Photo credit: Zac Bentley

Extreme ‘wild sleeper’ and internationally renowned author Phoebe Smith inspired a Cumbrian audience to spend more time in the landscape at an evening event hosted by Friends of the Lake District on 21 September.

From sleeping inside a glacier near the Arctic circle, suspended from a small hammock from the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, or in the caves on the fells of the Lake District – Phoebe described the sense of being an integral part of the landscape and how wild camping can inspire awe and wonder in all ages.

Phoebe encouraged the audience to start with the small hills to help build confidence and fitness. In her view being out in the countryside brings out the best in people and that all people need for an adventure is a tent and a sleeping bag, not man made attractions like zipwires and cable cars. She  called for people to focus on the stories of  wild places to help capture the imagination of young people.

At the end of her talk, around 50 people joined her on stage behind a big banner to show their support for Friends of the Lake District’s ‘National Park, Not Theme Park’ position.

Friends of the Lake District’s Chief Executive, Douglas Chalmers says: “Our guests were impressed by Phoebe’s energy and her insistence that the art of enjoying the landscape is to be part of it.

“We would certainly agree with that. Whether we want peace and tranquillity or self-generated thrills and excitement, the landscape is not a static entity to simply look at or walk on. Proper immersion includes feeling, smelling, listening and even tasting. Doing so, and understanding – really getting to grips with the landscape, can do so much for our physical and spiritual wellbeing.”

Friends of the Lake District believes that the Cumbrian landscapes should be free and accessible for all ages and abilities to enjoy and to benefit from. If you wish to find out more about this, and their other work, visit