A friend recently asked me as we lay in our bivvy bags looking up at the stars, “what is the best place you’ve camped?” It’s a hard question to answer, but it got me thinking of all the great places I’ve camped. It’s hard to compare them all – I’ve had some great views from bed, been treated to spectacular meteor showers, sunrises and sunsets, been scared into running away by wild boar and had some terrible nights’ sleep in freezing conditions. I struggle to choose a favourite, they all have a different quality that makes them special. Here are some of the more scenic camp spots that I captured on film.

Verdon | France

First up is my first ever wild camp with Mum! Having flown back to Europe after a year away, I met her in France and we spent a very special week roadtripping through the south of France and the Alps. Some insider knowledge from Noé led us to this hilltop with a grand vista complete with cloudless sunset, on the edge of the Verdon Natural Regional Park.

Sprinkling Tarn | England

Twice I’ve camped on the shores of Sprinkling Tarn, and twice I have been denied views of Great Gable by the clag during what can only be described as Type 2 fun. The first occasion brings back strangely fond memories of bailing water out of the tent with a cup, having put it up in torrential rain, before squeezing into Will and Jessie’s tent for dinner. Lucy the dog lay curled up in a wet ball outside until I caved and let her in to my tent for the first time. 

The second occasion was this winter, in my now ageing one-man tent. The snow melt under the tent seeped through the groundsheet. According to my journal, the wind and driving sleet were doing its best to implode my tent, but then again the weather always feels exaggerated from the inside. I was alone this time, but very much felt Jessie’s presence. 

Markha Valley | India

The Markha valley in Ladakh had some exceptionally scenic campspots. The first was above the village of Rumbak, in the valley  that is the ‘Snow Leopard capital of the World’ and the location of the snow leopard scenes from Planet Earth 2. Needless to say the elusive snow leopard stayed out of sight, so Lizzie and I had to settle for watching snow cock, marmots and hare instead.

A couple of nights later we found a flat grassy patch next to the river. Soon after pitching the tent we were beckoned to join a small parade of villagers through the fields and to their village. There we were ushered into one of the larger houses and invited to take part in a Buddhist ceremony, involving lots of chai drinking, chanting and dousing the room in spiritual water using a peacock feather.

The following night we camped up on a vast plateau at 4800m, which is still my highest camp to date!

Kahurangi National Park | New Zealand

This unnamed peak in the Kahurangi National Park had just enough space on the summit to pitch a one man tent! I had been recommended the peak, marked only as 1424 on the map, by a DOC ranger named Richard the week before and it didn’t disappoint. The views were spectacular in every direction, stretching to the West Coast, the Nelson Lakes, and over the 1000 Acre plateau. In the depths of the National Park, far away from any habitation, the views of the milky way were some of the clearest I’ve seen. Even the thin wispy galaxies of the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds were visible, as was Great Nebula.

Applecross Peninsula | Scotland

The silky smooth sea made a great backdrop for our first night on the North Coast 500. Having a good swimming spot makes any location very appealing, especially after a day of cycling.  After a dip, watching the sunset as we cooked dinner on the rocky shore ensured it was a most memorable birthdays! One of my favourite things about my tent (TNF Triarch 2) is the way it can be pitched self-standing, without the outer. The warm sea breeze washed over Andy and I at night and the stars overhead sparkled through the inner mesh.

Himachal Pradesh | India

My first camp in India was a special one! My target was a lake, Beas Kund, but having failed to find a topographical map I was armed only with a drawing based on a local’s description. Unsurprisingly, I never made it to the lake. After a bus from Manali and a hitched ride in a truck up the Beas valley, I hiked up into a hanging valley holding an immense glacier. A heavy rain shower forced me to pitch my tent early  (the idea of getting wet at that altitude wasn’t appealing, an afternoon nap was). When I woke the rain clouds had parted revealing a magnificent headwall of snow laden peaks towering thousands of meters above me. I was intimidated by the giants of rock and ice and felt uneasy without a map. I felt very vulnerable and isolated that night. 

Chaine des Fiz | France

My first time camping in the snow was memorable, mostly for the discomfort and lack of sleep. I pitched my tent in a thick cloud, unsure what view I would wake to. As it happened, come dawn my tent was flowing in and out of an epic cloud inversion. Pegging a tent in light powder snow is a challenge I hadn’t expected. Nor was the condensation freezing on the inside of my tent, before showering down as icy crystals when the wind blew. My roll mat froze to the groundsheet, all my water became a solid iceblock and I have never been so glad for the first hint of dawn light. And it was so worth it. When the sun finally crested the ridge I had a grin from ear to ear. For two days I saw nothing but bouquetin and chamois, as I traipsed through knee deep powder in fairytale landscapes, past frozen lakes and pine forests weighed down by the first snow of the winter. 

Regardless how badly I sleep, I never regret camping out.  

Black mountains with Ben. Portra 400

Chartreuse. Portra 400

Pangong Tso. Portra 160

Verdon. Fuji C200

Great views. Portra 160

Sutherland. Portra 160