With BAM beginning to feel like Groundhog Day, I set off again at the end of the month, heading out on the bike path towards Westhill. Again the weather was mediocre with no definite rain in the forecast, but twice bitten, thrice shy, as they say, kind of.

It wasn’t raining for once, so I took a pic

This time, I was mostly determined I was going to make it out to Echt and make my way up to the Barmekin Hill Fort for a bivy in the woods below the top. The weather held and I reached the back road out of Echt in fine fettle, before crossing and heading up the track over the shoulder of the hill. It’s a steady climb and I was ready for the muddy bit at the top from many trips out here to exercise the kids when they are being annoying. I turned right and popped through the gate to take the hill path. I wasn’t planning on going all the way to the top, as this side had some shelter from the wind. There were plenty of trees to pick from, so I made my choice and got set up, skipping the tarp for once.

Blending with my surroundings

Tonight was a good chance to test out my Eno Sub 6 hammock, which has been sitting in my camping kit for over a year, since it didn’t come with a suspension system after getting it at a bargain price from Amazon. I’d finally pulled the trigger on a Cocoon lightweight whoopee sling setup, which was a breeze in comparison to the overly long suspension on my Exped hammock. I was also looking forward to seeing if the extra 10cm of hammock length would perfect my sleep as I’ve always felt the Exped could do with being longer.

I sat down to enjoy my brew and immediately felt a few spots of rain hitting my face out of nowhere. Cursing, I pulled out the tarp and reluctantly put it up for the third bivy in a row.

Wishing I could go back to that year I didn’t use a tarp till December

The rain didn’t come to much, but would have been enough to wet my down bag, so I was glad I hadn’t ditched the tarp at home. Eventually, I ate my belated dinner and got my head down, knowing I would wake up handy to get myself home for work in the early morning daylight.

More hazy moon through the tree shots
Not quite bathed in sunrise light

The morning dawned grey and misty, rather ruining my choice of an excellent sunrise viewpoint. After another cuppa and a croissant, I packed up and skidded my way down the path to the main track.

Yet another packed bike
Low on traction moist grass

Rather than come back down the way I came, I wanted to go over the other side of the shoulder and follow the track down to the B9119, as I’d not linked across that way before and I like to fill in as many cycleable tracks as I can!

Some mud ahoy
Cautious downhill

Once I got down to the road, I kept it simple and used my usual combination of quiet roads to get me back to Aberdeen and along North Deeside Road to home in time for work as always.

Grey roads on a grey day

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