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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Thursday, 3 October 2013

New horizons

With all the recent rushing around, I almost missed out on my bivvy-a-month for September. Luckily, there are lots of spots close to home that are an easy cycle away so I set out at 9pm on 30th Sept to bash in a few miles, heading for a spot I'd attempted to camp in earlier in the year. On that occasion, I had the tent with me and a combination of frozen ground, snow and springy heather made me abandon that pitch in favour of somewhere else. This time, I was better prepared as I was simply taking a bivvy bag, mat and sleeping bag. 

The 22km cycle to the top of the hill was marvellous. Leaving the lights of Aviemore I passed Loch an Eilean and headed for Feshie Moor and the Uath Lochans. The mostly wide, dry tracks were interrupted by the sweetest singletrack by Loch Gamhna and I was on a real high by the time I started the steep climb to the bivvy spot. 

Casting around for the exact location I'd visited earlier, I noticed that the summer had brought on the birch trees a bit and that I'd subsequently have little view.  However, just a few yards away was all the view I needed and it was simply a case of unrolling everything and climbing in before my sweat started to chill. 
A beautiful star-filled sky indicated a likely drop in temperatures and since it was already after 11 I made do with a wee celebratory drink from the hipflask before tucking right into the bivvy bag and dropping off to sleep remarkably easily, proof of how tiring the last couple of weeks have been. 

I inevitably woke up a few times in the night but didn't grudge any of them as I was able to watch the moon rise and the stars multiply before catching the first pre-dawn glow over the horizon to the north west.




As it got brighter, I reckoned I'd head home for a decent breakfast so gobbled down a Clif bar, packed everything up and made my way back towards home, arriving back before 8:30. Less than 12 hours outside, but seemingly a whole world away.



This trip was a perfect example of the advantages of a bivvy bag over a tent. The ability to choose any spot to sleep rather than being constrained by tent pegs and pitching area gives a whole new flexibility and those brief moments of lucidity through the night give a chance to see the world changing around you more than the inside walls of a tent ever can. Any weight advantage of the bivvy bag is just an added bonus. Mind you, that might be it for the year. There's something very cosy about a tent when the weather gets very chilly and it's raining or snowing and as we head into the last three months of the year, I'm sure I'll be glad of that.