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Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Wed Jan 01, 2020 6:17 pm
by Bearbonesnorm
Hard to believe that we're starting a new year already. Anyway we are, so here goes BaM 2020 for those who fancy it. As ever there are some guidlines.

1/ At least one night out during every calendar month ... feel free to start any month you like, just as long as you tot up 12 consecutive months,

2/ A single trip taking in both the last night of one month and the first of the next, will count as two months if you wish - but you still need 2 nights out, just that they'll be combined within a single trip.

3/ No paid for accommodation inc' campsites or hostels. Bothies are okay.

4/ A bike must be involved - it's bikepacking, the clue's in the name ... 'Involved'? You really don't need me to spell it out do you?

5/ Your own garden doesn't count, although next door's does ... if you really must.

6/ Post each trip here in as much detail as you like, pictures are good. One post for each month please ... if you'd prefer not to post, that's fine. We'll take you at your word but people do like reading the trip reports.

Feel free to do something completely different from that outlined above but only those trips undertaken in accordance with points 1 - 5 will count towards a BaM badge.

Re: Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Wed Jan 01, 2020 9:18 pm
by Asposium
January 2020
Stayed local and used the opportunity to test the bivi-bag
Whilst there is no denying the bivi-bag is quick to set-up and pack still prefer the tent
Used the winter sleeping bag, so toasty warm
Image

Re: Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 10:47 pm
by benconnolli
This sleep was on 1st January so by rule 2 it just about squeaks in.

I have always been dissatisfied with NYE parties, the build up, the pressure to have the best time, getting utterly rat arsed due to the previous points. This year I decided I would spend it in a bivi bag, on a hillside.

Folded out the Cheltenham OS map and started following contours to work out where would have the best views and was impractical enough for car based pedestrians. Settled on Cleeve Hill. A decent two hours away so I could eat before and after and simply take sleeping gear. Decided on my grandads touring bike with it’s dynamo hub, my only credible option seeing as my other front light had died in the rain and the replacement was still in transit.

Here is the entirety of my directions:
Zoomy to Cheltenham downhill
R fork before houses
O 2, 1, 2, 1
L fork @ A40 🚦
R @ T
(1km) L fork @ two gates
SO @ Road bend $ Cotswold Way to top


Setting off at 9pm, my excitement jumped into life with the light as the front wheel started spinning. Sure battery and LED technology make dynamos somewhat redundant in the ever accessible U.K. but nothing replaces the mindless joy of generating your own electricity and the security that you can pedal into as many sunsets as you like and still be in your own bubble of light. This bubble is what keeps attracting me to riding at night. Centre of my world, all that matters is this moment.

The cold wind rushed against my bare knuckles and I cursed myself for forgetting gloves but decided to pedal harder and embrace the bitterness. This was the first time I’d ridden a loaded bike in a while and the familiar uphills felt steeper because of it. Blood was soon steaming through me and I grinned through gritted teeth as I took in a sharp breath. As wonderful the eerie woods were it was differently wonderful to emerge to the streetlights of Cheltenham. I could feel the anticipation on the streets, the small groups of teenagers on their way to a house party, the distant pops and wizzes of fireworks as parents of young children brought on the end of their party before bedtime, the flashing remains of Christmas.

I must have miscounted my roundabouts as I ended up at the A40 at an unfamiliar junction but quickly corrected from my phone. It was all uphill from here. I soon left the twitching city behind and was enveloped once again in my cloud of solitude. Not being able to see the intimidating hill ahead meant I just kept pedalling. There was one point that it got so steep that my light began to flicker as I wasn’t generating enough power for it. Not something I had considered about a dynamo, but it spurred me on.

I quite like setting off into the unknown and had no idea how rideable my final 5km would be but had time to walk it if needed. After a well trodden style area it was slick but firm grass that kept me pedalling with my wits about me. The rolling nature of these hills and the shadows my point source light created meant that it often looked like I was about to ride over the edge of the world, only to find the gentlest of gradients.

That first glimpse of the view you have earned is always special, this came with added punch as the forest cleared and I was blasted with a gust of wind and the glowing cityscape. I love the story an exposed tree tells, branches combed into place by the prevailing wind, a semi-permanent weather station, displaying movement whilst being completely stationary.

