Wild camping in the woods

This article was first published in The Green Parent magazine, issue no: 57 Date: February/March 2014

Wild camping in the woods

Wild places of the heart

Wild camping means camping amongst nature away from a managed campsite. Wild places hold a special place in my heart; after a privileged childhood spent outdoors as much as possible, and an enchanting gap year spent in the Himalayas, I continued to feel connected to the mountains at university by joining the hill-walking club. Here I met my lifelong partner, Richard, at the top of a Munro in Scotland (a mountain over 3000ft). Richard developed his passion for wild and mountainous places, learning outdoor skills after spending much of his formative youth in wild places in Scotland on school trips on Hebridean Islands. We both followed our shared passion for the outdoors by spending as much time as possible together in the mountains. We find that being within nature cleanses and rejuvenates the sole, offering us a true perspective on life and a much needed breath of fresh air.

Our first wild camp was memorable, spent on the beautiful, untamed, uninhabited island of Taransay, our window the waves crashing metres below our tent. From this we wild camped whenever possible, combining it with mountaineering trips in the Highlands of Scotland, North Wales, the English Lake District and the Alps. Wild camping offers seclusion and a rich experience of nature, the chance to really ‘get away from it all’, from society and our multi-media, high-tech, electronic age. It also brings a rich feeling of being self-sufficient and minimalist, in that you have to carry everything you need with you on your back, a rarity in our everyday lives.

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Our Elimination Communication Journey

Elimination Communication, or EC for short, is an alternative, more natural way of toileting babies and toddlers. It is also known as Natural Infant Hygiene or Baby-Led Potty Training (BLPT).

What it is

It is what most of the world, for almost all of human history, have intuitively practised with their offspring, just without giving it this label. It is about connecting and communicating with your baby, learning their signs and signals for when they need to go, and responding by assisting your baby in relieving themselves. To do this takes a leap of faith, both trusting your baby to communicate their toileting needs to you, and trusting yourself by really listening to your instincts. This means living in the present moment, a real challenge for many twenty-first century parents.

Parenting and EC

We parent in as gentle, natural and conscious way as we can, practising full-term nursing, bed-sharing, baby-wearing, etc. EC is simply an extension of this. I am also attracted to the minimal environmental impact of EC compared to conventional toileting of an infant. I discovered EC too late to really practise it with our son Ewan, who is now 4 and a half, but was keen to try it after our daughter Tessa was born. I did some research on-line and read a few books on the topic to support me, then decided to give it a go.

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Rustic camping in spring 2013, Tessa 9 weeks old. Tessa and Ewan taking a potty break after having lunch. Note the zebra leg-warmers Tessa is wearing to keep her warm whilst on the potty.

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Sharing a love of mountains and wild places

I have a love of mountains and wild places. This is something I really want to share with my children.

Ever since the birth of our son four years ago, we have taken him out with us on countless walks using our slings.

Ewan and Daddy checking out the map on the top of Helvellyn

One such early trip was ascending Helvellen with him in the sling, protected by an extra large waterproof jacket, in the days before we discovered the more practical baby wearing jacket and baby wearing fleece vest.
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Mothering Through Breastfeeding: Part III: Eighteen to thirty months

First published in La Leche’s Breastfeeding Matter’s Magazine, March 2013.

Nursing in a roadside cafe, a Warung, in Bali
Nursing in a roadside cafe, a Warung, in Bali

In parts one and two of Mothering Through Breastfeeding, I outlined how the first eighteen months of the very special baby-mother breastfeeding dyad developed. My son has now been breastfed every single day of his thirty months of life. This makes me very proud. So far it has proved one of the most rewarding, emotional journeys of my life. Words fail to express how fundamental breastfeeding continues to be to the relationship Ewan and I share; it is at its core. Ewan’s chuckle when he anticipates a feed, the delight shining in his eyes, says it all. He needs his milk; equally I need to feed him.
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Barefoot babies

This article first appeared in ‘The Mother’ magazine, issue 52, May/June 2012, and is reprinted with permission.http://www.themothermagazine.org/ http://www.themothermagazine.co.uk

My son is three months old. I gaze in adoration at this tiny miracle before me, fascinated by his flexible toes and soft feet, which he uses like hands to grip onto my sides. Springtime six months later, I watch transfixed as Ewan expertly crawls around our garden, using his toes to propel him forward, pulling himself up and beaming with pleasure at his new found freedom. On holiday at fifteen months, Ewan walks tentatively, steadying his balance on the deck of a ferry on the Saint Lawrence River in Canada. I almost cry with joy as he takes ten steps all at once, his little feet nestled in soft-soled slippers providing him flexibility yet protection from the ground. By mid-winter, at eighteen months old, Ewan walks confidently; beaming with pleasure as his vision and mobility reach new heights.
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Newsflash; Stoneageparent is taking a break

Tessa Rose Cole
Tessa Rose

Stoneageparent has been busy over the last few months preparing for the arrival of our second child. Tessa Rose was born at home on 9th March. We hired an independent midwife, who was wonderful during the labour and birth, without her help my long, posterior labour would have undoubtedly have meant a medicalised hospital birth. Instead I laboured in peace at home in a familiar space. It was the most difficult as well as the most amazing and profound expereince of my life.
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