A naturist’s view on freehiking (notably in England)

What is Freehiking?

Let’s look at Wikipedia:

Freehiking refers to naked hiking as well as a form of hiking in which the participants intentionally avoid trails and predetermined destinations. This can also be referred to as “wander hiking.”

The most interesting part for us naturists is explained further as:

The term freehiking has been used by naturists for decades to describe the activity of naked hiking. It was adopted by hikers after the sport of freeskiing gained popularity in the 1990s.

Now we’ve cleared up what freehiking is…

had to write this post because my friend Robert mentioned freehiking a few times, and then I stumbled over this tweet:

warning signPlease note the explicit mention of the UK. This is not automatically applicable to any country. This is only applicable when you are in the UK.

If you don’t want to go through the whole twitter-clicking, here is a link to the file in question:

pdficonClick here

If that is too much for you, here are the two sections from the document which are most important for real naturists:

Police action naturists

I think this is a brilliant move on behalf of the police force in the UK. Every country should adopt this – well, every free-thinking country. I understand there will be plenty of less open-minded cultures that will never accept this, but that’s up to them. Unfortunately.

I’m really excited about this development, as will be many naturists in the UK, I’m certain of that. With a police directive like that I can envision an influx of naturists in the UK. It might even do something good for their tourism.

Now, back to freehiking itself.

Have you ever done it? Have you been in the lucky circumstance that you could drop all clothes and just go for a long walk without being afraid someone would see you and make things difficult?

Freehiking in the UK

I’m glad to say I had that opportunity plenty of times. I’ve been out for naked walks in Germany, where the laws are quite relaxed as well, in the UK (even before the police pdf was published) and plenty of times on the Canary Islands.

On Lanzarote I’ve done very long walks even, the longest around 13km (little over 8 miles). The great thing during that actual walk was that I encountered people (walking, cycling and in cars) who didn’t bat an eye. Some actually greeted me.

I’ve been freehiking in Scotland as well. The benefit of Scotland, I found, is that it’s very spacious with very few people. I had a great walk near Loch Lomond.

So what about the United States?

The US is a very large country. Still I keep hearing from many people that it USA Mapis hard to go for a naked walk. It’s something I find a bit difficult to comprehend but I am not from the US of A, so please enlighten me. I’m curious to know what makes it difficult to go freehiking. I understand you don’t do that in big cities. That isn’t accepted in most places. Is it so hard for people to go out into the open where there’s space? Is the US so built up that it’s cities and towns wall to wall, back to back? Or do most people have no car? (Which I find hard to believe, as America loves its cars.)

Do you have freehiking experiences over there? Where did you do them? Were you harassed? It would be great if you can share your opinions to help others.

Nudity. British guidance.

On Twitter I found a link to this website: Nudity in Public – Guidance on handling cases of Naturism. It’s a British website.

The first section is already interesting, and… alarming:

Naturism is used to describe the activities of persons who espouse nudity as part of their lifestyle. Whilst many naturists will restrict their activities to specially designated areas and/or places where there is a tradition of naked activity, such as nudist beaches, others may wish to enjoy nudity more widely.

In the case of naturism a balance needs to be struck between the naturist’s right to freedom of expression and the right of the wider public to be protected from harassment, alarm and distress.

I am not sure how ‘harassment’ made it to this list. When someone like us, a real naturist, is lying in the grass somewhere to enjoy the sun, is that harassing someone? I understand that the clothing-only society can be “alarmed” when seeing someone naked. Plenty of people will feel distress when they look at a nude body. It’s sad but it’s how the world ticks at the moment. But harassment?

Nude in parkIs there some general fear that nudists will run up to clothed people and shake their breasts or genitals in front of their faces?

That’s more the expertise of exhibitionists, I’d say, but I’m not one of those so I speak without experience in that area.

Luckily the website clarifies this a little in the next section:

In the absence of any sexual context and in relation to nudity where the person has no intention to cause alarm or distress it will normally be appropriate to take no action unless members of the public were actually caused harassment, alarm or distress (as opposed to considering the likelihood of this).

Here is the problem of words versus people again of course. When do we speak of harassment? Some people can’t be harassed by anything, others feel harassed already when you say you heard a child’s doll fart. We’re in a tough line of life-style, folks.

balance railroadIt’s up to us to find and set the balance. Others can’t. Or won’t.