Bivvy a Month 2021

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Landslide
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by Landslide » Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:17 pm

Make the most of it I reckon, it's lovely out on this side of the Peak.

Raggedstone
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by Raggedstone » Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:32 pm

Wonderfully coordinated luggage Reg :cool:

Have a good time with whatever or whoever s out there .

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RIP
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by RIP » Fri Apr 16, 2021 3:31 pm

Raggedstone wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:32 pm
Wonderfully coordinated luggage Reg :cool:
Mmm... grey is the new black. Apart from the black bits which are, er, the old black. (Shades of Eric Olthwaite there - even the grey bits were black).
"My God, I'm two-thirds of the way to the grave and what have I done?" - RIP

"It is in the petty details, not in the great results, that the interest of existence lies" - JKJ

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shutuplegs
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by shutuplegs » Fri Apr 16, 2021 5:43 pm

Early finish at work meant I could go for a long ride. Took the road tourer to head off into the New Forest for fish and chips.

Came back via Salisbury (the Russians were right, it is a nice Cathedral!) and bedded down in local spot. Nice and sheltered from the wind. Oddly enough it’s a memorial to a horse...

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Early start to avoid the dog walkers. Back home for a quick nap before jumping back behind the desk.

4/4 and met my initial target to make it to April. Next target, all 12 I guess :-bd
“We live and learn, and big mountains are stern teachers” - HW Tilman.

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sean_iow
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by sean_iow » Fri Apr 16, 2021 6:10 pm

shutuplegs wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 5:43 pm
Oddly enough it’s a memorial to a horse...
Farley Mount? I'd never considered that as a bivi spot but I've only been there in the day when it's busy.
Adventure without risk is Disneyland - Bikemonger

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Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by RIP » Fri Apr 16, 2021 8:03 pm

After a very relaxing journey I stepped out into the metropolis of Macclesfield, waved in the general direction of the Macc Lads, then decided that if I was going to get up the notorious Buxton Road without expiring I would need some sustenance. The Waters Green chippy was just over the road, so chips and beans were purchased. Cash only! Anybody remember that stuff? Good job I slung a tenner in my pocket just before I left. Some of the best chips I’ve ever had actually. Can’t stand those white flabby jobs, and these were nice and crisp and brown. Off we head up the vertical west face of Buxton Road, a slow plod, with plenty of time to find somewhere to kip that night.

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It made sense (eh?) to crash out near Macclesfield somewhere, preferably after getting most of the way up into the hills, and start fresh the next day. They can be a bit iffy about wildcamping in Macclesfield Forest so after I’d switched on my bivvy-spot radar at the start of the hill it was a stroke of luck to find a likely looking shed in the middle of nowhere. Closer inspection showed no lock (well, no door either!) – I’m not into breaking and entering, just the entering part.

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Perfect. Make sure no sheep are watching while I set up my squat in their home, lay out my gear, and partake of a late snack whilst watching the sun set. From this elevation at 1500’ you can see pretty much all of Cheshire, the Wrekin over in Shropshire nearly fifty miles away, the skyscrapers of Manchester, and even the sea glinting near the Wirral also nearly fifty miles away. I spent a good hour just sitting there, and because there were no planes from Manchester airport the skies were fantastically crisp and clear.

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A nice early night. Although sadly not that much sleep since a real wind blew up and rattled all the corrugated iron, and temperatures of -3degC outside didn’t help much either, even with two baselayers, two fleeces, and a down jacket on. I was glad I’d brought my Exped Winterlite mat rather than the Hyperlite, and even my -9degC bag was struggling to maintain any semblance of warmth.

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Luckily nothing froze overnight in my various bags, so it was porridge and ovaltine on the 22g stove for breakfast at 06.30am.

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Up and away by 7am, past the tiny church at Macclesfield Forest and a quick look round the graveyard. Further on there was also a minute chapel with the smallest graveyard I’ve ever seen. As a connoisseur of graveyard bivvies I’ll squirrel that away for another time.

