Thursday, 6 May 2010

A solo bivvy

A lot has changed since I started this blog. Back then I was just starting to train for transwales 2008, going from a weekend warrior. I had only recently started riding off-road on my own having said that I never would. Well last night was another first for me I went bivvying on my own. I've always been too scared to, but slowly with more bivvying experience I decided I wanted to give it a go. So last night I left the house at about 6pm with Ali in tow, she accompanied me to Bury then headed off on her own ride (this is all part of her training for Wales at the end of the month, I think she'll be towing me round). On the way I stopped for supplies for the evening, pork pies, crisps, chocolate, sweets and Philadelpia light and bread sticks (why I thought this was a good snack I don't know, its a bit low on calories). I was soon on Rooley Moor road and already feeling slow and a little tired. Maybe not the best start.

At the top I did some of the trails through Cragg quarry and then enjoyed the descent to Waterfoot. After that it was time for thousands of gates which on my own took so long. In fact at times I was wondering why I kept getting back on my bike to ride. By now it was dark. But I needed to keep going. I had a stop at the Mary Townley Stone and at this point I was beginning to feel good.

I was aiming to get up to Long Causeway and once crossing it find somewhere to bivvy there. I now was happy I would get that far. One long push up and it was back on my bike and feeling like I was descending fast. Probably more to do with the fact it was dark than I was fast. Onto Gorple Road, I saw the Pennine Bridleway North heading off one to explore at another time, and it was time to make my bed for the night. It was so dark and I wasn't expecting to see anyone else up there so I just wanted 50m off the path and tried to find a flat patch to put my bed out on.

A text to Ali to let her know where I was and it was time for my pork pies, she rang then to say she had managed 30miles and say goodnight and then I hunkered down. After half an hour I had to take a layer off, I had actually overdressed! Then I got to sleep, waking as it got light. I dozed for a while and at about 6am I decided I should have breakfast. As well as my cereal I had a belgian waffle that I had picked up earlier, one to remembered as it was lovely. I packed everything up and headed off. About a km later I saw the perfect bivvy spot, ahh well mine was fine.

On the way back there seemed to be baby sheep everywhere. Some of them can only have been a few days only. I got some looks off them, obviously I was a new creature to them. I was realising at this point that at the speed I was travelling (slow I was at about 9km/h including stops) I wasn't going to be home in time. So once I reached Summit I dropped on the road and headed home via Litterborough and Rochdale from there.

Lots of things sorted in my head for the end of May now. First Solo bivvy done and has made me want to plan the next adventure!


  1. fantastic stuff! speed and distance doesn't matter with little adventures like that. so glad it went well :)

  2. Well done you are so much braver than me! Ali needs to stop training, she's too fast as it is! Do you ever wonder how fast she would be if she really trained because I often wonder about Jez considering the amount of effort I put in to stay so mediocre.

    You've reminded me, I want to do the MTL again this summer, anti-clockwise. Don't know when yet, need some more MTB miles in my legs yet.

  3. @Julbags If she ever trained she would be brilliant as she is a natural athlete. But she could never be bothered to put the effort it. Its works well this way as we can still ride together!

    I was to ride the MTL anti-clockwise at some point this year as well. I've only done it clockwise.

    @Kate Thanks, now I've done it once it seems less scary!

  4. That is such a long mid-week ride.
    It took me all day to get around that loop.

    At least you found the Mary Townley Stone. I managed to miss it in the light.

    I really want to follow the PBW north too! I already have a route plotted out.

  5. Trust you to miss the stone! I could see it through the gate as I got there.

    It took you 5.5hours to get round the MTL, I couldn't do it in 8hrs! I'm blaming the fact I had bivvy kit!

    I am holding off plotting adventures as no time till June at the earliest!

  6. I'm quite sure you could get around quicker than me. I was pushing most of the ups and I know you're quicker downhill than me downhill.

    I had my bivvy kit with me too? I only ended up stopping for an hour or two though as I wanted to get back.

    I didn't ride any extra trails at the quarry (Didn't even know they were there!) and I jumped a few of the gates and ran between them. I also think the route I followed cheats in palces.

    I tried to ignore that GPS plot and follow the actual route but I did cheat and miss out a big section just before Hebden bridge. After Gorples Reservoir I stayed on the road into Hebden Bridge. - I needed water!

  7. Your definately quicker at the moment. My knees haven't been right since this loop.

    I had to be helped from the car into work this morning because I can hardly walk.

  8. I'd like to do the MTL in one day in nice dry weather, but excluding the bivvvinnnggg......

  9. Red you need to see someone about those knees! Trust me knees are not something to mess with!

    You ran between the gates, wow that is keen!

    p.s. I walked up most of the hills as well!

  10. You're braver than me too and I'm a hulking great big bloke!

    I can imagine spending hours trying to get to sleep and then being woken up by the sound of a rabbit hopping around a mile away. I'd then spend several more hours worrying what was out there coming to get me!

  11. This isn't Trios first solo bivvy. She solo bivvied in Gisburn forest. There were deer beside the stream and a den of foxes just the other side of the wall.

    When I stayed there in a tent I woke up in the night and looked out to see hundreads of eyes looking back at me and bricked it. I packed up (very quickly) and left at 4am.

  12. I've bivvied twice at Gisburn, once with you and once with Ali! This is definetly my first solo one!

    ColinJ it was suprisingly not scary! It was nice and quiet and felt like there was no chance of anyone coming up on the moors!

  13. You were the only one bivvying when I was there. I was in a tent!

    Guess you're not counting that as a solo bivvy.

  14. No a solo bivvy is when I am out on the hills on my own!