Outdoor Focus Summer 2018 - Page 15

r e v v o B Bivvy James Forrest takes a walk on the wild side ‘They are the best of nights: they are the worst of nights.’ Fellow guild member Ronald Turnbull’s observation on sleeping wild in his excellent The Book of the Bivvy got me thinking about my own somewhat hit and miss wild camping ‘career.’ Or is that mainly miss? I jotted down some thoughts, as my brain nerve-endings sparked, and somehow this is what I ended up with: the seventeen stages of a (calamitous) wild camping adventure. Can anyone relate? 1 Arrive at your destination, full of energy and zest for life. ‘We’re off on an epic adventure!’ 10 Boil up a ‘dinner’ you probably wouldn’t feed to your dog. 2 Spread out all of the outdoorsy gear you own around the car before stuffi ng it randomly into your selection of thirteen diff erently coloured dry bags. 11 Sit and stare at a fi re for four hours, absolutely mesmerised by the fl ames. Everything you own smells of smoke. 12 Have a horrendous night’s sleep, during which you continually slide down your sleeping mat. 13 Wake up, drink four Nescafé 3-in-1 coff ees, eat porridge (any other type of breakfast is strictly banned on wild camping trips) and then de-camp. 14 Daydream continually about a hot shower, warm bed and hearty meal. 15 Eventually arrive back at your car, looking dishevelled, weather-beaten, a shadow of your former self. ‘I look, and feel, like a hobo.’ 16 Head off feeling more than ready to return to civilisation. 17 Spend two minutes at home. All memory of the hardships disappears instantly and already you’re romanticising the wild camping life - the wilderness, the fresh air, the freedom. ‘When can I get out again?’ 3 Test the weight of your backpack. ‘OMG. There is no way I’m carrying that up a mountain.’ 4 Recklessly ditch gear that you later end up desperately needing. ‘Can I get away with no poles for my tent?’ 5 Set off with initial enthusiasm. ‘This is actually not too bad.’ 6 Five minutes later chronic back pain is kicking in. 7 Get absolutely destroyed by the driving rain, howling winds and sub-zero temperatures. 8 Spend hours searching for the perfect camping spot, only to run out of sunlight and settle for somewhere totally average. ‘Right, it’s a choice between that swamp, this sheep toilet or that boulder fi eld.’ 9 Set up tent (usually in the rain). Everything you own is wet. summer 2018 | Outdoor focus 15