As the sun dips below the horizon, the tipi is engulfed by darkness and the realisation of complete isolation ~ The fear of the unknown ~ Every sound and movement beyond the canvas brings a shiver ... And then, as fast as it came, Mother Nature soothes it away with a security blanket of calmness and deep connection.
This time last week I was camped out on the shoulder of Haystacks in the Western Fells.. Just myself, my husky Bella and my trusty Polish Lavvu Tipi. After hiking for a few hours, taking in summits and scenery, we found a perfect little camping spot out of the wind, and just above Blackbeck Tarn. Off came the antique leather strapped backpack, that had carved a bruise in to one shoulder, and on went my snuggly NorthseaClothing jumper.
Yes, I could have bounced up in polyester or nylon, with a lightweight tent and backpack (and have done many times in the past), buy Hygge to me is feeling the weight of the pack, and the exertion of my little crusade, feeling the elements through natural fibres.. it’s feeling a bruised shoulder a week later and remembering the personal journey.. and sleeping beneath a shelter which may have been used by the Polish army on expeditions and adventures before me.
The Polish Lavvu Tipi consists of two cotton canvas Polish Army Ponchos, which you simply button together and peg down before propping up with one internal pole in the centre. The design is so beautifully simple and hyggelig.
N 54°30.3217’ W 003°14.0515’ Alt 491m
The pitch looked as though it had been camped on previously, with a little pile of rocks perfect for cooking on. As with all my wildcamps, wildbrews or campfires, I always ensure to leave no trace of my visit.
After a warming brew of Hygge&Wyld Coffee, and some food, it was time to bed down, snuggle up with Bella and listen to the wind howling around us. With no one for miles around, and no phone connection (other than a couple of bars and a hint of 4G found by scrambling the crag behind the tent) I was completely disconnected from society .. and entirely connected to the environment.
Fear of the dark, and the unknown, is programmed so deeply within the human physche, yet after just a few minutes into the wild night it is lost and replaced by an unrivalled peace. Despite the wind bellowing at the base of the tipi, and the cold nipping at any exposed skin, I was more cosy, and felt more hyggelig, in those hours than I ever have done within bricks and mortar.
Life within modern society has become so disconnected from nature and it’s energies .. time spent rewilding gives an opportunity to re-tune our balance, and re-connect to nature and our inner spirit.
Útiseta, was the ancient Nordic practice of ‘sitting-out’ in nature, often through the night, to seek spiritual enlightenment, and connection to the natural world.
Útiseta connected seers to the spiritual world, whilst giving wisdom and strength to warriors. Like meditation, and much like Hygge, it’s the mindful practice of connection through disconnection.
I can’t remember what I dreamt of last night whilst tucked up in bed, but I can remember how I felt on every wild camp... I remember nights in the Brecon Beacons where I heard horses munching at grass around me, or a harmonica being played beside me.. only to emerge from my bivvy bag to a still moonlit night with no one to be seen. I remember wild dreams and noises in the night in the Pyrenees.. and I always remember waking feeling stronger, WyLD’er and more deeply empowered and in-tune with myself and nature.
Wild-Camping is the modern day equivalent to Útiseta, a way of re-connecting and re-energising our inner spirit with the natural world.
From the Finnish Poem - The Kalevala
Many runes the cold has taught me,
Many lays the rain has brought me, Other songs the winds have sung me,
Many birds from many forests,
Oft have sung me lays in concord
Waves of sea, and ocean billows,
Music from many waters,
Music from the whole of creation,
Oft have been my guide and master.