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A little ray of sunshine for each inmate

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Another slow plod uphill brought me to the Cat & Fiddle Inn and decision time. I’d thought of heading down into Buxton for a second breakfast then on towards Millers Dale or somewhere. A quick spin of the route roulette wheel and it lands on red! Oh. OK, not Buxton then, looks like we’re going SE instead. Towards Monyash perhaps. Then I remembered the Flash Bar Café, on the Buxton-Leek road. Time for a second breakfast after all! A gentle amble across Danebower Hollow and its peat groughs and frozen puddles, then through the old quarries at Danebower, brings us to England’s highest village at Flash.

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Order a mix-n-match veg breakfast and then sit outside in the bright sunshine with views right over towards Sheffield – I can see the mast at Sir William Hill from here. It reminded me of the final episode of Coogan & Brydon’s “The Trip” where they sit outside The Angel at Hetton and have breakfast in crisp January sunshine, except mine was half the price of theirs and had a much better view :smile: . And mine had “oven roasted tomatoes” with the stalks still on! How trendy is that?

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Like any self-respecting café they also had some shelves stacked with extremely obscure ales, and this one took my fancy. Rich vanilla stout – from BearBonesTown brewery! Ah hang on, BearTown brewery. Close. Almost had it for breakfast but managed to stash it in my barbag just in time.

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Now very chipper after my excellent breakfast, I made the snap decision to eat and drink my way down the Dove valley and see where we ended up – further and further away from a railway station for one thing. Because I’ve got a map on my bars it’s easy to look a long way ahead and try and plot a route taking in as many tracks and bridleways as possible. Things don’t always go to plan as this bridleway is slightly soggier than advertised having been commandeered by a farmer for drainage.

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If you know where this spot is please keep quiet about it because it’s one of the most relaxing and idyllic corners I’ve ever found. I spent half an hour just lying in the grass listening to the stream and the birds tweeting, nobody else around, no roads nearby, and no other sounds. There was even a barn for a future cheeky bivvy.

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Here’s a photo of a vehicle that’s seen life and suffered a lot of punishment, plus an old four-wheeled wagon as well…

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After lots of random turns, dead-ends and various other route changes, a long and sweeping downhill bridleway sees me screaming into Hollinsclough to find a nice little trough for a water top-up.

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From here a track leads on down the valley, past the arresting “Matterhorn” of Chrome Hill, and an entertaining splash through the ford. It’s not a proper trip unless you’ve wet your feet in a few fords.

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A short lunch stop at Longnor ensued, for a cheese and pickle sarnie and an hour’s sit outside on the square with a coffee and bit of cake watching the world go by. This is the life, I could get used to this. No mileage, no numbers, no route, no problem.

Even I drew the limit at this water supply. Looked a bit chewy to be honest and probably more than a match for my Trailshot.

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However this one was well worth stopping at for a few draughts of limestone-pure water. There are a lot of springs around here and after a friendly chat with the farmer he allowed me to cross his field to get to this one. It’s a very powerful resurgence with a short cave before it sumped.

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Finally I came to Hartington, where my bike/eat/drink odyssey culminated in tea and scones, followed by a proper Bradwell’s ice-cream, and then my actual tea/dinner from the village shop. The place was surprisingly busy considering it was a weekday but on the dot of half-past five all the trippers suddenly disappeared and there was just me and the crows enjoying the late sunshine overlooking the duckpond. The visitors had probably all been taken away on electric golf-cart things to be repaired in underground workshops like in Westworld, ready to be brought out next day for another round of visits to the olde englishe cheese shoppe etc.

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Cheese, crackers, a couple of beers and an apple. Gourmet paradise. The trouble was I’d not found anywhere to kip yet and it was getting cold, so I did a tour round the tracks and bridleways surrounding the village hoping for another shed or barn or something since we were due another freezing night. I tried four barns and all were locked but finally I found an unlocked one and in we went. Straw on the floor, not too many hanging-sword-of-damocles tiles in the roof, excellent. I was just about to set up when I heard a tractor a short distance away. Peeping over a wall I saw him doing a bit of muck-spreading, at which point I flapped and lost my bottle because he was only a couple of fields away and may well be on his way to my field. Time to bail out.

