“Little Piece of Heaven”

4 02 2011

Was the message on the bench that had been installed alongside our secret camping spot.  We couldn’t agree more and thanked the kind patron for installing it.

This spot looks out onto a particularly secluded area of the South Downs; a spot we’d had in mind to wild camp at for a few years but for one reason or another, just hadn’t got to.  Today was the day though thanks to a weather window just too tempting to ignore – especially on a Saturday night!

Today was 15th January 2011.

After two weeks of almost constant rain, the clay trails in our area were pretty badly churned up so we planned a very short ride to what is now known as “Ricky’s Ridge”.  Once out the car and climbing the hill around 6.00pm the wind got stronger and stronger, Gale force 5/6 we reckon.

Here’s a couple of bits of comical video up in the very dark and back the following day (thanks Rich for hosting)

Arriving at camp steeped in blackness except for the odd glint of moonlight as the clouds scudded by at warp speed, we set about pitching up out of the wind.

Tent erected (ahem!), tarp manufactured into a canny windbreak, bench becoming our kitchenette, the kettle was on in no time while our entire reason for being here was sat on the bed slowly ‘lofting’.

Lofting on our beds were our Christmas pressies: super dooper goosedown sleeping bags from Alpkit.  Scrunching down to a tiny volume for the warmth they will offer when fully lofted – creating a bed for a King & Queen.  Yes our entire mission tonight was a good night’s (warm) sleep!

So with dinner consumed, cards played, magazines read and camp tidied, thoughts of ‘you heat the bag not the bag heating you’ clear in our mind we set about star jumping to get ourselves thoroughly warmed before donning long johns and woolly hats and getting into our bags around midnight.  The odd nip of homemade damson gin helping to rose up our cheeks too 🙂   I think you’ve already guessed this was not the trip for the new type of fashion-conscious ‘glampers’.  This was wild winter lightweight camping at its best.

During the night the wind picked up considerably but our camp stood firm and our sleeping bags worked their magic keeping us toasty warm ‘til morning.  Comfort rated between -5 and -10 tonight was no bother for them.

Waking late the next morning to a bright sky and a cup of tea we slowly packed away enjoying the view, leaving no trace, and then headed off to Badgers Tea Room, Alfriston for a well-earned snack.  Sitting like contented Cheshire cats while we consumed our treats, only we knew the special adventure we’d had last night.  Bring on the next one – hope it snows this time.

Lisa & Rick

N. B. Our Wild Winter Sleeping Kit List:

  • Exped down filled air mattress
  • Alpkit Pipedream 600 sleeping bag
  • Merino baselayer and long johns
  • Woolly hat
  • Merino socks (emergency)
  • A hot meal
  • Star Jumps

Note:  If you’re thinking of winter camping then checkout the Alpkit website for some really good information on the SLEEP layering system.   All good advice even if you don’t need any of their products at the moment www.alpkit.co.uk

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