Bivvy a Month #8 – Take Two!!
Well, when I set out to do the Bivvy a Month Challenge I knew they’d be challenges. Despite a so far successful year with my rides and the weather, my luck seemed to run out towards the end of August. I had my route planned so I set off to bag #BAMfatbike2018 #8. However after a short drive, I realized I hadn’t packed my arm warmers so I had to detour home to look for them, I didn’t find them. So off I went again, put some diesel in the van and realized I hadn’t brought my cash card! So the afternoon wasn’t going to plan, and as the afternoon went by it seemed it affected my morale….
I started the ride very close to where I started last month’s bivvy, in the shadow of Snowdon (Wales’s highest mountain). I passed through the double tracks of the Beddgelert forest with some fine weather beating down on the quiet area. Some hike a bike followed as I made my way over an old walkway where the old quarrymen would walk to the slate quarry named the Prince of Wales. Work started here in 1873 where the workers would quarry for slate and trim them into roofing slates ready to be transported out of the valley on a small gauge railway. It was this old railway track down in the valley that I would follow for the next few miles. The going was good with some overgrown sections and some wooden bridges that have collapsed since my last visit 3 years ago.
After a short tarmac section, I was on another old rail track, this time to the older 1856 Gorseddau slate quarry. As I made my way along the wet track there was a sudden rush of fear running through me as I heard a gunshot which echoed through the valley for a few seconds. I stopped in my tracks to try to work out where it came from. I was hoping a farmer was after a fox and not a fatbiker! After a few minutes, I heard the sound of a quad bike start up and I soon saw him disappear over the mountain. I then passed the impressive cantilever wall which was built to protest the rail track from the waste slate which sits above it. More hike a bike followed as the evening sun fell, the views now pretty special as I looked out at the surrounding mountains of Snowdonia. I then picked a spot for the tarp, however, it wasn’t working out and I soon realized my morale was low. I just wasn’t in the zone. I could have tried a bit more but I had doubts in my mind about staying out. I knew there was rain forecast for the early hours and the thought of waking up in the rain with my new sleeping bag getting wet wasn’t appealing to me. I also found out I hadn’t packed my rain jacket. So after a poor start, I quickly made my mind up to pack it in and go home. I must admit I wasn’t happy with myself for quitting, I don’t do quitting. So with work for the next few days, I had one last chance to get in August’s bivvy and it was on the very last night of the month.
I spent the next 4 days thinking of where to go, somewhere that would light my fire, spark my mojo. After seeing the date for Global Fat Bike Day here on fat-bike.com I knew where I had to go, Newborough beach. This is the area I lead my north Wales ride for GFBD and I knew my mojo would return from riding there. I also had my eldest son accompany me for his first bike bivvy. I was riding the Mukluk and he was riding the Bucksaw. Now I’ve only ridden the Bucksaw on the beach once before and that was in Iceland and to be honest I wasn’t that keen on getting the Bucksaw wet in the sea water. We only had a handful of miles down the coast till we found a nice flat spot. We set up the tarp easily this time, fixing it between the two bikes. There was plenty of driftwood laying around and that meant we soon had a fire going. We seemed to be cooking and eating for most of the evening. First up was tinned stew and potatoes heated up by the fire, then we had some fine Welsh lamb steaks sizzled on the now flattened tins, then we had some nacho’s which I prepped before we left home. With full bellies my lad soon felt tired and hit the sleeping bag. I stayed up for another couple of hours drinking a couple of beers and enjoying the sound of the sea. I had a good warm nights sleep as I was trying out my new Alpkit sleeping bag, so future nights are going to be warm enough.
It was great to get back down to basics and spend some quality time with my lad. He did enjoy it and said he’d do it again, so that’s a bonus!
#BAMfatbike #8 eventually done. Now surprisingly I found August to be the toughest yet which I thought would be the easiest. It just shows that little things can affect how it works out and about how you can overcome them to make it a success.
4 to go…..