Deep and Crisp and Even

Paul and myself had a day-out weekend just gone.

Originally we were planning to camp out for the night, but the prevailing weather forecast was grim (lots of cold weather and snow) so we decided to sack the idea of sleeping out (we’re both all in there for testing one’s limits, but we were looking forward to an evening to enjoy rather than endure). Instead we decided to just make a day of it.

                We set out early, with a dusting of snow already on the ground.

                We’d scouted out the spot we were heading for a couple of days previous. We decided to take the picturesque (and longer) route to the site; through deciduous woodland of a typical British nature – lots of beech and oak. On the way we found evidence of the many deer that live in the woods scavenging for food – snow and leaves scraped clear with the plant shoots nibbled away.

                We arrived at our spot amongst an area of pine trees. There wasn’t much of a wind, but the slight breeze there was, blowing in from the east, felt quite bitter. We made our camp in a shallow gulley and decided to block one end up and heighten the banks with the many pine brushes that littered the woods.

                This made a considerable difference.

                And once we had a fire going it was quite tolerable inside our shelter, despite it not having a roof. Once we stepped outside there was a considerable and palpable difference in temperature.

                Paul had made a collapsible bow-saw so we cut some wood, got a fire going, and had a brew.

                Then we decided to improve the shelter. We’d been sitting on the floor (on ground sheets) but you could still feel the cold coming up from the ground. So we made a bench to sit on, to get us off the ground, and then covered this with more pine brushes for insulation.

                Lunch was intended to be a two-course affair – turkey rasher rolls followed by soup. But I knocked the pot of soup over! We made up for this, though – Paul had brought a bar of chocolate Turkish delight and I had some Pringles with me. Then we made some rum and raisin bannock. We hardly starved.

                Building the shelter, and the bench, had taken a lot of work, and outside the shelter it really was quite bitter. We’d made all sorts of plans to do many other things – cord making, bird spotting etc, but we’d been busy and we had a good base to show for it!

                The sun started going down and we’d used up all the fire wood we’d collected. So we cleaned up the fire pit to leave no trace, but decided to leave the shelter and bench for any other lonely wanderer to enjoy, and to expand some other time – another wall to offer a better enclosure and another bench so we had two sleeping shelves for a night out some time.

                It had been a cracking, and bracing, day out. We were both surprised and impressed how much difference the shelter made – despite still being open to the elements, having those walls to reflect the heat made a considerable difference.


1 Comment

  1. Matt said,

    February 28, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Nice blog post, I like the bench that you made

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