Camping and out door leisure is making a very real come back here in the UK. The Camping and Caravan club’s numbers have doubled over the last few years. As more people realise the beauty on their doorsteps they want to get out and visit our National Parks and Ares of Natural Beauty. Sadly with the increase in numbers the prices of the camp sites are also souring. Leaving the only other option open to some is to wild camp or to sleep in their vehicles overnight and move onto a new area tomorrow or the next day.
Many of our rural car parks can be havens of safety when caught out in a an area you are unsure of. There are many farmers and land owners now bridging the gap by allowing people to pitch on their fields and land for a small fee in exchange for some home comforts to make your stay easier, but this doesn’t suit everyone, myself included on some occasions. Sometimes its solitude your after when you settle on your newest favourite spot in the wilds. Waking up to the sun rise will the kettle boils is an absolute pleasure after a week of town living and all that comes long with that. The only thing demanding your attention is the view and the sound of the birds coming awake as you both watch the sun rise.
As the increase in wild camping continues to climb, so do the reports made by people out in these lonely places, the quiet country layby, or forestry track in the woods, alongside our Rivers and Streams are people who report seeing the strangest of ‘Creatures’ ‘Lone Figures’ impossible to explain, but there non the less. Who do you share this experience with? Who do you tell, as our next witness can attest, not all people are accepting of your encounter and some merely scoff. Being a person who is not believed on daily basis I can understand the frustration it brings, having to validate yourself on a continuous basis. Speaking to other people who have experienced a similar situation to you can make things a little easier. The lady who made this next report is an outdoors kind of girl like myself. She walks the woods, enjoys nature and from time to time enjoys the solitude of our National Parks at night when all the visitors have returned home or to their holiday accommodation. Although busy in the day time like most of our tourist areas Snowdonia can be very full of people but at night the park takes on a whole new Majesty.
I didn’t have my zoom lens on the camera so I had to take a photo at a distance. If you look in the middle of the frame you can see the deer’s eye, it was glinting which caught my attention and I watched it for a while, the photo below is a cropped version but its just to show how a little bit of fear can make you more aware of animals around you.
I could not agree more with this ladies comments, once you have seen something impossible it throws everything you know up in the air and you have to scramble to find normality again. Your world is changed in an instance, never to be the same again if Im honest. You see something that can not exist, something declared as myth and legend, yet it is there right in front of you and if your lucky its running in the opposite direction away from you and not advancing. In the flash of a lightening strike, two worlds collide, both caught out in the bright light. Where do you go to report this? How do you have a conversation about this over lunch or coffee or a pint at the pub? There are so many people out camping that I doubt these reports will slow down, In fact it seems to be the opposite of that. The accounts are increasing daily. Here are some other accounts from the area or from people camping here in the UK.
Thetford Walking Figure in the Dark and Something crossing the lane June 2017
I live quite close to Thetford Forest and have over the years had a couple of strange experiences whilst out in the Forest itself and i wanted to share them with you.
First Experience: The first thing that happened to me, happened when I stayed outdoors overnight by the Little Ouse River. We had canoed up stream from Santon Downham until we reached the weir and river gauging station. We drifted back downstream a little to a suitable location to pull the canoe out of the water and with suitable trees to set up our hammocks for the night. We walked until we were far off the beaten track and decided we would set up camp for the night in the spot we found. It was about 2am when we settled into our hammocks to get some sleep. All was quiet at first and then we both heard slow and deliberate movement that approached the camp and us, we both asked each other at the same time “Is that you?” and we both answered “No, I thought it was you moving!?!?”
We remained silent and the sound of footsteps circled us before slowly walking away. Whatever It was was walking around and It would pause if we made any kind of noise and then It would start up again if we were quiet? In the first light we could clearly see the trampled down tall grass and the route It took to and around us before continuing along the river bank. There is no path along by the river where we stayed, only tall grass and very vicious stinging nettles that could sting through your jeans. It was all really strange. Someone had walked up to the camp and walked slowly round the hammocks with enough noise we could hear them and then off again along the river.
As we paddled back in the morning we went over what we had seen and heard to try and work out what or who it could’ve been. It could have been a person but I find it strange they would be walking along an overgrown river bank in the dead of night with no torch or light to guide them? How did they manage not to trip over, fall in the river or not to react to being stung by the nettles? The only thing we could think of was It had to walk upright on two legs, this is based on the sound of the footsteps and the tracks in the long grass and nettles, plus I have good night vision and we were very aware of our surroundings. I don’t think either of us wanted to say exactly what we thought It could have been in case it put either of us off bush crafting in the forest. Neither of us felt scared or unsettled at anytime while whatever It was investigated our camp.