I passed the silhouettes of a couple of bobble hats, then the amber glow of a cigarette, I wasn’t quite alone but the common goal silently united us as we moulded ourselves onto the side of the hill and waited. Gazing over this metropolis I came to quite a satisfying realisation; whatever mankind does to the climate over the next 20, 50, 100 years, this hill will still be here. This wind will still be blowing. The world we are destroying with our convenience and consumption is only our world.

There was absolutely no doubt when midnight hit. The sky erupted in a cacophony of chaos. My eyes darted around trying and failing to soak it all in as my mouth hung open in awe. It was a dynamic mixing pot of colours, bubbling away, overflowing into explosions. Not knowing where the next pulse would come from added to the exhilaration. It was so intense as each display built up to its own climax, then another, then two.

Gradually it subsided and I was able to pick out individual displays again, counting the 5 seconds from flash to bang as the sound travelled. One magnificent one kept going for almost half an hour, it was at least 15 seconds away so potentially Worcester. My unspoken companions started drifting back to their warm beds so I decided to find my own. Zoomed around aimlessly on the common for a bit, shooting along the flowing grass paths still giddy from the fireworks, then realised that anywhere was as good as anywhere else so promptly stopped and rolled out on the bouncy tufts.

My sleep was intermittent due to the cold. I didn’t help myself by losing my blanket, only to discover when left that it was the uncomfortable clump of grass beneath my head. Gave up at 5:30 and decided nap the rest of my quota at home.

Cycling through the abandoned streets of a city when everyone else is asleep always feels so sneaky. I treasure these moments for their scarcity. The low fog was thin and wispy so if felt as though I was dashing through crowds of ghosts going about their nightly business. The ending of trips is rarely dramatic and triumphant, this was no exception. I cocooned myself in my duvet with a cuppa and watched the sky transition from black to grey for the first time of the year as the adrenaline drained and exhaustion took over.

Re: Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 8:51 am
by RIP
Very nice. That's set the bar. Liking the new BenNav notation too :smile: .

Re: Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 5:31 pm
by benconnolli
RIP wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 8:51 am
Liking the new BenNav notation too
If I am trademarking it then I want it known as the BenGo drums

Re: Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:35 am
by K1100T
Is kipping in hides at nature reserves allowable...? Or what about, just happening to stumble across and use, this kind of place -> https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/holida ... ast-anglia ?

Re: Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:52 am
by ScotRoutes
Any sort of man made shelter is OK I reckon. Bird hides, otter hides, doorways, bus shelters have all been used. It's more the "not paying" principle that applies, so regular campsites,bunk houses and hostels would be excluded.

I reckon that place in you link is fine if it's actually closed and not being used.

Re: Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:10 am
by RIP
Yep, I think there's a lot of satisfaction and fun to be gained by just using what's available at the time. It takes a bit of bottle to start with and you need to start scoping out spots as dusk approaches. The first spot is unlikely to be the best, and we've had contestants who've woken up next day and seen a far better spot 100 yards down the road. But that's part of the fun. Maybe it's like how some people collect a partner - keep looking until the bar closes then try and grab the best one so far and hope for the best, knowing full well you'll bump into someone far more suitable at the bus-stop :wink: .

Some of my best experiences have been the result of finding a last-minute bit of shelter. My infamous 'hen-house in the pissing rain' perhaps being one example of many :smile: .

Pretend you've forgotten your tarp (or better still actually 'forget' your tarp!) and try it - it's very liberating in a wierd sort of way.

Used to be a lot easier to do this before people got obsessed with 'tidying up' and removing interesting old structures.

Re: Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:54 am
by K1100T
ScotRoutes wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:52 am
I reckon that place in you link is fine if it's actually closed and not being used.
Cool. The plan was to cycle near it and scope it out. Worst comes to the worst, I continue for another few miles to the main reserve and one of the hides.
RIP wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:10 am
Pretend you've forgotten your tarp (or better still actually 'forget' your tarp!) and try it - it's very liberating in a wierd sort of way.
That'll be easy, as I don't own a tarp yet... :lol:

Re: Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:59 pm
by middleagedmadness
Not committing this year , due to work and family commitments, missed November and December last year due to work , plan is to get out every few months but for 2 or 3 nights at a time , best of luck to everyone attempting this year , and hopefully see most of you next weekend :-bd

Re: Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:17 pm
by Keith74
Committed this year to actually get out and try the whole year. Gave up last year in October so maps are out and planning is starting.

