The weather in Scotland had been beautiful all week and was set to continue over the weekend, however I really needed to work on my PhD thesis. So Chris suggested that if I worked during the day on Saturday, we could go and spend the night on Dumyat, which is our local hill.
We packed our things after dinner and drove the van to Stirling University campus where we parked it….in case the midges were awful and we had to retreat from the hill! We found a nice spot part of the way up that caught the sun as it was setting, but would also allow us to see the sunrise.
From about 9pm the temperature dropped quickly and I soon regretted leaving my down jacket at home, but it was nice to relax with a cider (and beer for Chris).
At about 10.30pm, we were cold and decided it was time to unpack our beds. Choosing a spot for bivvying is quite strange: which patch of grass do we like most? On top of the bank where we have the view, but catch the wind so it might be chilly, or lower down where we will be more sheltered? But sheltered might mean midges! Which patch has fewest lumps, is flattest, and has the least sheep poo?
Then you have the “should I have my sleeping mat inside or outside of my bivvy bag?” dilemma. Apparently this depends on your bivvy bag: my Robens Primacore sleeping mat fitted perfectly inside my Alpkit Hunka bivvy bag, until I tried to get in too….I could not move at all! In contrast, Chris was comfortable with his Exped DownMat Light 5 inside his Rab Storm bivvy bag. At 11pm when we were in our sleeping bags, it was still light enough to see perfectly. It was also a bit cloudy, so rather than being able to lie and look at the stars,we had to make-do with the single star that was visible.
I was surprisingly warm and comfortable, but the cool breeze on your face and the strange noises makes for broken sleep. I woke up startled by a particularly loud noise at one point, only to realise it was just a sheep. Even then, it still wasn’t very dark. At 4.50am, it was daylight again and I could no longer deny that I needed a wee, but after that we slept on until 7.20 am! This was despite the light, and the walkers and runners who were up VERY early for a Sunday morning.
We didn’t get to see the sunrise though: we were completely surrounded by cloud, so the view while we shared our Bran Flakes for breakfast was not as pretty as we had anticipated.
However, it was a good little microadventure that nicely broke up my PhD weekend.