it in these tough times then good on you.

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 JohnBson 31 Aug 2020
In reply to Duncan Disorderly:

Do you really think that between when this article was published and the bank holiday weekend anyone could buy a van and do it up even if they use the configurator? What planet are you living on? Your rage is utterly impotent and won't reach the inconsiderate campers whose activities have been observed many times since lockdown ended because they don't hang out on UKC forums, most have no connection to climbing whatsoever, so why bother posting?

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In reply to kevin stephens:

I was wondering that. The only reason I would ever even contemplate a van that big would be to have a fully enclosed toilet/shower. Pretty much everything they have fitted in that conversion is already in my SWB T5, which is not that much bigger than a regular car, what on earth have they done with all that space!?

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In reply to UKC Articles:

Does anyone know if there is any legal difference between parking a van in a lay-by and sleeping in it and parking a caravan in a lay-by and sleeping in it? Obviously it takes up more room as the car is there as well, but if you can park a van there overnight presumably you could park a car + caravan as well? Never really thought about it before...

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 kevin stephens 31 Aug 2020
In reply to JohnBson:

You forgot to include “and shit where you want to” if the authors had included a toilet cubicle common in many self conversions then there wouldn’t be anywhere near so many negative posts

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 JohnBson 31 Aug 2020
In reply to Presley Whippet:

> It is all about responsibility. No toilet doesn't mean you will but it increases the probability. 

> Given current circumstances increased numbers, covid risk etc £100 or so spent on a portapotti and a toilet tent is a wise investment. 

Or you could just gain some self control and hold in your sh*t until you can go for a dump at the nearest cafe while having your breakfast, or at the pub during your evening pint, thus supporting local businesses. It's actually easy to do, providing you are healthy (one would think that if you weren't you would install a toilet).  Mix this in with the odd night at a camp site and there's no need to have a toilet tent.

More of your rage should be directed towards local councils who phased out public toilets throughout the last decade and during a public health crisis took the opportunity to close what was left. Public toilets and sanitation were introduced to prevent disease and were identified as an essential public health service by the Victorians! This closure, ongoing in many areas, effects everyone regardless of health.

Our European counterparts are miles ahead with this, Italy in particular has great facilities for van camping and uses this successfully to boost local economy in rural areas.

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In reply to JohnBson:

No rage here, I own a van and enjoy using it. I can also see the failings within the culture.

If you would like rage, here is some. 

I am a long term sufferer of an IBD. Comments such as just hold it in really boil my piss. It is regarded as a disability. However some idiots think it is fine to laud the achievements of visibly disabled athletes whilst being intolerant of those whose disabilities are not visible. Kindly take your just hold it in and stick it somewhere which will help you to do so. 

And breathe... 

Post edited at 12:31
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 gravy 31 Aug 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

I hope you didn't pay for this tedious banality

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In reply to JohnBson:

> Or you could just gain some self control and hold in your sh*t until you can go for a dump at the nearest cafe while having your breakfast, or at the pub during your evening pint, thus supporting local businesses. 

Except that the idea of camping or vanning or whatever for many people is to cook your own breakfast and sit ouitside in a nice place with a glass of wine in the evening and hopefully be far from the nearest cafe or pub anyway.

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In reply to JohnBson:

> Or you could just gain some self control and hold in your sh*t until you can go for a dump at the nearest cafe while having your breakfast, or at the pub during your evening pint, 

Probably better not to do it while having your breakfast.  Just my opinion.

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 Sans-Plan 31 Aug 2020
In reply to Alkis:

> ......what on earth have they done with all that space!?

A fully fitted kitchen with 600mm deep units it seems, that's going to eat up one hell of a lot of space and is pretty pointless, even £60k professional conversions don't have a 4 burner hob in them......

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 baron 31 Aug 2020
In reply to Sans-Plan:

> A fully fitted kitchen with 600mm deep units it seems, that's going to eat up one hell of a lot of space and is pretty pointless, even £60k professional conversions don't have a 4 burner hob in them......

Sorry, mine does.

And a full size oven and microwave.

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 Sans-Plan 31 Aug 2020
In reply to baron:

Gah, I knew as soon as I posted that somebody would have one too!

Just for balance mine doesn’t but it might be a struggle to get one in a T5...

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 baron 31 Aug 2020
In reply to Sans-Plan:

> Gah, I knew as soon as I posted that somebody would have one too!

> Just for balance mine doesn’t but it might be a struggle to get one in a T5...

Sorry about that.

My wife’s insistence on a decent cooking set up was one of the reasons why we traded up from our T4.  

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 peppermill 31 Aug 2020
In reply to JohnBson:

> Good article, best of luck with your enterprise. Hope you continue to enjoy vanclimbing. Ignore the UKC hypocrites and perpetual bores of the climbing community, live your life the way you want, climb how you want and if it makes you some money and you pay tax in it in these tough times then good on you.

I think you've kinda missed or ignored the parts of the article and blog that have hacked everyone off so much....

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 JohnBson 31 Aug 2020
In reply to ollie_e:

> All of this begs the question of why this lifestyle / pastime is actually causing an issue, in comparison to Europe where campervans are commonplace.

> I’m not convinced lack of space is the issue...or at least, is the issue actually ‘lack of public / state owned’ space, as opposed to their physically being too little space (I am sure there are examples where this doesn’t quite ring true, but bear with me).

> Purely on my own anecdotal experience, the UK doesn’t seem to have any state / government owned land, which could be used to accommodate a transient lifestyle.  However in New Zealand, they have DoC (department of conservation) sites across New Zealand, where loads of people holiday in campervans, set aside specifically for tourists to camp for free (or at minimal cost).  They’re all equipped with toilets so you don’t have to buy a coffee or dig a hole to fulfil your most basic of human needs...and unsurprisingly there doesn’t seem like much of a fly-pooing issue in NZ.

>  If the UK government had the power to set something like this up, surely its an easy fix, as most people in vans (speaking for myself here too) could care less about a view and just want somewhere to crash for the night and not be bothered by pissed off locals.

> So why don’t we have this? With reference to recent surprising discussions on here about how all of Portland was actually owned by a quarrying company, the majority of land in UK seems to be owned by someone (ie a private individual / organisation).  Wherever you park you are almost certainly on someone elses (other than the state’s) property.  

> So my question is, and I don’t know the answer, in those countries where van life is tolerated, France and Spain being good examples, is there a ‘benevolent’ state at play, making overnight parking available?  

