Saturday, 23 July 2016

Beach bivi.

This was something Mike and I had chatted about a few times. An overnight bivi on the beach seemed an interesting idea. Originally our goal had been Ross Back Sands. However with birds nesting on the beach area and  notices concerning that plus patrolling wardens, we opted for Druridge bay.

Heading up the beach to find a suitable spot in the dunes, my pack felt ridiculously heavy. Mind, I was carrying a large tarp an equally large groundsheet. Also six heavy duty eighteen inch wooden stakes for fixing the tarp. A lot more gear than my usual bushcraft type overnight bivi kit.
Also carried in a meths stove and all the usual picnic stuff.
There was also the problem of water, I lugged in six litres. We set up camp and spent the rest of the time pottering, drinking tea and having pasties for tea. Lucky spent his time digging holes, building nests and snoozing. Well, he is from a rare species of ground nesting dogs??!!

With the evening drawing on, we collected driftwood. Wandering up the beach I spoke briefly with a chap who had been wandering around the same area of beach for some time. He claimed to be checking up on birds nesting on the beach. A little odd, he was curious as to what Mike and I were up to.. Rather than say we were stopping overnight I explained we were having a beach picnic. His little, rather ancient dog was in a grumpy mood and kept growling at me. Half an hour later Mike wandered up and had a wee chat with him. Trying to hide in the dunes and wandering around the same patch of beach for a couple of hours is a little suspect!

A fire pit was dug and Mike soon had a blaze going. Before anyone says anything, we left no trace of there ever being a fire there.
Sometime in the early hours, before 4am, we were both sitting drinking tea and watching the dawn of a new day.
Early morning light.

A growing lightness in the sky.

A wee bit of a snooze and then a breakfast of cold meats, boiled eggs, cheese and bread wraps and more tea.
A morning spent nipping in to the sea, paddling, splashing around and have fun in the water and getting a wee bit of a tan.
That, all in all, was our overnight bivi. We are now contemplating another. This could become addictive?

Sunday, 17 July 2016

The Luss hills

This was a wee trip suggested by Mike. Luss is a village I have passed through may times but never stopped at. However, there are some fine hills in the surrounding area and it was a few of these Mike had his eye on.
We travelled up on the Tuesday, booking in to the campsite mid afternoon.

Wednesday saw us heading steeply upwards toward Beinn Dubh. The weather was good, thereabouts, sunshine with a few showers. The views were awesome.

Lunch was had just beyond Beinn Dubh. It was then an undulating walk following the Striddle horseshoe around to Mid Hill. A long descent led us down to Glen Luss, in some respects steep downhills can be  tiresome, hard on the knees..  A pause to watch deer grazing on the hillside opposite. Glen Luss is a green, verdant glen with an ancient woodland.

. A pleasant walk down the glen and back to the campsite and a welcome cup of tea. Mike gives the day an estimate of eight miles of walking and two thousand, five hundred feet of ascent.
Thursday saw us once more heading up Glen Luss. It was very upwardly upward to Beinn Eich. What followed though was a delightful airy walk along a broad ridge toward Doune Hill.

Mike had his sights set on the wee top the other side of Bealach an Duin. While Mike and Lucky nipped up to bag the hill, I was content to sit with the rucksacks for a moment and take in the view.

 We picked our way down the steep corrie, finally picking up a faint path. This led us to Glen Mollochan. Initially very wet and boggy underfoot.
We eventually came to a rough track that led us back to Glen Luss. A fantastic day out. Mike estimates it at 12.05 miles and four thousand, one hundred feet of ascent. Probably I did a little less, not having done the last wee top!
Friday it rained and then rained some more. Floods flooded, Noah cast off his ark. We stayed put in the tents. Snoozing, drinking tea and reading being the order of the day. In the afternoon we set forth to visit a hill. The roads were awash, the rain relentless. We changed our minds, did a bit of shopping and returned to the campsite. As we did so there was a brief interlude in the weather and we went for a little local walk.
Water in a hurry!

Luss water

Glen Luss, possibly a carving from the old, ruined chapel marked the map?

Saturday saw us heading back south.

Ancient tree, Glen Luss.

Duck patrol, they were after my porridge!

Monday, 4 July 2016

Greensheen Hill

This was a wander around some fine Northumberland countryside and in good company. Mike had proposed, in consultation with LTD ( he is a very intelligent dog!) the walk in order to visit a few tops or tumps as they be termed!
On our way we passed a couple of groups of youngsters, complete with large packs with bright orange covers. They were Duke of Edinburgh youths doing navigation training. It would appear one or two had strayed a wee bit off their route. However, I am sure they got it all sorted in the end?
 A visit to St Cuthbert's cave on the way. Obviously a very popular area given the amount of half burnt timber lying around.

We then struck uphill and over to the trig point at Greensheen Hill. A chilly, blustery wind but splendid views out over the bay toward Holy island.
.Our next hill required a little more navigation and tenacity. This was Cockenhaugh and it was situated in dense forestry. Navigation was not too difficult, we hand railed, following and old wall. The main difficulty was that very folk had passed through that wood. It was slow and at times a tad difficult picking our way over, under and through thick undergrowth and tangled fallen trees. Eventually though, top established, we descended to a bridleway and by keeping an eye on the map we came by a lovely series of crags. Colour Heugh has both many climbing possibilities and bouldering opportunities.

A spot of lunch and we continued on over to Bowden Doors. A splatter of rain driven on a blustery wind failed to daunt us.

From there it was a steady walk back to the car park at Holburn Grange. A pleasant days walking with splendid views all around. Not a lot of mileage, roughly seven and a half to eight miles but enjoyable all the same.