The second Account Happened the morning of Sunday 25 June 2017: I got up early and decided to take my dog for a good long walk through the forest. I parked my car down a forest track that has right of way with vehicle access permitted. We set off as normal, birds singing, cool air with the warmth of the sun just detectable on the skin. My dog normally walks about 2-3 meters in front when off the lead. She does seem to think that all creatures in the forest are potential play friends. She is also friendly to other people and dogs, she barks or rather yaps excitedly to engage the other dog to engage in chase me. I like to think I know her barks and their meanings quite well by now.
The walk goes well with nothing out of the ordinary. We go by a potential overnight bush craft location and I see a woven willow or hazel screen has been erected at a spot that overlooks the railway line and Little Ouse river valley.The screen has about 4 rectangular apertures at various heights as if for binoculars to be used through. It is too far off the beaten track and marked trails to be for the average visitor. The grass is not trodden down near it so has not been used too much just yet. We carry on and take a shortcut back to the car.
I put the travel harness on my dog and clip her in. Start the car and slowly head down the track to exit the forest. I have the windows down to enjoy the cool breeze and smile at my dog with her head out of the window. All of a sudden her head appears between the two front seats and she is staring at something ahead. Nothing I say or do will break her stare so I begin to scan the track and verge ahead for a person, a dog or deer perhaps? I am aware she has now stood up and is leaning forward as if to get a better look or to be in up front. I cannot see anything out of place up the track ahead of us but I do slow down to a crawl just in case something should run out in front. All of a sudden she starts barking at full volume. This is not her greeting bark, it is so much more deeper and powerful. In between each bark she now growls and her top lip is curled back showing her teeth. In the 5 years I have owned her she has never ever displayed this behaviour. I stop the car and try to reassure her all is okay. She does all she can to keep looking ahead with snarls, growls and deep powerful barking. I like to think I know my dog well but this did unsettle me a little. I decided to carry on driving in the hope of passing whatever is causing her to be so agitated. By now she is pulling against her harness and I have never ever heard the sounds she is making before, I have also never seen her so agitated and focused on what she has decided is a threat. I keep scanning the track ahead and verges but I see nothing out of the ordinary.
As i’m driving I try to keep an eye on her to try and see her turn and face whatever it is when we pass by, but I also keep an eye the track ahead. For a moment I consider turning the car around and leaving the forest via the long way out to avoid whatever is the cause of her agitation. Up ahead coming out of the verge of tall grasses, bracken and nettle is something moving from the left to the right. Its movements looked fluid and deliberate. My first thought was It is a vehicle of some type? But the idea is quickly dismissed as how would It fit through the trees and who would it be? Before I can get a better look, it has crossed the track and I could no longer see It. I did not get a chance to have a good look and see any detail because of the distance and speed as It crossed the track. It was a grey/brown in colour with no sharp/defined outline such as a vehicle. My mind is trying to match the image with what It could be. My dog is still growling, snarling and barking. As we pass the spot where It crossed I could see a parting of the bracken and grass but not like a deer trail that is clearly defined. My dog is now facing the way the creature has gone, her hackles up, snarling, growling, deep barking and in a wide defensive stance. She then faces out the rear still barking until we get on the main road and head home. I still have no idea what crossed that path and upset the dog so much, but she has never acted this way before.
I was meant to be spending tonight wild camping in the forest close to the sighting area but I have decided to give it a miss for the time being. I will bring my dog (on the lead) with me for two reasons, firstly for company and secondly to see if she reacts and gives me a warning to remove myself and her from the area.
Willingham Woods Figure and Whoops 2007
We were camping in Willingham woods, as we are keen bird watchers, on the first night of camping everything was fine, on the second night we were startled by a loud screech/howl, not a noise we have heard before, I asked my husband what bird it was making the noise but he had no idea, we left the tent to look as it was about 3 am and it was very quiet and still out there.
As we looked out of the tent off to my left about eye to eye with myself I saw greenish eye shine, that settled us as it was dark and my husband explained it was probably just an owl, at that point the owl stood up to about 7 ft in height and started to “walk” off away from us. we packed up at 6 am and will not be re-turning.
