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The best laid plans – Phase 3 – The desperate fall back plan

The first part of these articles is available here.

This is the point where the world fell apart and you were caught unawares and trapped at home. You have survived the aftermath and are looking at relocating for some reason. Perhaps you want to move to your more defensible and better stocked retreat or you are looking at moving away from some aggressive neighbours. Either way you need to consider this carefully as abandoning your base, travelling through unknown territory to a new location is a hazardous endeavour. You really should consider moving as desperate.

There have been many articles written about travelling after an event many by people with experience of traversing hostile territory and many by people like me who have an opinion on things. This is an opinion one and is based on many assumptions.

  1. The world fell apart quickly. Everybody was caught off guard. Including you.
  2. Key roads are gridlocked with traffic who were all trying to get home or away.
  3. Bodies are going to be everywhere.
  4. Nobody has moved around for a long time.
  5. There are no tolls or roadblocks manned on back country roads.
  6. Most people will be scraping a living like you.

Decide where you are going. Look at it on the map and check the routes in and out. Is it going to be a destination for many others? Could it be a place where many people could be such as a holiday town or an Army camp? Is it somewhere you know for certain that will be suitable for you? Even now after all this time? Or is your plan to wander until you find somewhere to settle? If so plan your route out to include as many off road areas as possible to include abandoned farms or suitable countryside where you could set up a permanent camp. I believe there will be thousands of suitable places within 20 miles, if you are outside a city anyway, where you can set up a permanent secure retreat that will give you access to water, room to grow crops and provide animals to hunt. Bear in mind that a concrete pig sty next to woods could be your ideal first home. It doesn’t need 5 bedrooms with a sea view.

When you look at the journey you need to make be realistic. Some journeys will be impossible or just too dangerous to try. For example if you are in Edinburgh and are looking to go to London then you would have to be pretty desperate to make that journey when there are certain to be safer places much closer. Even if you are in communication with London the travel time will take months. Perhaps OK if you are on your own but impossible otherwise especially if you have more than a bug out bag to carry.

The next thing you have to decide is what mode of transport you are going to use. I would guess that buses, vans and trucks would be definitely out of luck but certain 4x4s may be OK. They may be able to use fields to go around blocked roads. What about motor cycles? They too can use fields but would be better placed to manoeuvre around blocked roads. Depending on distance, another good option would be pedal bikes. They would have the advantage of being quiet as well. I don’t see people with road blocks at this stage as the pickings would be poor. People will still be recovering and consolidating including the bad guys. Being fast and manoeuvrable should get you in and out before a large gang could set up a roadblock and if an odd person tries to stop you then you could just run the gauntlet whilst exchanging fire. If you are armed of course. Being on pedal bikes would be reliant more on stealth, watching what is ahead and working around things. No lights, noises and using radios to communicate. My planned retreat is 1 hr away driving. Let’s say a day on a pedal bike from first light, 3 hours on motorbikes, I would go out myself and recon the route, note where it is too blocked for a truck and if I thought I could make it with a truck I would use that instead and make one trip. Staying overnight on route would not be a good decision. I have enough diesel stored for several trips in my car to the retreat. I would hope to pick up more from abandoned cars but am not counting on it although there is likely to be some. Even without gives me enough fuel for several trips in my car or the truck.

The plan would be. Return any stores, kit, etc. we are not taking to our original cache points and seal them up as best we could. Bed early with getting up pre dawn, if our alarm birds go off and getting a good meal. Moving out as soon as we could see.

I would be looking at doing my travelling during the day, starting first light and for motorbikes, keeping up a good pace, not stopping and watching ahead for traps. For pedal bikes my preference, starting at first light but sending out a scout, using radios to arrange starts and stops. Hiding where you can, under bridges, by garages etc. For the travelling all would be in camo or dark gear. Armed where we could. Minimum gear just enough food for the trip and essentials. Remember we are travelling to our retreat. If the roads were clear, there was little life and it looked safe some of us would come back, load up as many vehicles as was safe and bring all our kit, tools, plants, stores etc. Making one and only one more trip if it was absolutely safe. The real intention would be a one off trip though.

My biggest fear then is arriving at my planned retreat to find another group in residence. Perhaps even with some of my stores and equipment. That wouldn’t be good.

3 comments to The best laid plans – Phase 3 – The desperate fall back plan

  • Justin

    I plan on moving on foot due to numbers. 5-10 miles max a day. Gives me a chance to scout the route, move carefully through unknown areas, save calories by going slow, forage (if possible) on route, make sure no traces are left, etc. Break camp at dusk and walk through part of the night. I know the pros and cons of it and am satisfied. Not happy because I know the risks involved of doing it this way, but satisfied. Several possible locations in mind, all that end in low pop density coastal areas. Mainly for the added calories from the sea and seashore forage. I’m not a great fisherman but am capable. I know sea shore forage but am no expert. Have books and myself to teach others. Books are mainly for if I am a casually for some reason and am not with them.

  • Skean Dhude


    Makes sense. It sounds like you don’t have a destination in mind. You could find one that suits your party before you hit the coast.

    My only concern would be with your plan is you will have to carry most of your own food plus whatever you need to set up where you end up and you don’t know what will be there. That could slow you down a lot. Are you considering some carts that could be taken with you. You take turns hauling, resting and scouting if you have a big enough team. Plus a big group is never quiet and can be seen for miles. If spotted you cannot travel very fast to escape. I’d still consider pedal bikes as a viable option.

    Why don’t you go down in the direction you want to travel now on a pedal bike and see what you can find out about the route and facilities while it is safe.

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