> And if there is a benevolent state at play outside of the UK, perhaps instead of getting worked up about the symptom of the problem (vans) maybe answer is in forcing the government to legislate and force private individuals or companies banking land to give it up and put it to good use?

> The above of course won’t be this government’s instinctual response, as seen in recent attempts to criminalise trespass.  They will always support the 1% and while vans lining the pass at the weekend is f*cking annoying, remember that the inevitable heavy handed legislation to deal with it will be just another step down the road of further erosion of your most basic civil liberties...

Some of the most reasonable comments on here. Worth noting that the drive for vans has really took off since the government changed the camp site license requirements. £20 per person per night is quite common since the rules changed because due to fire safety it was decided that minimum pitch spacing should become so large that any less than that and your business could no longer break even.

A whole host of additional outdoor sports unfriendly rules also became the norm, for example; obligatory booking, payment in advance, strict noise regulations, and refusal for late arrivals. These prevent weather seeking, sociable individuals, who must work a full day Friday from considering a campsite viable. Personally gambling £80 on weather is ludicrous and if I need to get there before 9pm on Friday I might as well stay within day trip range, doing away with camping all together. 

Many campsites are still exempt from this regulation as it is not enforced on preexisting businesses, and therefore only when the business changes hands do these rules come into effect, often to the chagrin of the new owners.

Case in point Erics campsite at Tremadog, hit by a slew of legislation after changing hands, had all the intention of keeping true to the ideals but had their hands tied by legislation and an enthusiastic council. Part of the legislation actually made it impossible for converted vans to use the campsite and hence they tried to petition the council on the matter, the last I heard their petition was under consideration and there were predictable 'delays', hopefully these have been resolved.

Surely anyone could see that the sum of these actions are both detrimental to the local area; depriving small business owners of custom and a workable business model, contributing to overuse of laybys and problematic wild camping, and bad for society as a whole as they put visiting the outdoors in the territory of 'more expensive than a night out'.

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 Ridge 31 Aug 2020
In reply to Alkis:

> I was wondering that. The only reason I would ever even contemplate a van that big would be to have a fully enclosed toilet/shower. Pretty much everything they have fitted in that conversion is already in my SWB T5, which is not that much bigger than a regular car, what on earth have they done with all that space!?

I was wondering about that,  and I suspect a toilet/shower would spoil the carefully cultivated image, and get in the way of the glossy instagram photos looking down the length of the van at the perfectly framed shot of the landscape through the open back doors.

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 JohnBson 31 Aug 2020
In reply to Presley Whippet:

> No rage here, I own a van and enjoy using it. I can also see the failings within the culture.

> If you would like rage, here is some. 

> I am a long term sufferer of an IBD. Comments such as just hold it in really boil my piss. It is regarded as a disability. However some idiots think it is fine to laud the achievements of visibly disabled athletes whilst being intolerant of those whose disabilities are not visible. Kindly take your just hold it in and stick it somewhere which will help you to do so. 

> And breathe... 

I take it you didn't read my comment that if you had such an issue then you would certainly fit a toilet to your van, and that the closure of public toilets is unbelievably poor judgement from a public health perspective. I do feel for you with this, I have a climbing partner with a surgically shortened bowel. However many people can hold it in, and have a moral obligation to do so if they have chosen not to fit toilet facilities and are not in a truly remote setting.

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In reply to JohnBson:

You are right on this. For one reason or another there seems to be fewer and fewer campsites offering the basics to car campers and vans at a reasonable price. Nobody wants to pay for stuff they don't need or want.

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 deepsoup 31 Aug 2020
In reply to JohnBson:
> Or you could just gain some self control and hold in your sh*t ..

Even by UKC's lofty stardards, that's a pretty mind-boggling level of condescension right there.  Based nothing more than your own arse you're actually presuming you know better than other people how their own bowels work.  Wow.  Just f*cking wow!

And even if you were right (which you are not, btw, just so you know - not all healthy humans are able to precisely schedule a shite hours in advance), don't tell us about it.  Tell the #vanshitters - they're the ones out there leaving barely concealed jobbies in and around all the popular laybys.

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 Tobes 01 Sep 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Can anyone hazard a guess at what the mpg will be of the example in the feature?

What with all the added weight, had a read through the article but didn’t see anything. 

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 Wainers44 01 Sep 2020
In reply to JohnBson:

Dont know if the rules are different north and south of the border? Just arrived in Scotland for a bit of a tour around. We will be staying at campsites every night (and we have our own facilities in a wonderful but silly looking toilet tent that we pitch behind the van!).

In D&C there are a plethora of pop up sites which are basic, fine if you have your own loo and cost between £10 and £15 per night. 

Up here we haven't seen anything like that so far. We have booked in advance for about 75% of the nights, but it seems that we better get the rest sorted now too as few basic ones are available.  That's a pity, not just from a cost point of view (sites seem to be £25 to £35 per n) but we will have to make the trip rather less plan as you go. Still, just pleased some are open and we could go at all. 😁

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In reply to Tobes:

Judging by our work vehicles somewhere around 30mpg. Depends very much on the driver though...

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 Tobes 01 Sep 2020
In reply to pancakeandchips:

> Judging by our work vehicles somewhere around 30mpg. Depends very much on the driver though...

Cheers. Also type of roads - constant speed motorways as opposed to stop/start variable speed s I guess. 

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 GrahamD 01 Sep 2020
In reply to JohnBson:

You make some good points, but surely strict noise regulations are good for people who are actually outdoor enthusiasts?

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In reply to Wainers44:

> In D&C there are a plethora of pop up sites which are basic, fine if you have your own loo and cost between £10 and £15 per night. 

>  That's a pity, not just from a cost point of view (sites seem to be £25 to £35 per n......

At £10 to £15 let alone £25 to £30 per night to park a self sufficient van for the night, it's not exactly surprising that people are opting for the free option having already invested in a van. 

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 Wainers44 01 Sep 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Sorry but you think £10 to £15 is still too much? Blimey.

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In reply to Wainers44:

> Sorry but you think £10 to £15 is still too much? Blimey.

Simply for somewhere to park, yes, ridiculous. Of course these places may be offering some facilities, but if you don't need the facilities you are just paying to park.

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 Wainers44 01 Sep 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Simply for somewhere to park, yes, ridiculous. Of course these places may be offering some facilities, but if you don't need the facilities you are just paying to park.