Unfortunately by now it was getting dark and I needed to find somewhere fast. Whilst having tea, I’d decided to just keep going south next day, even further from any railway stations but I was rather enjoying the seat-of-the-pants roulette-wheel ‘planning’. As a result, I now continued south into the Manifold valley. I’d actually wanted to take my time exploring the valley, with its exceptionally interesting ‘disappearing limestone valley river’ (depending on the time of year, the Manifold gurgles away into various sinkholes in the river bed to re-appear several miles away down the dry riverbed at Ilam). But now a bivvy spot was paramount so I blasted down the old railway line, missing all the scenery, until I got to Weag’s Bridge. The valley is narrow and steep-sided, so I decided to head up the side on a tiny lane to try and find any flat areas – hah hah.

Just as dusk was setting in, I turned down a bridleway to the edge of the valley and to some relief found a tiny flat spot on the bridleway itself. Tarp up, kit stashed, and time for a quick beer before turning in. Time to chill after that slight panic, with just the birds gradually switching off for bedtime. Oh, and three or four planes going overhead which rather spoiled the ambience. Quite why planes are allowed to fly over national parks beats me, so much for ‘places for rest and recuperation’. Probably going to Manchester or East Midlands airports. Or maybe even just between those two, such is the lunacy of modern air journeys. I see France is banning internal flights of less than 2 hours with alternative train journeys. We should do the same.

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Again, a very chilly night indeed. So much so that I woke at 6am to find the tarp frosted over, and both my 1-pint water bottle and milk bottle completely solid. Sigh.

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Decided to pack up and get moving, luckily managing to chew on a couple of rather crunchy ‘choclatinas’ I’d bought at the last minute. Still, the early start rewarded me with a large hare running across the field, a woodpecker in the woods below, and even a large deer on the Hamps valley track – much too big for a muntjack but no idea what it was.

At this point it struck me that I needed a railway station to get home from later in the day! Uttoxeter was a potential but quite a long way further south, so I decided to head west to Stoke-on-Trent. Having thought I was about as high as one could get on the Staffordshire Moorlands already I was dismayed to find myself crawling up an extremely long hill up to the ridge overlooking Leek – here’s the trigpoint marked at exactly 400m on the map. Still, the views were sensational again, and I could see as far as Crewe, Chester and the Clwyds in the distance.

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A bit of judicious nose-following kept me away from the suicidal A523 by ambling through various farmyards, fords, tracks and so on, finally popping out on the outskirts of Leek. I hadn’t actually checked the time since I woke up - the phone was showing 6% charge at that point, but by now weirdly it showed 48% and 08.50am. I’d already ridden for two and half hours and still no shops were open! As luck would have it a café on the square opened at 9am, so in I went as the first customer. After a very nice chat with the ladies at the counter, they rustled up another veg breakfast but sadly it was a tinned tomatoes job on this occasion. What a snob Reg is eh.

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A bit more watching the world go by and then it was off down to try and find the Cauldon Canal. This was a bit more of a challenge than it seemed and I traversed all sorts of dodgy industrial estates and scrapyards to finally sneak through a little alley onto the canal. The change could not have been more abrupt and the dereliction was instantly replaced by a sylvan and bucolic scene of ducks, gently swaying trees, and sun-dappled mirror-finish canal waters.

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I assumed I wouldn’t be catching the 12.00 to Milton Keynes on this defunct railway. It used to transport stone and sand from Cauldon Low and Oakamoor down to Stoke and beyond.

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At this point my map ran out so it was a case of winging it through Stoke. It’s a very interesting place, despite frequently being a Crap Towns winner (sorry Burty!), and I need to come back and do some more exploring. Amidst all the multi-storey, building-gapped, underpass-burrowed, boarded-shop post-industrial wasteland of Hanley, there were some beautiful parks and obviously many handsome relics of buildings from its Potteries heyday.

