This is one of my first overnight excursions and it took place in February 2015 with a good friend of mine. In fact its the only over-nighter I’ve done where I was not alone. He lives in Robin Hood’s Bay which is a beautiful place just outside Whitby (therefore I hate him!). He also had made friends with someone who owned some land and allowed us to camp overnight and have a fire (therefore I hate him more! :))
After a day seeing the sites at Whitby Abbey (where Dracula landed in Bram Stokers book) and purchasing Jet/Fossil pendants for a certain someone’s birthday We hiked up to the spot which was a small way over hills and roads. He navigated with his ordinance survey map. We were inexperienced and carrying way more kit than we needed so it was a good workout. He even brought some coal from his home (its a coal burning area with a working steam train so the smell of it is everywhere).
We where ground dwelling with him in his British Army Goretex Bivvy bag using multiple yoga mats as insulation from the ground. I was using a multimat inflatable pad, the heaviest tog sleeping bag I could buy from Argos (which was huge!) and a gelert treated nylon Bivvy bag.
We set a fire and spent the night drinking and chatting (with me drinking rather more than him I’m afraid to say)
I made an attempt to make a fire reflector as per the SAS survival handbook. It was a paltry effort made of twigs – I know know this is supposed to be made of logs and more like the wall of a log cabin! I was certain I could feel the benefit but my companion was not so sure.
I’m sure that coal is not a normal wild camping accessory but it was greatly appreciated.
At the time I was still using a milt-tec GI canteen with aluminium cup – in fact i had brought two. I have subsequently ditched them in favour of the BCB crusader kits because the Aluminium cups are to hot to hold or drink from when the contents are heated. Also eating from Aluminium is not a good idea anyway. Furthermore the bottles weren’t BPA free and not rated as food grade plastic (!WTF?) and they leeched into the water and made it smell and test bad. It was early days….. I also cooked canned soup on the fire by placing the can directly in the fire.
We were in a nice spot high up overlooking the bay but also close to a road so we’d see a double decker bus roll past every now and again 🙂 I was thrilled to walk to the road and see that out fire looked like a pixel in the darkness – we weren’t attracting any attention.
After a while the cold and lack of things left to consume got the better of us and we went to bed. I don’t remember being too cold but am convinced I had a bad nights sleep – my companion assures me I was snoring like a werewolf within seconds and stayed that way all night.
I was first to awake and there was a heavy frost on the ground. Note that my sweaty feet had ‘breathed’ out of my nylon bivvy bag and frozen!
The thermometer showed we were around -2c which is pretty impressive for people who don’t know what they were doing and using improvised kit.
I had covered my bag and boots with a poncho which was also heavy with frost
Still – putting my crunchy boots on was entertaining;
I have no photos to document the kerfuffle but this was the first time I encountered the Trangia burners resistance to actually doing anything useful when cold (seriously aren’t these designed for use by the Swedish military??!!?!). I spent much time with the burner in my armpit and repeatedly trying to light the meths as my companion looked on with an increasingly weary look on his face.We had entirely broken camp and packed up before I managed to get a cup of water boiling. Not what you want for breakfast in these temperatures. For the sub zero morning cuppa I think its ok to use a lighter and a hexi tab = it just works! Use a stick stove if you want to be more of a purist but you deserve that morning beverage damn it! And of course the final kicker was that we were drinking from Aluminium cups – which meant we couldn’t actually put out lips to the rim without burning them until the drink was cooled down. Bit of a waste of energy.. this is why I love the pattern 58 Osprey plastic cup with the BCB crusader cup. You pore the boiling water into the plastic cup and you can actually enjoy a hot drink right when you need it most.
On the way back my friend decided to hike past the beach to show me the boggle hole. For all my big talk all I did was moan about how tired and cold I was, how heavy my pack was, how Ill fitting my boots where etc… I should imagine this is why he hasn’t been quick to reorganise another excursion 🙂 besides he lives there so is used to the hills, acclimatised to semi mountaineering anytime he needs a pint of milk. A lovely part of the world to walk through though;
The Boggle hole
After hiking all the way down to the beech we then had to hike all the way back to the top of the hill to get back to his house. Where I showered and passed out! While he proved himself the true alpha male by not only staying awake but also engaging in building work! wow 🙂