Well here lies half the problem then. A tenner to park up in a quiet lovely location with no risk of being moved on and usually access to water is a good price. Even £15 is ok. Paid the former at Lizard two weekends back and the latter at Zennor the week after. Worth every penny. Both had tardis loos which we didn't need.

The farmer picked up the dosh so low running cost for them but still probably not a big earner. The issue of inappropriate camping and the mess left by too many (not you) wont improve until there is a bit of realism about what should be paid for.

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 Mike505 01 Sep 2020
In reply to Wainers44:

Well yes, so suppose someone from a non climbing area gets out for 30 weekends a year. Heads out on a Friday and returns Sunday that'd be £600 - £900 a year! No way I could afford that. And that's just for weekdend parking not longer trips.

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In reply to Wainers44:

> A tenner to park up in a quiet lovely location with no risk of being moved on and usually access to water is a good price. Even £15 is ok. 

I consider £30 for the weekend for a couple of dumps extortionate. I don't need any of the other facilities. I have everything I need with me apart from a toilet and can find lovely locations for free.

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In reply to Mike505:

> Well yes, so suppose someone from a non climbing area gets out for 30 weekends a year. Heads out on a Friday and returns Sunday that'd be £600 - £900 a year!

Excatly. That's the cost of my big foreign trip burnt up.

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 Wainers44 01 Sep 2020
In reply to Mike505:

> Well yes, so suppose someone from a non climbing area gets out for 30 weekends a year. Heads out on a Friday and returns Sunday that'd be £600 - £900 a year! No way I could afford that. And that's just for weekdend parking not longer trips.

Your money your choice.

Whether that's sustainable as a option for everyone is the question.

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In reply to Robert Durran:

> I consider £30 for the weekend for a couple of dumps extortionate. I don't need any of the other facilities. I have everything I need with me apart from a toilet and can find lovely locations for free.

Fair enough, but I get the impression you are dossing in the North of Scotalnd, and a lot of that is probably the only part of the UK that could be classed as 'remote'. The subject of people's complaints are obviously honey pots in England and Wales, which up-thread you said you avoid.... so your comments aren't really relevant to this discussion.

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In reply to Mike Stretford:

> Fair enough, but I get the impression you are dossing in the North of Scotalnd......... The subject of people's complaints are obviously honey pots in England and Wales, which up-thread you said you avoid.... so your comments aren't really relevant to this discussion.

Yes, I am lucky enough to be in Scotland where it is still possible to doss roadside in most areas without issues at most times and I have little need or desire to head south. But the fact is that people are voting with their feet in problem areas down south and it is unsustainable. Either regulation needs to be enforced so that people have no choice but to pay extortionate fees to park for the night and to have a dump, or, I think much preferably, basic parking and toilet facilities need to be set up at a reasonable price which people are prepared to pay (as happens in some other countries).

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 Rick Graham 01 Sep 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Just needs an enlightened local authority.

Ingleton (central to yorkshire dales NP) overnight parking is £5 for a camper van , 6 pm to 9am, toilets, shops and pubs within a few metres.

Noticed it last year, just checked by searching on ingleton overnight parking , simple. Must be more, surely.

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In reply to UKC Articles:

Im late to the party, but I can understand all the negativity around vans. It’s clear that councils need to get their act together facilitating this because the issue is not going to go away, if just going to keep growing. I’m certainly not going to stop living/using my van, that’s for sure, it’s part of my life now. I try to be responsible (get a porta potty fellas) and I happily pay when there’s facilities available to park. But many times there aren’t and you have to park wherever is convenient/possible. I just don’t see how you can manage to be a weekend warrior climbing all year around without a van. I did before having one and almost went broke with campsites (some take the piss)/b&b’s/hotels every single weekend, that’s why i bought a van, a lot more affordable.


That’s not even going into people that are forced to live in vans because the cost of living in UK is crazy. (Why slave away in an office to pay for a roof over your head that you hardly use because you are slaving away in an office?). I will have to work in London and won’t be able to afford accomodation so I’ll be living in my van while I’m there. 

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In reply to Robert Durran:

> Either regulation needs to be enforced so that people have no choice but to pay extortionate fees to park for the night and to have a dump, or, I think much preferably, basic parking and toilet facilities need to be set up at a reasonable price which people are prepared to pay (as happens in some other countries).

I think a combination of both would work. It would mean there would have to be some planning to the trip though, and you wouldn't get the 'ideal view' the advertorial above is 'selling'.

Funnily enough I had considered the whole thing, but concluded it's not worth the expense for staying in England and Wales, which I'd mostly do. I had planed to rent one last May to go around the North of Scotland, but covid put pay to that.

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In reply to Mike Stretford:

> I think a combination of both would work. It would mean there would have to be some planning to the trip though, and you wouldn't get the 'ideal view' the advertorial above is 'selling'.

I don't see why some sites shouldn't be on the edge of towns or villages for those wanting access to their amenities while others could be at places with nice views. This could work well around the dreaded NC500 (let's face it, it's not going away), bringing income to local communities and sacrificing some nice spots (with others getting no overnight parking notices). If the price were reasonable (say £5) I think most people would respect an honesty system like in a lot of basic US campsites. 

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 GrahamD 01 Sep 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

In what universe do you get 12 hours of parking (even without facilities) for a fiver (about 25 miles of fuel cost) ? 

And given recent demonstrations of public responsibility, an honesty box has no chance.  Probably get nicked within 24 hours.

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In reply to GrahamD:

> In what universe do you get 12 hours of parking (even without facilities) for a fiver?

Most parking is currently free anyway (at least in Scotland - only the odd honeypot charges at all!). The  £5 seems a reasonable charge to me for the addition of a simple drop toilet or portaloo. Even the odd basic campsite is £5 (Sheigra, Fairhead). 

> And given recent demonstrations of public responsibility, an honesty box has no chance.  

The ticket machine parking at places like Linn of Dee is effectively an honesty system anyway. Seems to work.

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 Rick Graham 01 Sep 2020
In reply to GrahamD:

> In what universe do you get 12 hours of parking (even without facilities) for a fiver (about 25 miles of fuel cost) ? 

> And given recent demonstrations of public responsibility, an honesty box has no chance.  Probably get nicked within 24 hours.

15 hours in Ingleton for £5.