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Upon arrival at Stoke, it was a quick nip in to the ticket office to book my bike on the next fast train to MK (only 53 minutes away! Bonkers). Contrary to some people’s opinion, this was perfectly simple and took a matter of moments, and I was back in Leighton Buzzard in time for a late lunch.

It was certainly very strange being back out there again, and I kept having to apologise to people for having forgotten how to interact with them properly! But the roulette-wheel BaM approach worked as superbly as ever with loads of new places visited, people wittered on to, and random bivvy-spots found. Oh, and there was still a small lump of frozen milk in the container by the time I got home.

The Boners Are Back!

4/4, 4/12, 63/63
Last edited by RIP on Sat Apr 17, 2021 7:44 am, edited 2 times in total.
"My God, I'm two-thirds of the way to the grave and what have I done?" - RIP

"It is in the petty details, not in the great results, that the interest of existence lies" - JKJ

"At least you got some stories" - James Acaster

Verena
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by Verena » Fri Apr 16, 2021 10:05 pm

Looks like a most excellent trip, with a bit of everything thrown in :-bd

frogatthefarriers
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by frogatthefarriers » Fri Apr 16, 2021 10:18 pm

Reg, what a great adventure and write-up. I wish I had the bottle to just wing it like you do.

And, the Berwyn are still waiting..... Hm.
Konia kują, żaba noge podstawia...

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Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by RIP » Fri Apr 16, 2021 10:47 pm

frogatthefarriers wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 10:18 pm
Reg, what a great adventure and write-up. I wish I had the bottle to just wing it like you do.

And, the Berwyn are still waiting..... Hm.
Not forgotten :smile: . 'Dog has collared us (dog collar!) for a Chilterns caper in May but the summer sounds like Berwyns time :smile: .
"My God, I'm two-thirds of the way to the grave and what have I done?" - RIP

"It is in the petty details, not in the great results, that the interest of existence lies" - JKJ

"At least you got some stories" - James Acaster

shutuplegs
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by shutuplegs » Fri Apr 16, 2021 10:50 pm

sean_iow wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 6:10 pm
shutuplegs wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 5:43 pm
Oddly enough it’s a memorial to a horse...
Farley Mount? I'd never considered that as a bivi spot but I've only been there in the day when it's busy.
That’s the one. I had a quick look around the car parks to see if anybody was around. The area can be, how shall I say, popular after dark...or so I’ve heard :lol:
Perfect spot if I’m honest. Toasty warm and nice view of sunrise.
“We live and learn, and big mountains are stern teachers” - HW Tilman.

shutuplegs
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by shutuplegs » Fri Apr 16, 2021 10:51 pm

Cracking write up Reg. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it!
“We live and learn, and big mountains are stern teachers” - HW Tilman.

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Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by RIP » Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:01 pm

frogatthefarriers wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 10:18 pm
Reg, what a great adventure and write-up. I wish I had the bottle to just wing it like you do.
Ta (and 'Legs). I think we've analysed this a little bit a while ago but it seems much more difficult to wing it these days. Everyone is obsessed with tidying and clearing away harmless old buildings. Nice little tumble-down sheds and so on are few and far between. Barns tend to get burned down :sad: . Hard to be a tramp any more. Even old factories or the like don't last long. I find it fantastically liberating and fun and scary desperately searching for one as it gets dark. It took me a while get into that frame of mind though, and to have constructed my special portable radar, rather than relying on my own shelter. Obviously I still have that option, but my first choice now is 'interesting old building or structure'.

Having said that you don't feel like a winger (a bikepacking scrum-half instead?) I still remember that ludicrous BBB winter event when you, BDS and meself walked out of a perfectly convivial boozer in remote Wales into a massive rainstorm in the dark with no idea where we were going to kip! That was one of my best memories. So you DO have that bottle :-bd .
"My God, I'm two-thirds of the way to the grave and what have I done?" - RIP

"It is in the petty details, not in the great results, that the interest of existence lies" - JKJ

"At least you got some stories" - James Acaster

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htrider
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by htrider » Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:47 pm

Good one Reg. An absolute model / British Standard bikepacking trip. Well done!

