On the campaign trail

Posted by @ 4:57 pm on Tuesday 19th February, 2008.

I've just returned from a morning pounding the streets of Hinckley while spreading the word about the wildcamping e-petition. Several establishments are now proudly displaying the poster that AktoMan created, and the reactions appear to be favourable

I set off with 50 copies and a camera, expecting to find folk either disinterested, too busy or just out-to-lunch, but I have to say that it's a subject that seems to pique the interest of many ordinary people.

First stop was the local outdoors and workwear shop, it's a place that's popular with folk who would probably be found at Millets if the town had a branch, folk who are after kit for their kids to go on D. of E. and Scouts outings etc. The two nice ladies in there had no qualms about displaying the poster, and even found time for a chat about the subject.

Next up was the library and Tourist Information Centre, where I left a copy for approval by the chief librarian, who will contact me by email to advise whether or not they will be allowed to display it.

On leaving the building, I was stopped by a couple who explained that they were in the Ramblers Association and that they had overheard the pitch that I was giving to the assistant librarian. They asked for some copies to take to their next monthly meeting, so I gave them a dozen, along with a few relevant leads on the web, and in return I got an invitation to go to their next get-together in the pub.

Next it was time to pull in a favour, so I hauled up at the business address of an old friend. He wasn't in, but his business partner was quite vocal about the unfairness of having different sets of laws in what is supposed to be a United Kingdom (his emphasis, not mine), and then he went on to the subject of land ownership, methods of land acquisition (invasion, inheritance, clearance, purchase etc.) and whether landowners should be custodians of the countryside for the benefit of others, rather than real-estate holders who (often literally) ring-fence their investments. Room was made for the poster right in the middle of their notice-board, and he took copies to hand out to his customers. I'm to go back next week to see my mate when he's back at work, that should be productive as he's into a few outdoors pursuits himself and he'll have further contacts.

While walking back to the car I passed a computer-supplies shop and noticed that they had a window devoted to various ads, so I went in and pitched at the bloke behind the counter. It turned out that he's an occasional walker and camper, but he didn't realise that wildcamping was frowned-upon by the authorities. He was very supportive and promised to sign up, so that was another poster on another window, in a prominent place in town.



Finally, down to my last five prints, I called in at the fishing-tackle shop, which is always a good place to get folk to vent their spleens. Many anglers like to go multi-day and/or night-fishing, which generally entails pitching some sort of shelter somewhere, and there was discussion with one of the customers as to whether any rules put in place to cover legalised wildcamping would also be enforceable upon those who camp at the waterside, to clamp down on the irresponsible minority who spoil the bankside, leave litter and generally get the good guys a bad press. Posters were duly offered and accepted, and I left while the debate was still on the boil.

The main feedback from this preliminary foray is that the general public are, understandably, unaware of the general illegality of wildcamping in England and Wales, but there is agreement that the disparity in the current laws is a cause for concern and/or action. None of the folk that I spoke to said that they would be against a change in the law, all bar one said that they would support the cause. Time will tell if they actually sign up... fingers are crossed here.

I'll be on the road again later in the week, taking in the delights of other gear-shops in the area.

If you're of a mind to distribute some of these posters and you're willing to print them yourself, the picture can be downloaded from AktoMan's Flickr site, just click on the picture below to jaunt there.


E-petition poster

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14 Responses to “On the campaign trail”

  1. john hee says:

    Nice one Stef, takes a lot of pluck to do it as well, but you get on a roll once you've knocked off a few
    The Ramblers Association will be one booth I'll be working on when I hit the NEC in March methinks - it needs some "accredited" backing once the E-P closes

  2. BG! says:

    [quote comment=""]Nice one Stef, takes a lot of pluck to do it as well[/quote]

    Yeah, I've always been a cheeky plucker. :mrgreen:

  3. [...] in his local area getting posters put up in local outdoors shops, libraries etc. Read how he got on here. Well done [...]

  4. Shucks. I can't think of any time my work has been displayed. Thanks for the graft, BG!

  5. Scott says:

    I think the poster's extremely well done, not least because it actually explains what "wild camping" is supposed to entail, & mentions the "responsibilities".

    The petition, of course, doesn't.

    Notwithstanding some of the comments on some of the discussions that the wording of the petition itself isn't all that crucial, I do wonder if some folk - particularly the punter in the street, rather than the informed outdoorsman(!) - might think it's a wee bit vague & ill-defined for them to put their names to. I do, I have to say.

    Mind you, I'm a pedantic pain in the erse.

    I'll sign it nearer the deadline. I've got a bit more pontificating to do before then. 😉

  6. BG! says:

    [quote comment="1211"]... I do wonder if some folk - particularly the punter in the street, rather than the informed outdoorsman(!) - might think it's a wee bit vague & ill-defined for them to put their names to. I do, I have to say. :wink:[/quote]

    I'm in agreement with Pope Scott, Pontiff of the Boreal Regions. There's a fair bit of explaining to do to Joe and Josephine Public when it comes to describing how wildcamping is different to the other sorts. Mind you, most of the folk I spoke with were more concerned about the legal disparity, rather than the activity itself.

    Carry on Pontiff... wasn't that a Sid James film? 😉

  7. Scott says:

    Lol - I could get used to being infallible.

    And another thing - I hope that's an Ozzy tribute band in the poster in the shop window. If he was presenting The Brits last night, I can't see the real Ozzy giving it 110% at Stoney Stanton Social Club two days later.


  8. BG! says:

    [quote comment="1226"]And another thing - I hope that's an Ozzy tribute band in the poster in the shop window...[/quote]

    Are you always so easily sidetracked, Scott?

  9. Scott says:

    I just feel it's my public duty to address ALL the burning issues of the day.


  10. BG! says:

    [quote comment="1229"]I just feel it's my public duty to address ALL the burning issues of the day. :cool:[/quote]

    ALL of them?

    Right, I'll help you out by starting a list:


    Is that enough to keep you busy?

  11. BG! says:

    Oh bugger, I just realised that's the wrong list.

    That's my hobbies list.


  12. Scott says:


    As Warren Zevon (have I mentioned him before?!) put it:

    "I'm very well acquainted with the seven deadly sins
    I keep a busy schedule, trying to fit them in."

  13. [...] the petition (618 to be precise). Apparently, it ranks as 242nd highest amongst 7,866 proposals. BG has found a surprising amount of support when canvassing support in his home town. It just shows [...]

  14. BG! says:

    [quote comment="1211"]... I've got a bit more pontificating to do before then. :wink:[/quote]

    Your pontification-period must be over - I see you've just signed up. Good man!

    Best get some rest now, eh?

    Thanks, Scott.

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