Christmas Camping

Frost over Dartmoor, Devon, England


Anything I write or do now seems trivial and trite compared to what's been on my radar the last half of this year. I've almost forgotten how I used to write about beautiful things, but here we go...


In my sporadic grumps I'd been imagining spending the entirety of the Christmas period in a tent, far away from any kind of frivolity or need for explanation. Nearing the end of December it wasn't traditionally appealing weather for camping, but we bumbled down to Dartmoor to find a little wilderness. It had been a while since Burt* had been on an adventure that wasn't purely practical and the sound of him dragging our "new" bell tent up the hills reminded us why we need to buy a less rusty exhaust pipe.


*There was only so long we could refer it as the carpet van. His name is derived from his facial expression and burbling engine noises.


Mist over Dartmoor, Devon, England


We arrived just as the mist was settling over the moors. Wide, flat and spongy, but not soggy enough to drench our boots, it seemed like this spot had been crafted especially for the gigantic tent we were testing out. We feasted and drank two euro wine, left over from Calais, until it was too dark to see each-others faces and then shrunk into our sleeping bags.


I woke up to half the tent illuminated. Hoping for a sunrise, I crept to the doorway and stepped out onto the crunch of frost. Earlier than I thought, the moon was dazzling and everything was glittering in a spiky crystal coating. I slept again until it was actually morning.


Frost over Dartmoor, Devon, England


Creeping out to sunrise over the silent white moorland, I remembered for the first time that Winter isn't always the worst time of year...


Frost over Dartmoor, Devon, England
Frost over Dartmoor, Devon, England
Gorse, frost over Dartmoor, Devon, England
Frost over Dartmoor, Devon, England
bell tent camping, frost over Dartmoor, Devon, England


Shortly the sun began to thaw the landscape and we were reminded of the colours underneath the ice. When the sky is grey, Dartmoor can feel like the most desolate place in England, but that was difficult to imagine on a morning like this one.


Gorse tree, Dartmoor, Devon, England
River, Dartmoor, Devon, England


We waiting a couple of hours for our tent to defrost before taking it (and Burt) back to Exeter for a more sociable Christmas to come. Sometimes all it takes is a little wilderness to decompress and be ready to face the rest of the World. 


Dartmoor, Devon, England
(click to expand)
Dartmoor, Devon, England
(click to expand)

Write a comment

Comments: 32
  • #1

    Becky Moore (Thursday, 22 December 2016 17:53)

    Oh wow what an amazing experience this must have been and happy Christmas to you!

  • #2

    Katie Featherstone (Thursday, 22 December 2016 18:27)

    You too Becky!

  • #3

    Mary-Ann (Friday, 23 December 2016 15:44)

    We used to do things like that once upon a time and you are right, when you are in the wilderness you can start to think again...beautiful!

  • #4

    Katie Featherstone (Friday, 23 December 2016 16:18)

    Thanks Mum.

  • #5

    Amanda Williams (Sunday, 25 December 2016 23:02)

    I love your beautiful frosty pictures from Dartmouth!

  • #6

    Amanda Williams (Sunday, 25 December 2016 23:03)

    That was supposed to say Dartmoor (autocorrect grr).

  • #7

    Katie Featherstone (Sunday, 25 December 2016 23:09)

    Haha, thanks Amanda. :)

  • #8

    Chelsea (Thursday, 29 December 2016 06:45)

    What beautiful photos!

  • #9

    Jenni (Sunday, 01 January 2017 18:37)

    I have never been camping but it looks so much fun I'm gonna try and go sometime this year

  • #10

    Sheri (Sunday, 01 January 2017 19:07)

    It sounds like you had a lovely experience. I have never been camping, I am so scared of sleeping outside, plus I have a fear of creepy crawlies. I would do this when I can step out of my comfort zone.

  • #11

    Fiona Mai (Sunday, 01 January 2017 19:14)

    I'm living in Hull now and after reading your article I feel like this is the exact experience I want next Christmas. Thanks for sharing such a great post! :) happy new year and happy traveling!

  • #12

    Luxurybackpacking | Emma (Sunday, 01 January 2017 19:15)

    Wow, your pictures are absolutely beautiful! Nothing beats crisp, sunny English mornings in winter! Will definitely consider camping after this!

  • #13

    Katie Featherstone (Sunday, 01 January 2017 20:34)

    I would love to hear about your camping trips if you make it out there. Don't worry, it will be great!

  • #14

    loudy (Sunday, 01 January 2017 21:08)

    Wow what an experience it seems you are in the middle of no where. I would love to try it

  • #15

    Adam (Monday, 02 January 2017 05:23)

    You're a trooper for camping in those frosty conditions but I can say that I'm certain it was worth it as it looks incredibly gorgeous...and peaceful!

  • #16

    Katie Featherstone (Monday, 02 January 2017 11:49)


  • #17

    Ted (Monday, 02 January 2017 14:07)

    Taking photos in the low winter light is not an easy task. You did well, especially the little tree beckoning you onward with it's shadow.

  • #18

    Katie Featherstone (Monday, 02 January 2017 14:29)

    That's lovely, thanks Ted. :)

  • #19

    Del (Monday, 02 January 2017 19:09)

    That surely is a different way to spend Christmas. But it doesn't matter where you are as long as you're with family. Happy new year!

  • #20

    Agness (Tuesday, 03 January 2017 11:29)

    I have not done a proper camping so I would love to do that with my loved ones during the Christmas. The only one problem is that they prefer to stay home and cook traditional Polish dishes instead! :-P

  • #21

    Katie Featherstone (Tuesday, 03 January 2017 11:55)

    That's fair enough Agness!

  • #22

    Lydia Nasso (Thursday, 05 January 2017 18:19)

    Looks like this mini camping getaway was exactly what you needed before the Holidays. Happy travels in 2017!

  • #23

    Katie Featherstone (Thursday, 05 January 2017 20:20)

    Thanks Lydia :)

  • #24

    Sridhar Salian (Saturday, 07 January 2017 08:46)

    Brilliant photos and This is picture perfect campaign i must say. its been long time i did campaign, i will do it soon again.

  • #25

    Katie Featherstone (Saturday, 07 January 2017 13:59)

    Thank-you Sridhar! It was really beautiful. I hope you go soon too. :)

  • #26

    Harry (Sunday, 08 January 2017 01:04)

    Dartmoor looks lovely

  • #27

    Amruta Telang (Monday, 09 January 2017 08:19)

    It was truly fantastic camping dear. I have never been to camping & scared solo camping. But once in life I have to go for it, but will go with my hubby :) Thanks for sharing such an adventurous experience.

  • #28

    Katie Featherstone (Monday, 09 January 2017 11:52)

    I hope you have a great time when you take the plunge. Just make sure you have enough layers and you'll be fine!

  • #29

    harsh (Monday, 09 January 2017 20:04)

    That's my dream fantasy to camp out in the middle of nowhere! But I am too scared to do this with my wife! Your pictures are beautiful and the blog was a beautiful read!

  • #30

    Katie Featherstone (Monday, 09 January 2017 20:21)

    Scared to camp with your wife, or she's scared of camping?! haha

  • #31

    Adrenaline Romance (Sunday, 22 January 2017 18:58)

    Whoa! That is a beautiful campsite. Perfect, actually, because it's near a running water source. The landscape is simply stunning!

  • #32

    Cez of Etramping (Friday, 17 February 2017 05:24)

    This looks like it was such a great trip. I agree with you about some time in the wilderness; it will put everything into perspective!

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