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Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by RIP » Sat Apr 17, 2021 8:39 am

htrider wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:47 pm
British Standard bikepacking trip
Aye, Reg's write-ups bring a whole new meaning to the term 'B.S.' certification :grin: .
"My God, I'm two-thirds of the way to the grave and what have I done?" - RIP

"It is in the petty details, not in the great results, that the interest of existence lies" - JKJ

"At least you got some stories" - James Acaster

benp1
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by benp1 » Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:27 am

Lovely job Reg, very good read

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ScotRoutes
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by ScotRoutes » Sat Apr 17, 2021 3:00 pm

4 for 4.

25km down to a spot in Glen Feshie where we reckoned we'd not have any overnight visitors.

It turned out a bit chillier than forecast (-3C) so I had cold toes overnight - I hadn't taken my down socks. I had remembered to lie a water bottle on its side though, so I got water for coffee this morning.

Saw a young crossbill on the chimney of the cottage we were camped at. Like us, he was taking advantage of the morning sun to warm up.

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Verena
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by Verena » Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:35 pm

Beautiful

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Charliecres
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by Charliecres » Sun Apr 18, 2021 8:37 am

I can’t compete with Reg’s trip or write-up but I am very happy to have completed this year’s first proper excursion- a circuit of King Alfred’s Way (with the odd detour).

It’s a really scenic route with loads to see and some really good, non-technical riding. We did it in three days but in many ways it would be good to ride it at a more leisurely pace and take time to see the sights.

The highlight for me was the Ridgeway. We bivvied about ten miles from Avebury and got to ride most of it in the early light of a beautiful day and it was spectacular. Second best was fish and chips in Winchester - one of those ‘lifesaving’ meals at the end of a long day that just taste incredible.

I started and finished near the Devil’s Punchbowl and found the way through Reading and south from there to Farnham was a little frustrating, as it twists and turns all over the place for no obvious reason and we were in a rush to finish.

We had lots of glorious sunshine but it was really cold out of the sun and in the wind. Both nights were well below freezing and I shook a full blizzard of ice out of my bivy bag in the morning.

The world felt surprisingly closed still, too. I was expecting Avebury to be back to full tourist honeypot status but the pub was shut up and the place was all but deserted. That would have been perfect if we’d had time to nose around but as it was we were hoping for a resupply before going up on to the Ridgeway. No Spas up there!

All in all a great trip. It’s so good to be back out there!

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Frosty!

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Stonehenge! Where a man’s a man. And the children dance to the Pipes of Pan.

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Salisbury Plain

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Ridgeway views go on and on ...


So that’s 4/4 for 2021 and 14 in a row for me.

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Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by RIP » Sun Apr 18, 2021 8:49 am

Easily a match for my effort Charlie :-bd . Looks like you were, like a fine wine, nicely chilled in those bivvy bags!

Great to see proper trip reports starting to resurface again at last.
"My God, I'm two-thirds of the way to the grave and what have I done?" - RIP

"It is in the petty details, not in the great results, that the interest of existence lies" - JKJ

"At least you got some stories" - James Acaster

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Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by ScotRoutes » Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:19 pm

Charliecres wrote:
Sun Apr 18, 2021 8:37 am
I can’t compete with Reg’s trip or write-up but I am very happy to have completed this year’s first proper excursion- a circuit of King Alfred’s Way (with the odd detour).


Jeez, with yours, Verena's and Reg's excellent trip reports mines looks a trifle sparse. I guess that's mibbe a result of still riding on (all too) familiar ground. I'll have to make more of an effort!

