Stealth bivvy: asleep by the sea

Oisin over at NI-Wild.co.uk put up notice that he was planning a bivvy in the Bangor area on Saturday. He was attending training there all weekend and felt better to make use of the nice weather to avoid travel back and forth or paying for accommodation. It was an open invite for any of us regulars to join him. Owing to the weather and wanting to get into some quicker, near-urban bivvies, I was more than happy to join him.

By the time I got home and fed, and gathered my gear, it was 20:00 before I set off on my bike for the 15mile trip to our approximate rendezvous. My knees were a bit creaky having run a hilly 14-miler before work so I took things easy. Eventually, I hit the coastal path. Small beach fires marked a few friday-night revelers, but they seemed harmless enough as I aimed for the lone head-torch.

Contact made, we walked along to a spot Oisin had scouted out as he waited for me. It was a little rocky outcrop, just off the path, with enough grass for a comfortable snooze. We were mostly hidden from the path and the rocks cut off the sound from the youths, only 100m away.

We were quickly warm in our sleeping bags, with a hot brew on. We watched the last trains and planes glow through the waterside mist and got caught up on gear, biking mishaps, and the mindset of the bivvy. Both of us had work in the morning, so were helped to sleep by the gentle lapping of the tide. I only remember waking once and noted the tide had come up significantly, but was still well below our site.


The next time I woke the red sun was burning through the morning mist. I had not brought my Survival Zone bivvy so the dew lay heavy on the sleeping bag, but I don’t feel it was any more damp than had it been ensconced. Curlews, Oystercatchers and various gulls were getting lively in search of breakfast. There was some nice formation flying just above the still water. By 7:30 we started to see people on the path. We nearly got hit by a thrown tennis ball, and shortly after over-run by the chasing dog! The owner was oblivious. Another walker stumbled upon us as he took a more scenic walk over the shore rocks.


The light mist was still hugging the shore-line by 8:30 when we packed up and parted ways. The one small misfortune in the whole proceedings was that I had to repair a puncture before I could cycle home to freshen up for work. A light breeze behind me helped make up for lost time and before you knew it, I was in work, having returned a distance much greater than any recorded on the GPS.


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