Look at my last post three or four back/up 

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 jimtitt 01 Sep 2020
In reply to GrahamD:

> In what universe do you get 12 hours of parking (even without facilities) for a fiver (about 25 miles of fuel cost) ? 

What do you drive, a Bugatti Veyron?

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 baron 01 Sep 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I don't see why some sites shouldn't be on the edge of towns or villages for those wanting access to their amenities while others could be at places with nice views. This could work well around the dreaded NC500 (let's face it, it's not going away), bringing income to local communities and sacrificing some nice spots (with others getting no overnight parking notices). If the price were reasonable (say £5) I think most people would respect an honesty system like in a lot of basic US campsites. 

One of the Scottish ski sites allowed motorhomes to use their car park with an honesty box system.

Over several weeks scores of motorhomes used the site and deposited the grand sum of something like £24 into the honesty box.
I’m a motorhome owner myself but I’m only using campsites until the present situation calms down a bit.

I fear that the days of wild camping (in a motorhome/van),  in England especially, are numbered.

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 GrahamD 01 Sep 2020
In reply to jimtitt:

> What do you drive, a Bugatti Veyron?

What mpg would you get out of a van round country lanes ?

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 GrahamD 01 Sep 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

I'd be surprised if the economics of any maintained toilet facility is covered by your £5.

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In reply to GrahamD:

> I'd be surprised if the economics of any maintained toilet facility is covered by your £5.

Well considering that £15 will get you at least a proper toilet block with hot water and showers in many campsites, I'd have thought £5 would be pretty generous for a simple drop toilet.

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 jimtitt 01 Sep 2020
In reply to GrahamD:

> What mpg would you get out of a van round country lanes ?


The speed they dawdle along in front of normal drivers they are probably trying to get 50mpg, being skinflints as they apparently are

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 PaulTanton 02 Sep 2020
In reply to smollett:

what is that legislation?

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 simes303 03 Sep 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

WOW!!! So many negative comments here. On Sunday we got back from a four week trip to the Scottish West coast, Mull, and the Outer Hebrides, staying in our van the whole time. We didn't make a mess, in fact we picked up litter at each place we stopped (we took litter picking sticks with us). We didn't leave poo and paper as our van has a toilet. We didn't get in anyone's way as our van is a Citroen Relay, only slightly longer than a parking space, but even so we only stayed in large laybys, at the end of remote tracks and in designated van areas. Also, we didn't come across anyone else staying in a van that was being messy or a nuisance. It's perfectly possible to live a responsible van life. Maybe people should be a bit more considerate and stay away from the more popular spots. Van life is great. We've averaged 44 nights per year over the last five years.

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In reply to simes303:

Agreed, it can be done responsibly, I don't see why not. I spent around 100 nights a year in the van and I would not change it for the world. 

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 simes303 03 Sep 2020
In reply to Ramon Marin:

Even so, my comment has already been given three "dislikes". Amazing.

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 smollett 03 Sep 2020
In reply to PaulTanton:

I'm not sure of the name of it but I worked in Rotterdam a couple of years ago and lived in my van outside the climbing wall for a number of weeks whilst I got more permanent accommodation sorted. I was told by numerous dutch people that you are not permitted to camp in a vehicle on the roadside or public parking areas and that it was only permissible in camp sites. My van was very subtle and so nobody would have known I was in it, and I was always very careful to be as unobtrusive as possible. I found this on a quick internet search https://www.reddit.com/r/thenetherlands/comments/4hnnh7/sleeping_in_a_van_in_the_netherlands/ 

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In reply to simes303:

I think you're right in what you say about responsible van life, and sounds like you had a great Scottish trip.  We were planning a similar one ourselves, and would have done it in the same way, but I think the thing is that there's plenty of room for that in most of Scotland (excluding the NC500 route??).  We've had some fantastic nights in the van up there, especially with loch-side parking up at the end of 20-mile dead-end single track roads!  It seems very different in a lot of England & Wales, particularly this year, with a lot of inconsiderate fly-camping in vans causing problems in some busy popular areas, and I think the timing is one of the reasons for the article's reception here. 

We've just changed our trip plans, to try and get more climbing in, and are now heading for 4 days on the Gower, followed by 4 at Swanage - both compact busy places, under a lot of visitor pressure, and we've concluded that the only responsible way to do it is by staying on campsites (and good luck finding a campsite on the Gower under £20, a lot are well over £30!)

I reckon most of the negative response to this article is due to their promotion of what is essentially fly-camping in busy areas like the Dales and Lake District, with photos of them parked up for roadside overnighting in Langdale and Wasdale, two of the busiest and most popular places.  Not helped by them proudly saying they don't have any kind of toilet (in fact on their blog they say that one of the big factors against putting one in was "The Faff of Emptying"!!!).  They did have a post on their Facebook page promoting "5 Amazing Van Spots in the Lake District"  but that seems to have been taken down, possibly not surprising since one was just a roadside pull-off on the main Langdale road, and another was on the side of Wastwater right next to a "No Overnight parking" sign.

What we need is a balancing article giving the other side of the van living coin, and I suspect the reception would be a lot less negative.

Cheers, Andy   (Porta-Potti equipped T5)

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 baron 03 Sep 2020
In reply to simes303:

Using your van sensibly isn’t, the issue.

Using a van irresponsibly is.

Also the sheer volume of vans causes problems.

I’m presuming your 4 week trip involved emptying your toilet on quite a few occasions.

As you didn’t use campsites I’m also presuming that you emptied your toilet in public conveniences.

A couple of vans doing that might, or might not, be a problem but if the number of vans increases then problems can arise. 

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 Alex Riley 03 Sep 2020
In reply to baron:

That’s a pretty big assumption... most motorway service stations have black waste disposal facilities. Also lots of campsites will let you dispose without staying the night.

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 Chris Craggs Global Crag Moderator UKC Supporter UKC Supporter 03 Sep 2020
In reply to Alex Riley:

> That’s a pretty big assumption... most motorway service stations have black waste disposal facilities.


Not many motorway service stations on the West Coast of Scotland!

Chris

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 Alex Riley 03 Sep 2020
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Fair, but I’m sure there are some facilities.

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 FreeloaderJoe 03 Sep 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Truth is that this island is too full of people. The anger on this thread is a small taste of the future to come and the last few months have shown what a nightmare it is when everyone goes out to play in the outdoors all at once.

