Peak bagging: The camp

Big Agnes Three Wire Bivy pitched near Lingcove BeckThe only problem with the rocky amphitheatre I’d located was the lack of a flat-ish path of ground to unroll and bivvy bag on.

I’d lie down in a spot and fidget it a little, only to reject it and try somewhere else. Thinking of moving on, I eventually found an area that I thought would do and ‘pitched’ the bag.

Although not as convenient as the straightforward bin liner type bag preferred by more hardcore bivvy aficionados, this process still took seconds and, with no guys ropes to play with, the bag was far more convenient than a tent.

With the sun now well on its recession limb to the west, I lay back against a rack wall and made some tea out of the waters of Lingcove Beck, which burbled 40 yards to my right. The sky was clear, and the clouds wore a pinkish-vanilla hue in the soft evening light.

The valley, with the steep rocky walls of Crinkle Crags to the left and the Links of Bowfell just visible behind me, was silent save for birdsong, sheep gingerly hoofing across scree and the whistle of the wind as it raced over rock face high above.

I was quite comfortable, though, in my elevated hiding place.

The view from the bivy siteThe secret nature of my bivouac, or so I thought, was even more apparent when viewed from the faint Lingcove Beck path. Unseen from this trail, the only people that would find me were shepherds gathering sheep and other walkers seeking refuge for the night.

I sipped my tea and ate several pork pies, following the advice of Ronald Turnbull in his ‘Book of the Bivvy’. I shuddered at the thought of a night with the tented masses in Langdale.

At 10pm the light levels were still good, but as a chill now hung in the air I decided to bed down. I zipped half way into the bag, in my sleeping bag also, and drank more, enjoying the remainder of the evening.

To the south, I watch two walkers made rapid progress up the shoulder of Hard Knott, also seeking a short sleep over amid the rocks perhaps.

My eyelids started to feel heavy and I settled fully for the night. Zipped in my orange cocoon, I rapid became too warm and unzipped the main entrance, leaving just the mesh.

Morning has broken, but no condensation in the bivvy bagLulled by the gentle valley sounds my semi slumber was interrupted by… voices.

Surely not at this late hour? I unzipped again, and waited for the intruders to pass. They didn’t, the volume reaching a peak and then not receding.

I had to investigate, and discovered two chaps and a geodesic tent the other side of the knoll. I said ‘hello’. Initially disgruntled at the disturbance, I chastened myself as they had as much right to be enjoying this lovely evening as I.

With that, I slept fitfully for five hours.

Postscript: Here’s some pretty awful video giving you a flavour of the bivvy site. I hope to be doing a bit more of this in the future when I get my hands on a better camera.


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