.............not all those that wander are lost..............

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Overnight camping on the Dava Way.......

It's only a short while until the set-off date for this year's TGO Challenge - but there is still a lot of training needed......

One thing left to do was to have an overnight camp somewhere wild(ish) to test out the patching on my tent fly after last year's disaster when it all flew away in a 100 mile an hour gust of wind. I've bought a new footprint as the original one was completely shredded and the inner seems un-damaged. Unfortunately there are abrasion marks and small splits in the fly sheet. After seeking advice from MSR I have used some patches they kindly sent me along with some seam-sealer to try and make it watertight again.

After pitching it in the dining room for a few days it was time to test it out.

Louise and I arranged for me to get the bus to Forres so we could have a night out on the Dava Way. This is the route of an old railway line which ran from Forres to Grantown-on-Spey (more info here). The weather forecast was rather mixed but not altogether miserable.

I tried to pack all the essentials for the Challenge with a few exceptions. I wasn't carrying the obligatory pile of maps, days of food, wading sandals, and a few other odds and ends I like to shove in the bag just before I leave. My lightweight Paramo Velez jacket was going to get a try out to replace the 3rd Element Paramo and I took an old Paramo shirt instead of my Challenge fleece. There was a new Alpkit waterproof cover to put over the rucksack and I hadn't attempted to carry such a heavy pack since I broke my shoulder last summer.

{Setting off along the track}

{A frog/toad on the path..}

We didn't intend to WALK very far on this trip so after plodding along, trying a little puddle jumping, we started to look out for somewhere to pitch the tents. Louise has a new Terra Nova number which she wanted to try. The pitch needed to score at least 7 on the scale of 'good places to wild camp'. The first requirement was 'out of the wind' which was forecast to be a bit blustery by morning. A bit of a view would be nice too and hopefully not on too wet or muddy ground.......

Further along than we thought we would have to go, we eventually decided to leave the Way and explore a farm steading at Bogeney behind the Knock of Braemoray. The land immediately beside the old walls was too stoney and lumpy but by following the track above the ruin we found a good spot and after a bit of a faff while we worked out which way to face the tents, we pitched and settled in.

{Just getting organised....}

During the night I discovered (in no particular order) that I had pitched over a lump, my sleeping bag needed more shaking to properly distribute the down, using spare clothes as a pillow is fine until you need to wear them, low flying aircraft and helicopters sound very close in the dark, the ground was exceptionally cold and settling down to go to sleep before 9 pm means I need to get up before morning to visit the bushes........but it did rain and the fly didn't leak....... Louise will probably mention the snipe drumming and the curlew calls......and an owl or two....

One of the things I hadn't taken was a spare battery for the phone so I turned it off which meant when getting up at dawn I couldn't take a photo but it was spectacular.....the sky was golden and the tents were frozen solid.....magic!

{Packed up and ready to leave....}

There was no hurry, so we chatted and packed up after cups of tea and flapjacks. (Thank you Louise, chocolate and ginger goodies - mmmm!). Just as the tents were stuffed away there was a heavy hail storm....

We strolled along to Logie Steading. Viewranger wasn't engaged so I have no idea how far it was.....maybe about 7 miles......we passed the Half Way Hut with its smart benches and picture boards, then over the Divie Viaduct with its 7 arches, a detour past an old station platform and had a coffee break at the Dunphail Breathing Place.


{Rucksacks resting outside at Logie Steading...}

Lunch was eaten and then David (Louise's husband) came to pick us up and I caught a much-delayed bus back to Aberdeen.

Now the kitchen smells of wet tent and I'm resting and reflecting .........







5 comments:

Alan R said...

Shame about the sunrise PIC and the frozen tents.
Glad the tent mods proved ok and the training is ongoing. All the best.

Alan Sloman said...

Pillows: Have you tried stuffing your down jacket inside your second buff and then tucking them into the hood of your sleeping bag, pulling the draw-cord around it to keep it in place? It works for me.
:-)

Gayle said...

I'm spotting lots of similarities with our night out last night - except that we had our chocolate and ginger flapjack as supper, rather than for breakfast; we sought out a windy pitch rather than a sheltered one; and our 'garden room thing' smells of wet tent rather than our kitchen!

Laura said...

I was doing fine with my pillow - mesh stuff sack containing Paramo waterproofs and my Mountain Equipment Primaloft jacket all wrapped up with a buff until I had to use the jacket to keep warm in my sleeping bag...!
And use the hood on the bag over my head!
Still - all good fun!

Louise said...

Ooops! Skimmed that too fast, "bag over my head!" didn't read well!

Sounds like a good trip, glad you had a good time ;-)