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Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by RIP » Mon Apr 19, 2021 10:01 pm

ScotRoutes wrote:
Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:19 pm
mines looks a trifle sparse. I guess that's mibbe a result of still riding on (all too) familiar ground. I'll have to make more of an effort!
Well at least you make an effort Colin and write something! I like the wildness of your outings and you manage to pull in some nice back-to-basics tarp bivvying etc. It sometimes surprises me how few comments the ravings of the little 'BaM Club', or just days out, attracts. And those ravings must take a lot of time and thought to write up - Verena's day out was a great example. Go round the corner and there's any amount of wittering about cassettes and stemcells or whatever; but I prefer to come here and marvel at the harebrained schemes, fascinating landscape features, tales of woe, broken dreams, catastrophic kit choices, life-threatening kit failures, encounters with eccentric or even barkingly normal people, and all the rest of what makes a BBB jape so entertaining to read about.
"My God, I'm two-thirds of the way to the grave and what have I done?" - RIP

"It is in the petty details, not in the great results, that the interest of existence lies" - JKJ

"At least you got some stories" - James Acaster

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Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by benp1 » Tue Apr 20, 2021 8:52 am

Good shout Reg

I prefer to read about the trips and rides, and always appreciate the write ups. Though, somewhat lazily, don't always post up my appreciation

The other threads are usually more conversational so it's easier to put something. My lame 'thank you' or 'thanks for sharing' rarely match the effort and thought that went into a trip report. But I should say thanks nonetheless

KAW - looks ace. I live just off it now and want to have a go at some point

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Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by sean_iow » Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:28 am

As the others have set the bar so high I'd better make an effort rather than a single picture and a score :smile:

This is also my VWE so I visited all my grid references as well. I had gathered all the kit ready in the week to speed up packing, i.e. got it out of the storage boxes and dumped it on the dining table :grin: There were 2 items left to prepare so I left a note out so as not to forget them as they are both essentials.

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I didn't pack the bike earlier in the week as I was commuting on it on Friday. I noticed on the way to work that the back tyre was a bit soft so pumped it up at work. On the way home there was a clicking sound as I rode. It wasn't until I was attaching the seat pack I noticed this

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No problem as I'm tubeless, I'll just pull it out and spin the wheel... the lack of sealant coming out was a clue to how long since I topped it up, blast! or words to that effect. So valve out, sealant added and type pumped back up and it sealed. I headed out after dinner with a bivi spot in mind, sorry Reg no spontaneous biving here. First call, GR1, the site of a roman fort and then (now) a Castle.

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Quite famous as Castles go due to the King Charles 1st being imprisoned there during the civil war. From here it was uphill in the fading light to the Tennyson Trial, then down the other side to the road, up the road and then back up to the Tennyson trail, all this so as to go past GR2, Mudless Copse, on the way.

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The copse is just down the hill, but as it's a technical and steep climb and I was managing without a dab I kept going until the top. There's not much to see, other than trees and strangely mud :???: No idea why it's called mudless copse. As it was now getting quite dark I pushed on to the bivi spot, passing the next GR which is close by, which I saved for the morning. As I now record my rides on my watch and it uploads as soon as I save I stopped on the main track some way from where I'd sneak off into the trees so as not to broadcast my location. I planned to make the ride private once off the track and at my bivi spot and not share it until the next day. By the time I had got to my spot which only took a couple of minutes I had 2 qudos, don't these people have anything better to do on a Friday night than look at Strava? Like sleeping in the woods for instance :smile:

I'd brought the new shelter, I knew I wouldn't need it but as I'd gone to the effort of making it during lock-down I thought I should. I soon had it erected, looked inside and there was a small tree-stump inside, mmm, needs to move over 2 foot, so I move each peg in turn. When I've bivied here before it was in my myog bivi bag. Tonight I have the Borah. It turns out the ground isn't as flat as I thought and the inside of the Borah is more slippery than the myog so I spend the night sliding downhill and having to adjust my position :roll: At least the fidgeting helped keep me warm (less cold) as it dropped to 2.5 degrees and my bag was only rated to 3 degree comfort (which for me is more like 10 degrees) so even with my down jacket on and base-layers I can't say I was ever warm. The sun did eventually come up which even if it didn't actually raise the temperature, did provide a moral boost.

