23 December 2009

snow envy, what snow envy

'the plan' has been severely tweaked to take into account of the 'extreme weather event'.

yesterday's 'run' along mam tor ridge turned into a crawl and a fight for warmth. but this was just a prelude to the main adventure. a snow bivvy.

meeting my partner in goose down at a pub with a roaring fire, we ate and drank and put off heading into the night. amy had pedaled, pushed and traveled by rail from home. she was still thawing out. i on the other hand, had a complete change of clothes and dry shoes in the car. despite this, i was in no hurry to leave the comfort of the ladybower inn.

after faffage of massive proportions we were ready to head out. amy on her bike and me in my fell shoes. we've been on this path before, conditions were less cold and white then. but it's well trod and easy to follow....an hour later, after scaling dry stone walls and wading through thigh deep snow, we had no idea where we were. it's now snowing and the wind is picking up. why it took us so long to get the compass out i don't know.

heading due north, dragging amy's bike by the front wheel, we battled on through what seemed like endless arctic tundra. both chatting but both very cold and a little unnerved. best not to say anything. head down and keep on. we're laughing a little less now. i'm glad i didn't bring my bike.

then suddenly, out of the cold snow, something flies up, it's wings flap against my chilled bottom. i scream. amy screams. we drop the bike. we both laugh. we pick the bike up and carry on. eventually we reach familiar ground. still confused about how we went so wrong so quickly. nearly there. the moon is so bright and now we can see our objective on the horizon, 'the wheel stones'.

for some reason we both had this nagging sense that there might already be some one camped there. there wasn't. out of the wind but the snow was still falling. my only thoughts were to get my frozen shoes off and get into my down cocoon. it was like a comedy slow race. both anxious to get warm, both too cold to move quickly.

i'd been given permission from jane that spooning was allowed, in "life and limb threatening situations". fortunately this was not needed. it was cold, the stars shone brightly and my breath hung in the air. but hunkered down i fell asleep. only waking for that dreaded need for a wee. bladder emptied and the sky appreciated some more, i drifted off once again.

we woke to the slow sun rising. it was so peaceful. so white. so serene. so lucky. a breakfast of bacon and (garlic and coriander) nann bread-not a combination i'll repeat but it was all my corner shop had. everything takes some much longer in the winter. but it means you have longer to take in the beauty of your chosen spot.

our walk/run, push/pedal down, was a lot quicker than the previous nights ascent. time for one last hot chocolate before heading our separate ways.

a snow bivvy, why? because we can.


jumbly said...

I have adventure envy. Great write up of a great mini-adventure.

Red Bike said...

You thought there might be someone camping there already? - Seriously?

I decided it was too cold to stay out riding for long never mind bivvying!

Thunder In The Night said...

Awesome. Highly motivational stuff Kate. Great pictures too! Breakfast sounds fantastic but I guess you have to earn that kind of start to a day!

Ian Charters said...

Great day (night) out with a great reason for doing it :-)

chris said...

Great stuff!

Were you a bit chilly in the night?

The Ladybower Inn is an excellent bivvy choice with it's post-bivvy opening.

Not sure about the choice of nann tho!

Have a lovely christmas!!

trio said...

Scary but fantastic night!

kate said...

jumbly- thanks. you and jane are coming on a summer one to the same spot-it's training ;)

red- it's the best bivvy spot (in the world)

thunder- i used 3 sets of gloves. 1 merino liner, 1 cheapish 'winter glove and waterproof mits ;)

ian- exactly :)

chris- it was the first time i've not woken up due to being cold. but i was wearing my whole wardrobe. hope ya'll have a lovely christmas too :)

trio- don't be scared of me ;)

chris said...

Just looked it up - that's a serious sleeping bag!

Glad it did it's job, and no mountain rescue was required.

Groover said...

You're totally mad, Kate! Totally! What a sunrise! I can sense the quietness and serenity. Have a great Christmas and an awesome Happy New Year!

jenn said...

so. iditarod in the long term plan, then? ;-)

Charlie said...

Brilliant! But you never explained just what it was that flapped against your cold bottom!.... ice-dragon?...grouse?....?

Jo said...

You make it sound magical (but not in any way tempting!). You two are hardcore - think I'll leave that to the experts.
Have a lovely Christmas and I look forward to reading all your adventures in 2010.

iain said...

The bacon photo wins. All the best for xmas and the new year to you both.

Iain & Em

kate said...

chris- hopefully will get a lot of use to justify it ;)

groove- have a great christmas too. don't eat too much mango!

jenn- i'd never be silly enough to drag a bike that far. a sledge maybe ;)

charlie- to be honest i think it might have been amy ;)

jo- hope you both have a good christmas to and lots of riding in the new year :)

iain- 'happy winter holiday' to you both too ;) don't have too much fun on the skis will you!

Martin Rye said...

Superb Kate just superb.

Elizabeth A said...

Amazing photos. Almost makes me want to go for a snow bivvy. But then I think I'd rather head straight for the bacon rolls...

kate said...

martin- your welsh trip inspired me for one last adventure!

elizabeth- thanks. just make sure their rolls and not naan breads ;)

Anonymous said...

What a truly fantastic adventure, and write-up! I so know what you mean about waking to the need for a pee! It's one of life's greatest pains, IMO, but balanced by the huge pleasure of settling back into the sleeping bag afterwards :)

I want your breakfast *now*!

kate said...

thanks peewiglet :) you're very right, the only reason i ended up getting up was the knowledge that i'd be getting back in!