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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Wednesday, 15 May 2019

May Summit Bivvy

Well, the weather has certainly been somewhat variable. Late snow falls and then a mini-heatwave gave me the idea of doing a high bivvy I had promised myself over the winter but had somehow never fitted in. 

I left around 17:30 in scorching heat and headed up towards Glenmore when I bumped into Neil out for a wee spin and he accompanied me for a bit of a chat (and was on hand to take a photo of/for me. 




Once at Glenmore, the hard work begins so it was a grind up the ski road to the Sugar Bowl car park then up the old zig-zags and thence to the car park.  





I made an effort to cycle up the main access track as much as I could but it's incredibly dry and dusty so traction was almost impossible to find. Luckily, I didn't have to cross any snow until past the Ptarmigan. What little there was created a bit of extra drag on account of it being so soft. With time in hand, I made it to the summit and worked out where the best shelter would be. 




I found a wee spot in amongst the rocks and laid out my bivvy bag, mat and sleeping bag before getting some water on for some soup. It was very relaxed, with only the occasional whirr of the Automated Weather Station for company every 30 minutes. I hoped it wouldn't be so loud as to stop me from sleeping. 







I watched the sky gradually change colour then, just after 10, I flashed Mim with my torch a couple of times and she confirmed she could see me from our bedroom window. That was quite a weird feeling; on the one hand quite remote, but with this very strong connection to home. 




I awoke just after midnight; (1) the moon turned out to be very bright, despite the overhead haze, (2) the wind had shifted and I could now feel it buffeting my bivvy bag and trying to get in the top and (3) my bladder was crying out for relief. The latter made up my mind. I quickly exited the bag, did the necessary, then picked up the bag and moved it round a bit to a big rock shelf I knew from a previous bivvy. However, I was now even more under the glare of the moon. Luckily, my hat was big enough to roll it down and cover my eyes. Though I could still hear the wind, I was now well out of it and settled back to sleep.

By 3:30 or so, the wind had turned again, strengthening too, and I was getting more buffeting which was also cooling me down quite a lot. I now faced the bivvy-dwellers dilemma - get more sleep or stare transfixed at the developing colours in the sky. 




After a while, I cooried down, knowing it wasn't too long before sunrise. At 4:30 I had the water on again for coffee. I've been experimenting with meths stoves recently, in preference to wasting partly-filled gas canisters and not had a lot of success. As it turns out, my meths was just getting too cold. This time, I had the bottle in a bag and the bag inside my sleeping bag being warmed up by my body. This worked a treat and it lit first time. 



After watching the whole of the north-east sky turn a flaming red, the sun eventually burst through and I could immediately feel some warmth from it. 




Packing away my gear, I took the mat out of the bivvy bag and found that the bottom of it was absolutely drenched through condensation. I guess an indication of (a) how cold the rock had been and (b) how well the mat worked given I had been warm enough on it all night. 

The return trip through Glenmore highlighted just how cold it had been, with frost on some of the parked cars. Back in the sunshine, however, it was again very pleasant.




Oh - and no midgies or ticks! This summit camping has much to recommend it.






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