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I got the stove lit and was trying out my new Evernew 400ml ti cup. As it's shallow and wide it's easier to pack in my waist pack. Not sure how long the red covering will last on the bottom of the handles with the 22g BB stove underneath.

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All the moving about had woken up my companion who decided to show his face and soak up the first rays of sunshine :lol:

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I slept with the doors open which was nice as I could see the sunrise but it did occur to be that if I don't use the doors they're just extra weight, but they may come in handy if it rains so I'll resist the the temptation to make a door-less version. I can't wander too far from it or I may not find it again :lol:

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Despite being only about 20m from the track behind me the tree provides enough cover that no one would see me so I didn't rush to get away and had porridge and then a breakfast bar. I'd of had 2 coffees if I had the foresight to bring more with me, doh! Down jacket still on with my riding kit as I knew it was mainly downhill for the start of the ride so it would be a while before I warmed up. Back to GR3 which wasn't far.

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Not much of a view for a trig point :grin:

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Obviously the forest was planted after they built the trig point. I did scope this area out previously when on a run last winter, it's flat and there are no paths through this bit of the woods so it would be ideal for a bivi. As I looked around in the trees, my headtorch struggling to illuminate the way in the mist, I spotted this

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:o Not as scary in the day and I assume he is (was) a dog? But it scared the life out of me in the dark. Perhaps I'll not bother with a bivi in this bit. From here it was several miles of downhill off road followed by several miles of downhill on road. Despite the multiple layers I was frozen and looking forward to some climbing to warm up. The next GR was labelled as a Unicorn but there was no sign of it, perhaps an anomaly of the google earth image that made a shadow in a garden look like that. Never mind as nearby there is the next best thing

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A children's playground. I stopped to take off the down jacket as despite being cold I knew the hill that came next would soon warm me up. I spotted a potential bivi spot? maybe a bit small :grin:

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And you'd get woken up by the sound of children going down the slide. The climb is through a bit of woods so it was nice to emerge into the morning sun

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It doesn't seem that long ago I came through here on a run when it was just planted. At the time the whole field was ploughed but the path soon gets packed down again

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Straight after ploughing the farmer makes arrows on the ground from stones to show the route of the path which helps keep people on the right part and despite being a bridleway the horses don't seem to use it as it starts on a busy(ish) road. GR5 is a ford, I've never been through the ford and I didn't feel the need to start today.

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The approach to the bridge is on an angle and I've had several near misses over the years where the front wheel has nearly dropped off the bridge in the dark. From here I cross the old railway line. The hedge/trees on the right are actually the embankment.

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The one remaining bridge abutment gives an idea of how high the embankment was

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I assume IWV is Isle of Wight Ventnor as that's the line it was on. It must have been quite an effort to remove the embankment of the left, obviously a different land owner who took it out quick to get the field back before they changed their mind and re-opened the railway :grin: It was then uphill (isn't it always) to GR6

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The Worsley Monument. There's a good view from here, including right down into the valley and up the next downs where I'd be going next. The descent from here is a bit technical and I walked some rather than chance an OTB, especially as it's a cheeky route. On the way to the next GR I pass through this

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The gateway to the house that is my next GR. With it's gate keepers accommodation

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Now a holiday let. 30+ years ago it was derelict with no windows or doors, half the roof missing and a section of the rear wall collapsed. I can remember eating jam sarnies and sheltering from the rain in there when out hiking with the scouts. GR7 is Appuldurcombe House

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Just visible through the trees. There's quite a history to it, far to much for me to type here so I've provided a handy link for anyone interested :smile:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appuldurcombe_House

From Wroxall I follow the Round the Island cycle route to Ventnor and then it's up to GR8 at the highest point of the Island. A favorite amongst boners setting GRs for me :lol: I've not done as much riding as I used to recently so the thought of Down Lane on the loaded bike wasn't filling me with joy, there was a real chance I'd end up pushing up a tarmac road, never a good look. I decided I'd not stop before the first switchback no matter what, from here I could cut off road if needed and push the rest off road. As it was I just knuckled down and somehow made it all the way up though I did record my highest HR of the ride. GR8 at the highest point

