First bikepacking trip of 2014

Last Saturday I had my first bikepacking night away of the year. After faffing packing, it was 15:00 when I eventually left. No matter as I was only going local, to the Pentland Hills outside Edinburgh, as I just wanted to test some new gear, Wild Country Zehpyros 1 tent and Rab Ascent 500 bag (1c rated). These new purchases mean that I now have all possible tent/tarp/bag/mat combinations to deal with all four seasons in Scotland. Ten minutes in I realised that I had not packed my down jacket. Although 6mm of rainy snow was forecast for the tops, I decided not to delay further and u-turn as I would be in a tent not tarp.

Aside from commuting, this was my first ride in more than a few weeks having spent my leisure time with two snowboarding holidays since Christmas and well as managing a dodgy bad back. Conditions on the hills were muddy but not too glupy. However, my legs were heavy having not put in many miles recently and the realisation that I had forgotten to eat much so far that day. Nevertheless, it was good to be out, grinning as puffed up the hills or as my tyres slid in the mud.

Edinburgh and the Forth are north, behind the hills. Not a soul around up here.

I decided to camp in these trees to get some cover from the weather up this high. And time was getting on before it would soon be getting dark.

This clearing looked like a pleasant spot, flat and sheltered.

New tent up. Very easy too with inner and outer put up together.

Gear unpacked, cous cous and curry reheating, and a large bowl of coffee. Dinner of champions.

After refuelling, I settled down in the warmth and comfort. The new sleeping bag in the new tent felt good. So toasty, full and content, I could have turned in, particularly now that the sleet started pattering on the tent, but I watched a film on my phone. It still only 20:00 after all. And I treated myself to a few snifters of black russians.

The sound of the weather on the tent was becoming louder around midnight so I got up for a nosey and was surprised to see so much snow. Much more then I was expecting; more than the forecast 6mm. A very quick visit to the Gents and then back into my cocoon. The missing down jacket was not missed as the tent and bag where doing great.

By 07:30 in the morning, with the snow already beginning to thaw slightly, I packed up while my coffee and porridge were on the go.

Packed and keen to set off home. The myog drybag strapping worked well and was okay to reattach out in the field.

The landscape had changed dramatically since yesterday. After slip-sliding down the hill over snow covered mud, I took the quick, road way home and made it back for second breakfast.