Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Virtual camping

Day two of the Highland Adventure saw a complete change in the weather, sun as well as torrential rain but this only served to make the day more interesting as it was a day set aside for camp craft. In other words how to find a good site to pitch your tent and survive the night in the "wilderness"
Before we left we were treated to a guided tour of the worlds smallest yacht to cross the Atlantic by it's intrepid skipper. As the boat is only around 8 and half feet long it didnt take long and soon we were suitably inspired and on our soggy way.
The weather cleared slightly revealing the target mountain at the end of Loch Nevis, but for today we settled for a coast route to a practice camp site.
Terrain was difficult and one of my team had a bit of trouble finding the gate.
The beach was busier than we expected with boatmen from the nearby fish farm trying to recover the pontoon of equipment that had broken free from its moorings the night before.
I chose a pitch away from the main group thus ensuring peace and quiet, level dry ground and a handy bank/rock formation as a wind break. The rest of the group formed a rough huddle of tents similar to a rock festival campsite in a confusion of colour and guyropes. Those unlucky enough to pitch on bracken soon found it did not go as flat as they hoped.
Rocky stood guard while I cooked dinner on an open fire, hot dogs and bacon rolls followed by baked bananas stuffed with chocolate. Inevitably he got his share of the bacon and sausages.
The sun began to set and a decision had to be made as to whether to stay out overnight or take a short hike back to base and warm bunks with waterproof surroundings. This might seem like a no brainer but we were there to get a feel for life outdoors.
As the wind picked up and the clouds gathered I decided the group should head back, leave the tents pitched to test their weather worthiness, and spend a further night at base thus keeping kit and people dry. There was a bit of disappointment amongst the teams who wanted to tough it out but once we got back to hot chocolate and biscuits in the lodge while outdoors rain hammered down and temperatures plummeted in a relentless north wind it was definitely the right move. He who pitches and walks away lives to camp another day...or something like that.

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