Winter Solstice 2013

Next weekend, we will be heading to Leeds for a few days leading up to the Christmas holiday. To celebrate the shortest day of the year, I plan to sleep out on Ilkey Moor for the night of the winter solstice.

I will not be “bar tat”.



Got up and did some star-jumps and press-ups to warm up, then it’s time for a brew. Never being quick to come to my senses in the morning, . I don’t notice that the stove is on a tilt and as the pan started to warm up, I knock it over. “That was fortunate” I say rather loudly, but what else can I say? The chance of the brew out of the window as I only have a few mouthfuls of water left in my bottle. The last of the meths has gone. There is only one choice now. Time to head home.

I eat some snack and stuff my gear into my bag. Ten minutes later I am returning to the car.
An hour later, I get to Two Bridges where some Royal Marine NCOs had setup shop, they are expecting a group in from the end of an exercise within the new hour or so.

By 0600, I am on my way home, arriving just as the family are getting up.

It’s time for breakfast and the rest of the whole weekend is ahead of us.

Did I enjoy my first microadventure?

Most definitely. Can’t wait for the next.

Attack of the bleating sheep

I am lying there half awake. It is starting to get light and I can hear the bleating of a sheep. It is getting louder and louder and seems to be betting closer. I am in that blissful state of being half-awake; not wanting to move. Peeking out the top of my bivibag, I can see that  rain had died off a bit, but that there is still a light mizzle. Still no urge to get up, but that sheep is getting really loud and louder. I check my watch. It’s just after 4:30am.

Wide awake now and the sheep’s bleating is seriously loud. What on earth is going on?

I roll over and sit up, almost head butting the sheep that was sniffing the green slug-like creation it found lying on the floor. The sheep scarpers off into the distance and is quiet now, but I am side awake and there is no chance of getting back to sleep. It’s time to get up.

Packed and ready to go

The forecast looked less than perfect and it looks like I will not see the sunset and might get quite wet.

I have just tried to cram my gear into the little blue KIMM rucksack I brought in 1996 for the mountain marathon. 

The last time, I used this rucksack for “an event” was for the 1998 Howgills KIMM event which was, to say the least, a little damp. I hope this microsadventure will be a little drier than I was then.

It must be lack of practice, but I could not cram my gear into the little sack, so big bertha is loaded up and ready to go after we put the children to bed tomorrow evening. Can’t wait.

Morning coffee

Some time ago, I sold the Trangia stove I bought in my youth and had done me well on lots of occasions. Likewise after returning from Australia, I sold my MSR Whisperlite and have used a small Coleman gas thing ever since. I had thought about taking that along for a brew and hot food; then I saw this. //

Been busy with the penknife and a beer can and I am now the proud owner of an unfeasiblely lightweight stove

A bed for the night

The forecast for the Solstice is not looking too promising. It looks like it might be a wet one.

I had been eyeing up the Alpkit Hunka bivi bag for a while, but they were out of stock.

Then out of the blue an email came through that said they had had a delivery, so I ordered one. 

It arrived today, small and light and just the think. It’s all systems go now.

Where to go on the microadventure?

We’re really lucky here; I could walk out the front door and ten minutes later, would be walking along the lanes  to find somewhere to kip for the night in a quiet field somewhere.

I could head to the coast, just five miles distant; waking  up with a sea view is always refreshing.

However, despite these attractions, the place I have chosen is Dartmoor, not ten miles distant. 

Every weekday evening, when I return from work, I can see the hills on the horizon as I turn into the village.

I did fancy going to the northern part of the moor, as this is wilder, but the day and night firing is happening in the Merrivale range on the Friday and I am not too sure when they stop, so I will park up at Postrbidge and walk North keeping to the East of the range.