Re: Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:36 am
by macinblack
Need to sort myself out this year, I do all the winter and early spring months and then dip out. No real excuse for it.

Re: Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:01 pm
by JimmyG
All being well, I’m aiming to complete the BaM series again this year (my third consecutive year). I kicked 2020 off last night with a Straight From The Door-style trip to Dalmeny Estate which lies on the Firth of Forth, just to the west of Edinburgh. For this bivvy I chose a former military defensive complex that was manned during World Wars 1 and 2. I’ve visited the site numerous times over the years and always thought how convenient it would be for an overnight trip. I arrived at the site after a fairly easy 11-mile ride using a mix of cycle paths and off-road trails. The accommodation section of one of the former gun positions seemed most suitable and once I’d swept a pile of leaves, a few beer cans and a broken bottle out of the way it made for a nice little hooch. The wind got pretty wild at times during the night but the temperature remained relatively mild and a pleasant night’s sleep was had.

ImageUntitled by Jimmy G, on Flickr

ImageUntitled by Jimmy G, on Flickr

ImageUntitled by Jimmy G, on Flickr

ImageUntitled by Jimmy G, on Flickr

ImageUntitled by Jimmy G, on Flickr

ImageUntitled by Jimmy G, on Flickr

Re: Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:12 pm
by Borderer
Another very cool place Jimmy! I love the crow in stilletos! What is that about?!! :lol:

Re: Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:18 pm
by JimmyG
Thanks Bridget. Re the crow: It's near Canonmills on the Water of Leith cycle path. Not often you see mosaic street art out there right enough but it's certainly way better than some of the ropey graffiti sprayed nearby!

PS: Congratulations on your well-deserved best photo thingy!

Re: Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:08 pm
by Bearbonesnorm
I like that, top doss Jimmy :-bd

Re: Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:02 pm
by Ray Young
Jimmy, any chance you could you PM me the location of that place please. I've used the gun emplacements on Cramond Island numerous times but was unaware of other ones. Thanks

Re: Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:09 pm
by JimmyG
Will do Ray once I get home later this afternoon.

Re: Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 7:23 pm
by summittoppler
I'm throwing my hat in the ring for this years attempt. Attempted and done it back in 2014 & 2018 so know what's involved. Planning on only returning to only a couple of camp spots this year as I want some new 'high up' ones, or one's with big views...

Re: Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 7:47 pm
by JimmyG
Bearbonesnorm wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:08 pm
I like that, top doss Jimmy :-bd
Thanks Stu!

Re: Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:51 pm
by Alan63
JimmyG wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:09 pm
Will do Ray once I get home later this afternoon.
Can you add me to the mailing list too please? Found a small bunker in Tentsmuir, junior was keen to try. Your location is closer to home. Thanks

Re: Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:49 pm
by JimmyG
Alan63 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:51 pm
JimmyG wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:09 pm
Will do Ray once I get home later this afternoon.
Can you add me to the mailing list too please? Found a small bunker in Tentsmuir, junior was keen to try. Your location is closer to home. Thanks
PM sent Alan.

Re: Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Wed Jan 08, 2020 12:13 pm
by Borderer
JimmyG wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:49 pm
Alan63 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:51 pm
JimmyG wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:09 pm
Will do Ray once I get home later this afternoon.
Can you add me to the mailing list too please? Found a small bunker in Tentsmuir, junior was keen to try. Your location is closer to home. Thanks
PM sent Alan.
Me three please. Or four. Or something.

Re: Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Wed Jan 08, 2020 2:34 pm
by JimmyG
PM sent Bridget.

Re: Bivvy a month 2020.

Posted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:00 pm
by Robster
Hi Stu,

Never done any of these BAM but just thinking I'll put my name down on the off chance.

Cheers Rob