By: Blonde Two
At the beginning of January (the month of my 50th birthday), I set myself the Get Outside challenge of sleeping outdoors (or very nearly outdoors) for 50 nights in 2018. That works out at about 1 outdoor sleep per week across the year, which means that, by the end of February, I was 1 night behind. I decided at the start of my challenge that my outdoor sleeps are allowed to be campsite camping, wild camping, campervan camping, hammock camping, bivvy camping or any other weird combination of camping events that I or my friends can think of. In January I may or may not have cheated with two nights of camping pod camping (heater but no loo) and there are a few, frankly quite scary, sleeping ideas popping up out of the woodwork. The campervan was still off the road for much of March, so no campervan camping for me until the very end of this month but I have survived a misty Dartmoor bivvy with Mr B2 and a solo snow bivvy in the back garden (not quite wild camping on Dartmoor but getting there in the snow would have been entertaining) plus one Cornish night in the camper.
March Wild Camping – #50sleeps #8
Type: Bivvy (Dartmoor wild camp)
Location: East Dartmoor
Date: March 14th
Reason: Falling behind with 50 sleeps challenge!
Supper: At home
Breakfast: 1st breakfast (06:00) – flask tea and sea salt chocolate. 2nd breakfast (08:00) – boiled eggs on Mr B2’s home baked toast.
Comment: A very misty night, tricky to see on the drive up, ponies everywhere. A short walk down to a cosy little bivvy spot nestled in the gorse (no overnight prickles). Spent a happy half hour doing a spot of bivvy reading (new experience, Kindle in ziplock bag) before settling down to sleep. Woke at 24:00 for a loo stop, refused to get up until 24:15 because midnight, mist and a man-shaped boundary stone were just a spooky step too far), woke again at 04:00 and then at 05:00 when I annoyed Mr B2 by taking (very important) photos. Hair number on waking – an amazing 9!
March Wild Camping – #50sleeps #9
Type: Bivvy (back garden snow camp)
Date: March 19th
Reason: I knew I would regret missing the opportunity to sleep in the snow, we don’t get it very often down here in Devon.
Supper: At home
Breakfast: Home baked bread (Mr B2), cream cheese and pickle
Comment: Discovered the main issue with snow camping is keeping it out of the bivvy bag and sleeping bag. I was as warm as toast despite temperatures of -6 but some might consider the hot water bottle to have been cheating! Pillow-wise it was great, I stuffed a cushion into a drybag (advantages of a three-metre walk to your camp spot) and fashioned a snow pillow to supplement it. The night sky was perfect, with wispy clouds, a scattering of stars and a direct view of the Plough, which served as a clock as it was in a different position each time I woke up. It was a windy night, even in the garden, but I wanted my face out in the (very) fresh air so I tucked the bivvy bag in around me to stop it making ‘someone is tapping you’ flapping noises. I had a funny wee moment at midnight (left it too long) when I didn’t want to go inside, in case I was tempted by my bed, and ended up behind the shed hoping that the neighbours were all asleep. Eventually allowed myself in a 05:15, stripped my many layers of clothes off to get into bed with Mr B2 only to discover that he had had the windows open all night (to check I was okay) and the bedroom was freezing. It had been warmer in the bivvy bag!
March Wild Camping – #50sleeps #10
Location: Somewhere near a lake in Cornwall
Date: March 30th (it hasn’t happened yet but it will!)
Reason: We finally have the camper back and are excited to give her a proper overnight test (as opposed to a test on a friend’s drive!)
Wild camping on Dartmoor is legal but not everywhere. To check out where you are allowed to wild camp on Dartmoor have a look at the Dartmoor National Park wild camping map.