Here we are at the start of another year. I have resolved to make 2017 a year of writing. This blog will be updated at least fortnightly and I am going to complete two longer projects, a non-fiction book that I started back in 2014 and a short e-book on my 2016 mountaineering trip to Kazakhstan. Sign up for my newsletter using the box in the sidebar if you want to receive updates on these projects.
If you read and enjoy this blog I have a favour to ask – please share it with your like-minded friends. Or any friends. Or even people you don’t like. I’ve provided social sharing buttons to make it easy for you.
Back in March 2015 I started sleeping outdoors once a month. It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve certainly spent quite a few nights out that I wouldn’t have done without this slightly absurd self-imposed challenge. I was getting a little nervous as it got close to the end of December but on this occasion I received a motivational boost from two friends who were not only keen for a night in the outdoors, they also suggested a prime location for the conditions. It was windy and wet on the summits, so we walked up Glen Feshie from Achlean. The path has been much improved since I last walked it. The bothy is closed for renovation and should be much improved when it re-opens. It will be extended, re-roofed and insulated, and will hopefully be less of a icebox than previously.
We marched past the bothy, aiming for the shelter of the pinewoods in the upper reaches of the glen. My friends had hooped bivvies, but I opted for a hammock and tarp camp. This opens up a whole new dimension of faff, but I got it pitched to my satisfaction between two mighty pines. We then lit a fire, whereupon the wind changed direction and showered my tarp with sparks. I hurriedly re-pitched a safe distance away, then we settled down for a night round the fire with food, drink and chat.
The river was an overwhelming presence and as I lay back I became aware of layer upon layer of water noise, the more I opened myself up to its voice the more I heard, a rich tapestry of auditory stimulation that I lack the vocabulary to properly describe.
I was about to describe offer some notes on the practicalities of hammock camping, then remembered that I did so a year ago. Needless to say I forgot to read my own advice before setting out but I just reviewed it and I’ve nothing more to add.
My only regret is that I didn’t think to take my packraft with me. The river looked very appealing on the way up the glen and even more so on the way out when it was swollen with overnight snowmelt. If the SEPA website is showing about 1.0 m at Feshiebridge then it would be very worthwhile. Even 0.8 m might be worth a shot. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on it and when the stars align I will be delighted to take another trip up what has become one of my favourite glens.