Cycle touring through Europe it was apparent that this isn't just a UK problem. Alpine areas of the continent are also a nightmare for a steady train of camper vans, parked up on every scrap of land.

Post edited at 17:11
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 kevin stephens 03 Sep 2020
In reply to simes303:

I agree absolutely and looking forward to a Scottish trip setting off on Saturday in our van. I’ve posted negative comments on this thread because the OP was too short sighted to include a toilet in their very large van conversion and condoning shitting around popular van stop locations,  unlike yours and ours smaller vans which do have toilets.

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In reply to UKC Articles:

Actually, there are two things that surprise me about this article.

One is that it is an official UKC Article, with over 13,000 views and 200 comments, overwhelmingly negative, and has probably broken the "Dislike" record with over well over 100, but there has been no subsequent comment from either UKC, or the authors.

The other, which really grinds my gears and amazes me given the normal UKC  pickiness, is that nobody has ranted about the title!  They aren't "Converting a Camper Van" into anything, they are converting a van INTO a Camper Van" - come on people, there used to be some standards here.

Cheers, Andy

(edited for stupid typo!)

Post edited at 18:10
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 baron 03 Sep 2020
In reply to Alex Riley:

> That’s a pretty big assumption... most motorway service stations have black waste disposal facilities. Also lots of campsites will let you dispose without staying the night.

I did say that I was presuming.

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In reply to cathsullivan:

> Agree wholeheartedly with the negative responses here. Would prefer to see a UKC article that really explores and critically addresses the genuine issues associated with the (understandable) increase of roadside dossing in the UK. I think that would be more interesting and positive for the outdoor community (and our relations with others) than an advert for a blog and a story about somebody doing something - fortunately perhaps - not really practical or affordable for most UK climbers.

I used your invitation to provide thoughts, I hope it helps this debate which is I believe will become more urgent in the next few years.

On the face of it this seems to be a 'new' issue/problem, but I think a bit of historical (well post War) perspective might provide context. the issue isn't Vanlife/Motorhomes or whatever you call it, it's numbers, the sheer volume of people and the issues that we all generate en masse.

It is the dream of all travellers whatever their interests to find the new, the undiscovered place of paradise and to stay unfettered by other members of humanity preferably for free. After the war but particularly from the 1960's on travel became cheaper and also more socially available, ie you didn't have to be properly rich.

Places whether they be mountains, lakesides or beaches were lightly trod with few visitors who left little physical impact and left (relatively speaking) a positive financial local bonus. Change was coming and it was the numbers driving it.

Young western europeans were travelling to France, Spain and the eastern Med to lie in the sun often by sleeping on beaches.  

By the 1970's young people were still sleeping on the beaches on the islands in Greece. I did it for one night (1979) and leaving aside the issue of discomfort, it was clear that it was out of control, any field behind any beach was by any measure a real health hazard, so that dream of lonely idyllic 'freedom' was coming to an end. It was banned in 1976/8. I was doing it illegally although it wasn't enforced. It's also officially banned in Italy and Spain. No cars or vans, just numbers.

I do however remember discussions with many on those said beaches, the same lines come out, 'they' should provide toilets/showers, it's a fundamental 'right' to camp where we like, 'they' don't look after the 'place' (now we'd use the word environment) 'they' should arrange litter collections. 

It was a position that either imagined or mentally imposed obligations on those residing in these always lovely places. 'They' would have to accommodate and adjust to 'inevitable' growth. More of this later

In our World of climbing/mountaineering, it was the same issue with the timescales shoved roughly ten/twenty years later. Whether it's Mont Blanc, Everest, the Matterhorn or the Lake District. Go to Australia, almost every Shire area bans (and really enforces) camping everywhere other than official sites. Even places as remote as Easter Island ban unofficial camping

These are all (and there are many more) places where 30/40 years ago it was a few hardy and highly skilled souls who ventured into what was often arduous and relatively uncomfortable territory. Now 30,000 (a number I find incredible) climb MB every year. The same issue of numbers applies to all those venues and anywhere in the World, not just Blighty, and again no vans just numbers.

Back to Vanlife/Motorhomes in UK 2020. According to many Googleable sources, there are about 250,000 vans/motorhomes in the UK. It was probably a a tenth (a guess, if anyone can get better numbers that's OK), of that even 20 years ago, cheaper vans, much improved insulation and social media 'how to' vids like the one that started this thread have created that extraordinary growth. With not even that many of that number in the honeypots, it's Greece, MB and the Matterhorn revisited. 

So, what will happen. Again look back, one hears the cries of 'they' which in the UK means District/County or even Parish Councils 'must' accommodate the 'inevitable'. How many local councillors are going to sponsor an idea that effectively subsidises City dweller long weekend or holidays. You might not like the answer but it's functionally zero. In this scenario, there is no local gain, indeed the reverse, 'free' facilities would attract more people who add little to the local economy. 

The 'inevitable' which is historical precedent everywhere I've looked is control and legislation. The Lake District, the Peak and N. Wales is rolling fast in this direction and after this summer with the problems in the West Country I predict more of this with stricter enforcement. Who is lobbying the local politicians and to whom are they accountable.

One reply mentioned New Zealand, very nice place been there, camped done all that stuff but it's the same size as the UK (roughly) with 5 million people, we've probably got 70 million. Thatcherism and the closure of public toilets is often cited as a 'cause', well she isn't around in Greece, Australia, MB or Easter Island, they may provide toilets but 'free' camping is banned. 

Cost. In our local village which I guess is pretty typical a public toilet block two toilets and hand-washing costs about £21,000 pa to run. If you want to open a campsite, depending on size you either have to apply for licences or planning permission. All this before you have any facilities which must all adhere to regulations from waste disposal, drainage, site layout and disabled access (for example, there are lots more). For the campsite owners I know, the income is in addition to other work, sometimes farming or pensions, no-one is getting 'rich'.  Facilities, even if some prefer the most basic just costs more to deliver than you would imagine. On arrival you might see a no cost empty field, the reality is more sunk cost than you'd imagine and in poor summers not very much income at all.

This response is principally 'about' England and Wales, there are a number of replies about Scotland and it looks like there isn't much of a problem, and I suspect that it is again the function of numbers but in reverse, ie low numbers, low impact and therefore no problem.

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In reply to aostaman:

Sounds reasonable, unfortunately it also sounds pretty depressing 😥

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 Wainers44 03 Sep 2020
In reply to aostaman:

Detailed post and some good points. However your comment about the incorrect perception of a low cost field etc really only applies to a proper licenced campsite. 

