30th December 2015
After a very tough year at work both me and my brother-in-law were all washed out and felt like we’d both missed out on some adventures so we decided we needed to get out. Because of festive commitments it was going to be a short adventure but an important one. I think sometimes we all think too big, when all we need is a small adventure, an evening away. So Nic set a simple plan to ride down the coastline from his home (Berwick-Upon-Tweed) to a bivvy spot on the beach. He had apparently checked the tide information and wind direction and explained that we wouldn’t be washed away. I believed him on this occasion as he was coming with me, other times maybe not!
We set off on our travels fully clothed for a cold winter night and proceeded to strip layer by layer off like onions as it was decidedly warm – 10 degree Celsius! We didn’t cry like you do when peeling onions though. We rode down the coastline on our single speed mountain bikes. This was Nic’s first outing on his new 99p eBay special. He’d built up from bits he had lying around so was pushing an old skool 26” wheel Orange frame (remember them?) with a 34 front ring and 16 teeth on the rear, proper hard-core.
We pedalled down the coast for an hour in the dark trying to avoid the boggy puddles….FYI you can’t. Seeing an old military outpost tower was our cue that we’d reach our spot for the night. We quickly surveyed the land/sea/beach for the nicest place to stay, it all looked the same but we concluded that the spot we chose was the best so setup camp for the night.
Nic was trying out his new bivvy bag as well, a Snugpak Stratosphere which is a twin hooped bivvy. Very nicely made and looked really comfy. I was in my Karrimor X-Lite bivvy so wasn’t as comfy but was more at ‘one’ with the elements.
We got the stove on, a primus paraffin stove. The roar of the stove was ace as we brewed up and had some Christmas cake followed by a wee dram of whiskey. We were all settled in and cloud gazing, no stars tonight, by 10.30pm, wonderful.
The night went by without much interest for Nic but for me I spent a few hours trying to keep my bivvy protected from the elements I was at ‘one’ with. The rain was pretty hard from 3am until about 6am. What made it worse was that the sound of the rain made me need a wee. I gave in at 5.30 and got up and filled up the sea a bit more…..sorry polar bears the melting of that ice cube was my fault.
We both woke up at 6am and decided that we should try and recover for a couple of hours longer so we dosed until 8am. The longest lie-in either of us had enjoyed for a while. When we finally woke we stayed well with the confined of our bivvy bags as quite frankly it was bloody freezing. We got the primus stove on again, this time it took a bit longer to get started due to the temperature. Once lit we got a brew on then a lovely bowl of porridge. Bland porridge is horrid at home but it is nice outside, why?
Once warmed up from the porridge, brew and amazingly the sun we said “hi” to a lady passing on her horse with a poor (I wanted to write ‘paw’ for comedy value but resisted) little old dog trying the play catch up, bless. We packed our stuff up. This is the joy of simple bivvy’s, it takes but a minute to pack away and get moving so we were quickly on our travels. Nic stopped to show me the signed for where we had stayed. Apparently there are unexploded devices in the area….that would of made quick a different story if they had gone off.
We pedalled quickly back home to get warm passing all the big boggy ditches we rode through on the way over. It’s far easier travelling in the daytime, you can avoid all the deep troughs which stop you instantly. We finally made it home, going by the promenade just see the faces of the ‘normal’ people looking at us ‘strange’ folk. I’m not sure if we looked happier than them but I can guarantee we felt happier.
A big thank you to Nic Dawson for getting me away from the normalities of life even just for 12 hours. Back to work we go, ho ho NO!