Hi Deborah, i have followed your page etc for a while. And to be honest I always found Bigfoot in the UK a bit of a push to believe, but i am very open minded and am quite well known in Big Cat Research in the Southeast, I have camped out in many places overnight and spent days out in the woods in the search of Britain’s Large Cats. I know the diverse habitats in the UK and i understand how large intelligent animals can stay hidden from people and thrive quite easily. I’m used to bush crafting and nature’s structures and even I am finding things i can’t explain, Like the night in question, I’m not claiming it was a wildman or a cat, I’m simply stating some very strange things happened that night, that I can not explain.
I am curious though, because about 5 months ago i had a very scary experience while solo wild camping over some baits in the valley trying to film big cats. I had set all this up earlier and was just waiting in the hope of luring something in. I had settled down at camp by the fire and was sat quietly and I noticed I wasn’t alone anymore, at first I just sensed it, but after a while it seemed like something would approach me to within perhaps 20 metres of camp and go back again, I could hear breaking sticks and ground movement and I actually thought something was throwing things in my direction. It really sounded like something was throwing branches to get my attention, and whatever It was, It stayed just out of sight of the fire, there was no lights and when I would shine my torch to the area I thought the sticks were coming from,nothing could be seen.
It was very strange and I thought at first somebody was having me one, it’s a long walk there and back for a prank, but I was certain “someone” was there, I actually would shout out to “it” and bark at It with my best dog impression, I kept thinking It was poachers. Eventually It all stopped and went quiet, so I settled down for the night. Later that night I heard a huge bang and crash. I thought it was a gunshot, but thinking about it now I think it was a tree limb being whacked against a tree. I got up and ran out of there! I went back to get my stuff the next day, the camp was fine and nothing was touched. I should add I was camping in The Chilterns and was in a place called Mantles Wood near Missenden Buckinghamshire. I live very close to there and actually found a sighting of a hominid about a mile away 20 odd years ago.
Bush Crafting in Hensol forest. A night of Stalking and Shadowing
Hello Deborah, I wanted to get in touch as something happened today whilst I was out Bush crafting in Hensol forest. There have been recent reports in the surrounding area of “Big dog attacks” on local livestock leaving many farmers worried. Its an area I like to camp out in, the forest is dense and thick with Spruce. I visit this area often and I know the usual animals, terrain and noises.
So I set up camp in a local spruce forest today with the aim of making myself some lunch and relaxing in natures banquets. I love the outdoors and I like to forage whenever the opportunity arises. It was about an hour in to the camp and I was having a good time by the fire, doing some carving and making some food. I was waiting for a friend to join me, when suddenly the mood changed and I felt like I was being watched, I couldn’t shake the feeling. I looked up to see a shadow move from tree to tree. I thought it was my friend playing tricks on me but alas as it turns out it was not. I kept watch and nothing happened, my friend didn’t walk in, but the feeling didn’t shift, it still felt like “someone” was in the trees and would pop out and shout “peepo” at any moment.
I kept waiting and nothing, then in the opposite direction of the first shadow and about 10 minutes after it another shadow darted across the wood land, this movement was in the trees so I couldn’t make them out clearly. I was convinced it was my friend, who should be walking in at any moment, we had the same co-ordinates, and both walked in a taped marked out route in to the area, we have a set plan for this, and we normally communicate with a whistle, so we can meet up, whoever gets in first sets up the camp. So I kept waiting for him to finally come out of the trees laughing. Or at least hear his whistle or him trampling in, it didn’t happen? In the end I just got on with making camp.
I then felt the being watched sensation again, I wasnt looking into the trees at this point, and my head was down blowing into the fire. I just could not shake the feeling I was being watched from within the trees, Im used to animal noises, and fleeting quick glimpses, animals move swiftly in nature, and its rare they will cause enough noise or put themselves too close to humans if they can help it.
When my friend proceeded to meet me he had to been following the path which we had marked with tape. The colours went: Red, White and Green which then led straight into the camp. He told me that he had passed Four trees in the red zone, when all of a sudden the atmosphere changed and he to started feeling as he put it “Stalked”. By this point he had to locate the next tree (which in a dense pine forest is very difficult) and he began to walk faster toward the camp. He described the immediate feeling of danger and said that branches were snapping as if someone or something was making a run at him. He sped up and began to sprint toward the camp whilst simultaneously blowing the whistle to locate the exact spot where I was set up. The whole time he was hoping it was me playing tricks on him, but I was at the camp site hoping he was playing tricks on me.