 I think unlicensed and informal sites are a part of the answer in problem areas  Normally only 28 days pa, but doubled this year, a landowner can set up a low cost site which wont result in a loss for them if the summer is a stinker.

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 bigbobbyking 03 Sep 2020
In reply to aostaman:

Your description of "we've been here before" reminded me of tales of Snell's field in the 70s(?). Well before my time, but maybe similar story...

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In reply to aostaman:

> This response is principally 'about' England and Wales, there are a number of replies about Scotland and it looks like there isn't much of a problem, and I suspect that it is again the function of numbers but in reverse, ie low numbers, low impact and therefore no problem.

There certainly are problems in Scotland, but really only in certain areas at certain times. With a little knowledge it still possible to work round them. But of course most people flock to the same places. I have always got the impression that Scotland is maybe 10 to 20 years behind England though.

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In reply to aostaman:

> So, what will happen. Again look back, one hears the cries of 'they' which in the UK means District/County or even Parish Councils 'must' accommodate the 'inevitable'. How many local councillors are going to sponsor an idea that effectively subsidises City dweller long weekend or holidays. You might not like the answer but it's functionally zero.

 I know you are mainly talking about England but when visitors are being actively encouraged by the creation of such as the NC500 in order to bring income, then I think there is some obligation to provide appropriate infrastructure.

Post edited at 20:13
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 JohnBson 03 Sep 2020
In reply to GrahamD:

> You make some good points, but surely strict noise regulations are good for people who are actually outdoor enthusiasts?

Yes, very much appreciated at times, not at others depends on the trip. In summer I enjoy a combination of running and climbing until last light, which can be later than 10pm, socialise over a few beers and a meal, crash out and be up at sunrise to carry on the next day.

I've had great times on raucous campsites and enjoyed the rest of the quiet ones on the same trips. When an entire destination consists of almost identical formats it removes the choice in the matter for all parties.

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 simes303 04 Sep 2020
In reply to baron:

I don't really like the accusatory tone of your message. You can "presume" as you wish but you are wrong.

Yes of course we emptied our toilet, quite a lot of times.

BUT, we only ever emptied it in places that were acceptable, either paying a campsite a fiver to do so (many actually advertise this service), or occasionally using public toilets but only if it was stated that it was okay to do so. We NEVER used a public toilet that asked not to dispose of chemical waste. We also always left a fiver in any honesty boxes that we found at the toilets (many have these). Also, on the Outer Hebrides, the ferry terminals generally have toilet waste disposal points. We even found a sports centre which provided this facility for a donation.

Responsible van living is not hard. 

Si.

Post edited at 14:37
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 simes303 04 Sep 2020
In reply to Chris Craggs:

> Not many motorway service stations on the West Coast of Scotland!

> Chris

See my reply to Baron above...

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 simes303 04 Sep 2020
In reply to bigbobbyking:

> Your description of "we've been here before" reminded me of tales of Snell's field in the 70s(?). Well before my time, but maybe similar story...

That's what I thought too.

Also the free camping area near Bas Cuvier in Font. Last time I was there before it was closed down it was absolutely disgusting. The surrounding forest was poo and bog roll everywhere.

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 baron 04 Sep 2020
In reply to simes303:

> I don't really like the accusatory tone of your message. You can "presume" as you wish but you are wrong.

> Yes of course we emptied our toilet, quite a lot of times.

> BUT, we only ever emptied it in places that were acceptable, either paying a campsite a fiver to do so (many actually advertise this service), or occasionally using public toilets but only if it was stated that it was okay to do so. We NEVER used a public toilet that asked not to dispose of chemical waste. We also always left a fiver in any honesty boxes that we found at the toilets (many have these). Also, on the Outer Hebrides, the ferry terminals generally have toilet waste disposal points. We even found a sports centre which provided this facility for a donation.

> Responsible van living is not hard. 

> Si.

I didn’t accuse you of anything but feel free to be offended.

You gave a fairly detailed description of how it was possible to live in your van.

Was there any mention of the need to depend heavily on the existing infrastructure in order to do so?

The idea of sustainable off grid van life in the UK is a myth.

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 muppetfilter 04 Sep 2020
In reply to Andy Cairns:

In reality and the article fails to address this fully that its now incredibly difficult to change a standard Van into a Camper with the DVLA. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/converting-a-vehicle-into-a-motor-caravan/converting-a-vehicle-into-a-motor-caravan

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 simes303 04 Sep 2020
In reply to baron:

You didn't actually accuse me of anything, no, but the tone of your post was clear.

No, I'm not offended, thank you.

Nowhere have I claimed that sustainable off grid van life is possible. I'm not sure why you even wrote that bit.

You seem rather bitter that someone has shown that it's possible to live for a prolonged period in a van without causing any trouble. For what it's worth, we even tried to avoid supermarkets in favour of the small local shops we passed along the way, even though they are more expensive. I imagine you'll manage to find fault with that too.

Cheers, Si.

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 baron 04 Sep 2020
In reply to simes303:

I’ve owned a few vans since 1990.

Started with a bay window VW with a Devon conversion.

Moved onto a VW T25 also a Devon conversion.

Replaced that with a Ducato with a Holdsworth conversion. Then a self build Vw T4.

All these were used extensively in the UK and abroad and also served as my daily driver.Presently I own a Swift Rio Motorhome.

I’m not sure how you got the idea that I’m against people owning and using camper vans.

I am against people perpetuating the myth that using a van responsibly doesn’t have any negative effects.

You use your van a lot so you’ll have seen these effects yourself.

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 simes303 04 Sep 2020
In reply to baron:

Sorry if i have read more into your posts than you had intended.

Using a van obviously can have negative effects but it doesn't necessarily have to. The same goes for many, many other things in life though. It's unfair to make this just about vans. It's more about some people's attitudes.

I don't think we could have made any less of an impact on our recent trip. In fact as I said earlier, we didn't meet any other people in vans who were causing any mess or nuisance throughout our month long trip. I agree that the timing of the article was bad and that the advice should have been "make sure your van has a toilet" and certainly not "make sure you bury your poo".

Living responsibly in a van is not hard though. And I'm not really sure what the associated negative effects you talk about even are.

Si.

Post edited at 17:04
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 baron 04 Sep 2020
In reply to simes303:

Having reread my previous posts I can see that they do come across as being unnecessarily critical.

