Micro adventure in the Pentlands

Every so often I like to get a bivi somewhere, just a few hours in the hills tinkering with kit, testing setup for races etc. I’d not really managed any of that this year, and with my two pre-HTR bivi opportunities not happening (Capital Trail in a bothy, Cairngorms Loop in my car), I really wanted to test my new bivi bag before the big event.

I’d been looking at a spot in the West Pentlands, beyond where most bikers venture, in a disused quarry. I’m not going to publish the location as part of the fun of getting out there is finding the spots yourself.

I set out at about 8, intent on carrying the bare minimum and being out for the bare minimum – leave after dinner, return before breakfast. My spousal warnings about the weather were duly ignored, as the point of tonight was to experience the poor weather in testing my kit.

Arriving at the site, I ditched my bike and started unpacking:  

The area in shadow here is all kept dry by the outcrop above, the only concern is whether it is flat.

I found the flattest bit and inflated my mat – a perfect fit:

 
Out with the hip flask and the book, and after a couple of hours, sleep came. Not the most relaxing sleep, but still something. Good training for the HTR anyway, and a good way to confirm that my new bivi (Terra Nova Discovery Lite) was up to the job.

Heavy rain fell through the night, but I stayed perfectly dry in my cave. I’d recommend this wee place if you have an inflatable mat (it’s a bit lumpy), the approach is completely rideable until the last fifty yards, and it’s downhill all the way in the morning.

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