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I saw an ex-military Land Rover parked up, the second time I'd seen it today. I stopped and chatted the the owner, he's not been up here before, despite living on the Island as he lives in the west wight. Weird how people think it's a long way to drive when I'd just ridden it :???: The sun was out and I was in no rush so I rode along the ridge and stopped for hot chocolate and a snack

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My companion also pleased to relax in the sun for a break from the riding

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I was just packing up when a bloke walking past stopped for a chat. Turns out he's a former RAF marathon champion, now retired and in his early 60s. He said he was thinking about getting a gravel bike. We had a chat about the pros and cons but he'd not considered the riding position. I directed him towards Sonder (sorry Shaf) as a Frontier would be much better for the riding he wants to do and he can use the Try at Home service to test one.

From here is was down to sea level at Shanklin and then along the revetment to Sandown. As the sun was out and the restrictions have been eased it was busy along the beach, the bell getting a good workout on the shared path. Now the long climb up Culver to GR9

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I stopped at the little cafe for lunch, but they had run out of hot food :o All the visitors had got their first. I had to make do with coffee and carrot cake :sad: Next a section of road to cut through to the next GR, on the way crossing the steam railway line just by Ashey Station.

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Just after taking this picture a chap walked up carrying a small step ladder. He was cautious crossing the line an I said I didn't think the trains were running this far as the Island Line is not running and Ashey is the stop before Smallbrook Junction where the heritage and modern lines meet. He said they definitely were running as he'd photographed the train twice today already and was hoping to get on at Ashey to get back to Havenstreet. He said the train would be soon so as I was in no rush I sat in the sun on the grass to wait for it. Whist I was sat idly enjoying the last of my food Ralph was much more excited about the prospect of the train coming by.

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He was rewarded for his enthusiasm as they blew the whistle for him (that's what I told him but it's for the crossing) as they went by.

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The train stopped at the station which is about 100m down the line from the crossing and the chap with the ladder got on despite not having a booking. It's obviously easier to get on a train with a ladder than a bike :roll: I assume his ladder is to get better pictures? From here the last GR was within touching distance so on we went. When we got in the woods I stopped to chat to a couple walking their dog. They remarked how they'd never been here before as they live on the other side of the Island, the other side that's too far to drive from but I had just ridden :???: GR10, the wooded bit

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I think there's enough cover for a bivi here, there a section of planted firs which looks ideal as it's not go any ground cover and it's thick enough to be dark and hidden. On my way out of the woods I meet another couple with clipboards. They've been counting butterfly numbers for a survey. It needs to be 13 degrees for them to be out (the butterflys not the couple) and the lady was very excited as it had been exactly 13 degrees. They'd seen a good number of quite a few of the different types from what I could see of the number of ticks on the list. I'm not far from home now but obviously I'm the wrong side of the downs so more up. At Lime Kilm Shute I stop to look at the kilm.

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It's a bit overgrown now so not much to see. It looks like someone has been in there recently but more likely kids than bike tramps looking for sleeping spots. One last hill, Newchurch Shute and I'm home. I've ridden 37 miles on my second day and managed to take nearly 7.5 hours doing so with all the chatting and sitting about :grin: Hopefully if things continue to relax (don't mention the C word) I'll get to the mainland soon for a BAM :grin:
Adventure without risk is Disneyland - Bikemonger

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BigdummySteve
Posts: 2748
Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2016 9:16 pm
Location: Oxfordshire

Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by BigdummySteve » Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:50 am

Nice trip, it’s so good to see trip reports coming in thick and fast now the dark days of lockdown are behind us. I really should get my cuben marquee out for an outing.
We’re all individuals, except me.

I woke up this morning but I’m still in the dark

benp1
Posts: 3618
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:36 pm
Location: South Downs

Re: Bivvy a Month 2021

Post by benp1 » Tue Apr 20, 2021 11:02 am

Nice one, Sean. Looks like a fun trip. I'm really appreciating the sun being out a lot at the moment. Makes everything better, even if the nights are chilly

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