For that I apologise.

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 simes303 04 Sep 2020
In reply to baron:

Cheers. Let's not fall out. 

EDIT: Just had a look through your pictures. Good effort if that's you on Black Magic.

Si.

Post edited at 17:10
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 baron 04 Sep 2020
In reply to simes303:

> Cheers. Let's not fall out. 

> EDIT: Just had a look through your pictures. Good effort if that's you on Black Magic.

> Si.

Unfortunately it’s not me on Black Magic.

I couldn’t get off the ground and was scared enough just taking the photo!

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 ScraggyGoat 04 Sep 2020
In reply to simes303:

Let me correct you; you didn't meet anybody in vans 'you thought' were causing a problem.

You were probably lucky to get on to the Western Isles, before the Isles council on behalf of the resident population that were fed up, have now ask Cal Mac to refuse boarding to any vans that haven't got booked accommodation/pitches.

Having been out these past few days in NW Scotland, I saw the following:

Vans parked sideways in carparks so get the best views

Vans completely filling up car parks preventing anyone else using them

Vans stopped overnight in passing-places

Vans setting up with wind breaks on verges and lighting fires

Vans impeding following traffic on single track, or failing to reverse on single track, and pulling across the carriage way to the right-hand passing places thus risking head-ons.

Vans parked overnight for free in lay-bys immediately outside campsites.

One campsite that had opened for self-contained units had only a hand-full of vans in residence (despite having a very good view) yet the parking areas a few miles north and south had about thirty vans in them  - its no good van owners saying they need facilities if they are predominantly not using those that are available.

Its never acceptable to put van waste down a standard public toilet, I've seen numerous Highland and Island PC's blocked in recent years, or worse waste splash back all of the floor, due to van owners trying to empty their cassettes down them

But I also saw a lot of good behaviour, however a lot of tourists come to the Highlands and 'find' what they are looking for. Oh its quiet, oh there's a lovely view, oh there's not many people here, oh its all right everyones does it; and fail to realise the locals are watching and there are enough inadvertent, inconsiderate or cheeky/bad behaviour they are not impressed.

I agree there needs to be more facilities in the Highlands, but lets no kid ourselves these will often need significant earth works, sometimes even blasting, and drainage, plus maintenance and these don't come cheap.  Plus we have to square the thorny problem that there is a limit to how much traffic single track roads can carry, and how does the council not take further trade away from the formal campsites. Vans and Van Tourism have there place but there is a carrying capacity beyond which they are seen as problems.

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 Wainers44 04 Sep 2020
In reply to ScraggyGoat:

OK just for a bit of balance, we have been in the highlands and now the western isles for a week now. We decided to stay on sites and have been pleased with the ones picked. 

I haven't see more than a handful of vans parked up looking like they have camped all week, and certainly not more than one in any one location. 

Currently on Skye and its quiet. Haven't seen any problems.

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In reply to ScraggyGoat:

> Vans completely filling up car parks preventing anyone else using them

I do agree with a lot of what you say, and it sounds like you've met a right load of pillocks in your travels, though by the sound of it you're talking about the mainland, rather than the Isles.  I do have to take exception with your bit about car parks though.  If I'm in the highlands/isles in my van, behaving in a reasonable way,  and staying on campsites, it's still the only vehicle I've got, so if I'm out and about during the day and parking for a walk or climb, surely I have every bit as much right to use a car park as anyone else?   And if most of the folk around are in vans ( eg the ridiculous parking for the bloody Fairy Pools!), then most of the car park is going to be taken up by vans, but it's just that they are there, not specifically preventing anyone else from using them.

Your point about single track and "pulling across the carriage way to the right-hand passing places thus risking head-ons" is interesting.  I've done that myself, and seen lots of others doing it as well. There are times when it is perfectly reasonable, eg when you're about to meet a large artic who would have a lot of trouble chicaning round you if they had to pull into a small passing space.  Provided nobody is going stupid fast, it's a safe and reasonable thing to do.  Mind you, I completely agree that there are a lot of muppets touring the highlands in large rental campervans, who have obviously never been on a busy single-track before

Cheers, Andy

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In reply to :

Well, I think that's my quickest ever dislike.  Looking through what I said, I can only assume they are 

a) a pillock

b) someone who objects to the very existence of campervans parking on principal

c) a fan of the Fairy Pools, or

d) a muppet in a large rental campervan

Sadly, I'll never know which, so it will either keep me awake all night, or maybe I'll just take the DILLIGAFF approach

Cheers, Andy

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 simes303 04 Sep 2020
In reply to ScraggyGoat:

I can't really comment on what you may or may not have seen. Thank you for correcting me, although similarly, you aren't really qualified to comment on what I may or may not have seen.

We absolutely did not see one case of any of the things you mentioned, in a whole month: One week on the West coast, one on Mull, and two in the Outer Hebrides. All the locals we spoke to were helpful and friendly, in fact often keen for a good chat. We never once came across any hostility. The same goes for last year - we went away for five weeks in a broadly similar area. As I said before, it's not people living in vans that's a problem, it's the attitude of some of the people in some of those vans.

Regarding what you said about CalMac ferries. We took a ferry from Oban to Mull and back again a week later, then Oban to Castlebay on Barra, two internal Hebridean ferries, and a ferry from Stornoway to Ullapool. Not once were we asked to show any proof that we had site accommodation booked (We hadn't, my partner and I have a combined income of around £1500 per month and for us, paying for campsites is just out of the question).

Also as I've said before, we picked up litter at all the places we stayed, we only emptied the toilet where it was allowed, leaving a £5 donation whenever there was an honesty box, and we did our best to buy from local shops instead of supermarkets. It is not hard to live responsibly in a van.

This whole discussion could easily be applied in miniature to the popular crags. Stanage say. Horribly eroded paths. People crapping in the ferns. Finger tape and fag ends strewn about. Vehicles crowding out the parking spots when the weather's nice. It's not very different.

It is not hard to live responsibly in a van.

I'm not going to comment on this again.

Cheers, Si.

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 ScraggyGoat 04 Sep 2020
In reply to Andy Cairns:

Not meant in anyway as a point to prove, or in a hostile way, but for general benefit;

'Rule 155

Single-track roads. These are only wide enough for one vehicle. They may have special passing places. If you see a vehicle coming towards you, or the driver behind wants to overtake, pull into a passing place on your left, or wait opposite a passing place on your right. Give way to road users coming uphill whenever you can.'

