I've recently joined a few naked hiking groups on Facebook, here in the UK, and it seems to me there is a strong growth in this pastime. Group members flag up that they are going on naked hikes, inviting others to join them, often with less than a day's notice, but every day there will be a least 5 or 6 separate individuals or groups going for naked walks in the countryside of Southern England.
I think this is the tip of the iceberg, since most people probably keep their walks and locations private so as not to attract attention. Since very few women get involved in nude hiking, or so it seems, and I personally don't wish to join groups of naked men wandering the fields and lanes, I'm forced to walk alone, which has its own dangers and issues. A few weeks ago I was walking on a route I use a lot and a female runner caught up with me just as I was turning a bend. We exchanged greetings and she was happy to chat with me for a couple of minutes before carrying on her run. A minute or so after she was gone a couple of male hikers came by and gave me a very aggressive look which made me feel quite threatened. They carried on, but it got me wondering how safe it is for a naked singleton to be out in the middle of nowhere. Who knows, the runner may have made a comment to the hikers about me, although our interaction was very amicable and brief. People still react in different ways, so maybe, sadly, when
I'm alone, I need to cover up if anybody appears. I would like to find a way to overcome this potential threat, but intolerance towards public nudity still exists quite strongly in our society, so I fear there is still a long way to go before it's completely safe to enjoy nature how we wish to.