We didn’t speak about it till we got home,and we were both a bit shaken up knowing it wasn’t each other. He described a similar feeling to me, a knowing that you are being watched, but not knowing who or where the feeling is coming from. So I presumed he would come in and mention at least how clever he was at scaring me, but he didn’t say anything to me? He explained after he had made it into camp and I as didn’t say anything he decided to stay quiet about it so as to not freak me out. I must add that we both felt safe beside the fire.
Kielder Forest Continuing Accounts
A few months back, I decided I would do a stealthy motorbike wild camp up near Kielder Forest, nothing fancy, just a tarp and a bivvy for cover. I settled in for the night and at about midnight I heard something moving around. I wasn’t mistaken – something large was crashing around me in the undergrowth. Every time I shone a light in the direction of the crashing sounds, they stopped… I’ll be honest, I was scared and I have included the video so you can see what I mean. It didn’t put me off camping but I’ll be more wary when I’m out from now on.
Late November 2012: I decided I would do another night camp the other week in the same area, up near Kielder Water, just not as wild as last time (but wild enough). I was in the same spot I used last time when I heard the crashing. As the evening went on, thankfully nothing happened and I settled down expecting to sleep until morning. Then at around 3 am, I was woken by my tarp being dragged off the roof. Something or someone had pulled my tarp right of the roof! It was a still night, there was no wind to speak of, and no reason for the tarp to come off. I had tied it the way I always do and it had never happened before even in bad weather. It scared the crap out of me. I didn’t want to move, but I needed to make a call of nature and I was going to have to go out there.
Standing there in the misty gloom with my head torch on, I caught a pair of eyes about 50 ft away. I thought it was just a fox or cat at first, but then the eyes started to come closer to me, which is unusual behaviour for a fox or a cat. I jumped back in my bivvy to try to get some sleep – it wasn’t easy but I managed to in the end. I have been in the Peaks camping loads of times, but I have never been as scared as I was that night.
The Brown Thing on Ben Mcdhui 1940
Many people have written their accounts of strange creatures on Ben Mcdhui and some of them are world famous, one of the tallest creature accounts here in the UK comes from that very place taken by a gentleman called Richard Frere. He told of a friend of his who had decided to spend a night camping on the top of the mountain in 1940. Trying to sleep In his tent near the cairn he began to suffer a feeling of morbidity and a sense of unreality but finally fell asleep.
He woke up with moonlight shining through a gap into his tent and suddenly realised that he could see something brownish standing between himself and the moon. Horrified, he froze, and waited for the ‘thing’ to move away. When It did, he looked out into the brilliant moonlight and saw a large brown creature ‘swaggering’ away down the mountain side. He said the creature had ‘an air of insolent strength’ about It. Incredibly, he estimated the height of the thing to be twenty feet, and described it as having an erect posture, broad shoulders and a tapering waist.
One of the areas of shelter on Mac Dhui is a small place called the shelter stone. In the same year as the ‘brown thing’ was sighted there was a very strange encounter at the stone. In 1940, while spending a summer’s night beneath a huge block of stone on Ben MacDhui’s slope known as the Shelter Stone, Scottish author R. Macdonald Robertson and a friend were awakened by the growls of Robertson’s bull terrier, and clearly heard the sound of crunching steps approaching them along the gravel path leading to the Stone, until, abruptly, they faded away again, and the dog then relaxed.
On 26 September 2006, a gentleman made this report “I was climbing back down Ben MacDhui in May 1988 when I experienced the footsteps phenomenon mentioned by others. It was pretty misty and I was alone. But it was like ’something’ was behind me, only 10 metres or so, keeping track of me. I back-tracked to see if anyone was there. I didn’t see anything, but it was weird enough to scare me, particularly as the sounds occurred both when I was moving or stationary. It was only after I told this story to a Glasgow cousin years later that I first heard about the Grey Man.”
If you are out wild camping or holidaying with the family this month, keep a sharp eye on the woodlands and a keen ear on the wind. If you hear the crunching of feet in the gravel or shale, or see something fleeting crossing the path in front of you as you walk, please get in touch with us here and BBR and we will share your story in the hopes of finding more witnesses to these strange creatures.
Until Next Time. Deb