Obviously with HGV's it may be easier to 'break' the rule, but I've seen tourist drivers both car and van dive to the wrong side passing- place on many occasions just for a standard vehicle, and its particularly dangerous on free following single track.

As mentioned above I also saw plenty of responsible van-use as well.

Post edited at 20:38
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 mrbird 05 Sep 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Enjoy your van chaps and ignore this morbid bunch of absolute fuds. The rest can stick to their single lidl stumpy beer and moan to the rest of the campsite about the yellow van stain in the lakes from their bright red tents. 

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 Dom Connaway 05 Sep 2020
In reply to TobyA:

Is drink driving only a crime if you are stopped driving? Or is being over the limit whilst you are with a static vehicle that you have the keys for enough?

Intent to drive must be shown. You must also be in a public place and be in possession of the keys. 

https://www.dfrsolicitors.co.uk/site/blog/dfr-blog/what-does-being-drunk-in-charge-of-a-vehicle-mean

How a prosecutor would establish intent is a question worth considering. 

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In reply to UKC Articles:

https://www.stornowaygazette.co.uk/news/people/harris-forum-calls-bye-law-requiring-western-isles-visitors-confirm-their-accommodation-2960524

Only a few years ago the outer isles felt like the last refuge from the plague of camper vans. Sad, but an understandable solution for islands only accessible by ferry.

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In reply to Dom Connaway:

> Is drink driving only a crime if you are stopped driving? Or is being over the limit whilst you are with a static vehicle that you have the keys for enough?

> Intent to drive must be shown. You must also be in a public place and be in possession of the keys. 

> How a prosecutor would establish intent is a question worth considering. 

I don't follow you. If you're 'drunk in charge', i.e. in the car (e.g. sleeping in a lay-by), how are you going to move the next day unless you abandon the car? Surely this is an unusual case of proving intent, in that the question in fact is: how do you prove that you do not intend to drive (later) while probably still being over the legal limit? Surely it's very difficult to argue that you had no such intent. I've always understood that if you're over the limit you must abandon your car, taking your keys with you. In no circumstances should you remain in it. That's how I believe the police have always seen it. If you're in the car at the side of the road, e.g. having a kip, have your keys with you, and you're over the limit, you'll be done.

Or have things changed?

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 gazhbo 05 Sep 2020
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> I don't follow you. If you're 'drunk in charge', i.e. in the car (e.g. sleeping in a lay-by), how are you going to move the next day unless you abandon the car? 

Because you probably won’t be drunk the next day?  You don’t stay drunk forever once you’re drunk.

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In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

This may be an avenue to be explored if wanting to reduce layby parking/increase campsite use. 

Snowdonia police are pretty on the ball currently, perhaps they might try using this? 

Whether it stands up in the highest court or not, I suspect many would either not drink or use a campsite in order to secure their driving licence. 

If the charges do not stick, you have still spent a day in a cell and arguing with coppers rather than climbing. Avoiding that is worth the campsite fees. 

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In reply to gazhbo:

> Because you probably won’t be drunk the next day?  You don’t stay drunk forever once you’re drunk.

You're not going to stay in that lay-by 'forever'. Anyhow, I'm talking about you being apprehended while still drunk, parked in the night, and not necessarily the next day at all. And you probably will still be technically drunk the next morning. Obviously it depends how much you've drunk, but many people don't realise how long it remains in the bloodstream. As I say, my understanding has always been that the police will charge you if you're in the car and over the limit.

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 gazhbo 05 Sep 2020
In reply to Presley Whippet:

> This may be an avenue to be explored if wanting to reduce layby parking/increase campsite use. 

> Snowdonia police are pretty on the ball currently, perhaps they might try using this? 

> Whether it stands up in the highest court or not, I suspect many would either not drink or use a campsite in order to secure their driving licence. 

> If the charges do not stick, you have still spent a day in a cell and arguing with coppers rather than climbing. Avoiding that is worth the campsite fees. 

It’s pretty unlikely any police force is going to waste their time arresting people for stuff that has no chance of sticking to resolve a parking issue.  
 

Not everyone sleeping in a van in a lay-by will be drinking and very few will be shitfaced.  If you’re in a van with a made up bed and you tell the police you intend to remain in that bed until you’re fit to drive off (which probably won’t be long) the CPS will have a pretty hard time satisfying a court that you intended to drive while drunk.  Public opinion on sleeping in a given lay-by is irrelevant.

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In reply to gazhbo:

Public opinion is relevant. If the locals are unhappy with the situation and the police are being seen to do something then that's +1 for the local police,who are partly funded through local council tax. 

In the past N Wales police had a reputation for being over zealous with speeding motorists, as a result traffic speeds reduced. 

Should they or another force choose to become overzealous on over night parking in laybys then that too will reduce. 

I own and use a van, i don't drink but the added bother of being breathalysed regularly would be an additional factor encouraging me not to overnight in lay bys.

 The whole thing will settle down now the kids are back in school anyway. 

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In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I suspect that people have been prosecuted successfully on their own property after being followed home by police and breathalysed.

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 Dom Connaway 05 Sep 2020
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Section 5 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 states:

“The defendant must prove that it was more likely than not that he had no intention of driving whilst the level of alcohol in his breath, blood or urine remained above the prescribed limit in which case, he is not considered to be in charge”.

So in  your example you very likely would be prosecuted yes. However it's worth considering that 'in charge' is is not well defined and I read that the courts are not anxious to probe into the definition. I think in practice the definition varies case-by-case and includes a list of factors such as time; location; type of vehicle; amount of blood in breath, etc. 

It's also worth having a look at the general definition of intent in law. 

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 Dom Connaway 05 Sep 2020
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

The stats on this site make interesting reading:

https://www.drinkdriving.org/drink_driving_statistics_uk.php#in-charge-over-legal-limit-statistics

In the 10 years to 2015 the rate of convictions ran at about 2000 a year for drunk in charge offences, with 24% of those charged subsequently not convicted.

I have to say I'm surprised that the numbers are that high. Small beer (sorry) by comparison with speeding where the figure is in the millions of convictions but even so I thought drink driving was something we used to do in the 70s and had  now gone away. Clearly not, sadly.

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 kevin stephens 16 Oct 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Any feedback yet from Charlie or Dale?

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