Mostly, this is random stories from my various trips as I collect them, but I've a wee backlog to get through too and those will pop up occasionally.

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Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Protracted Farewells

Re-organising my life around a move north carries on apace. In the meantime, I've been looking at the calendar and wondering how I can fit in Augusts bivvy-a-month. It was clear it would have to be a time-constrained effort and that really meant local. As a bonus,that would give me a chance to  try somewhere that's been on my mind for some time. So, after dinner on Sunday night, I threw a sleeping bag, bivvy bag, a couple of snack bars and the ubiquitous hipflask into the Viscacha saddle pack and headed off up the Pentlands.

As I rode along, the evening sun was just setting behind me so I stopped for a quick photo. 


Sun setting over Bonaly

I arrived at my destination, Allermuir Hill, just before 9pm and found an ideal little spot where a semi-circular ring of stones had been formed into a low, crude shelter. The centre was still grassy so I knew I'd be comfy enough even without a sleeping mat. Having arrived slightly sweaty, I was now beginning to cool down so, spreading out the bivvy, I slipped into it and started to warm up while watching the street lights below. 


Sharing my adventure with 500,000 other folk. I had the best view though

Before long, i began to see the sea haar spreading in off the Forth, casting a weird spell on the capital city, gradually extinguishing the lights and leaving a glow instead.


Haar enveloping Edinburgh Castle
Those who decry the use of a bivvy, preferring a tent (I was one of them) are missing something. How often have you sat in one place for three hours, just watching nature takes its course? While I sat here, the moon rose, the haar waxed and waned and gradually the stars popped out. 


Moon over East Lothian

Eventually, tiredness caught up with me and I nodded off to a lovely sleep. I woke up a couple of times in the night, to turn over or adjust my body "just so" to avoid a rough patch of ground and I was aware of the mist having slid up the side of the hills to wrap me in damp air. When I woke to find the sky a bit lighter, I decided to get ready to head off and managed to catch the first rays of the sun as it rose through the mist. 

Early sun over Caerketton


Bike packed ready to head home

Thankfully, the mist also started to recede off the hill tops, leaving me with some stunning views of Edinburghs high points poking out. 


The distinctive "sleeping lion" of Arthurs Seat
As I turned away for home, I was aware that I was gradually letting go of Edinburgh and the Pentlands, where I've done so much riding these past few years. It's still pretty amazing that we are blessed with an area of relative wilderness so close to the city and that it has survived the explosion in recreational use. Here's hoping it stays like that and that I'll be back to enjoy it before too long.