Four Seasons In One Day

It’s always hard to know what to expect from the weather in Northern Ireland as we have a famously changeable climate, however we also have a nicely precise Meteorological Office who can generally provide a fairly accurate 3 day forecast. We watched the outlook with a compulsion for the whole week leading up to our planned Friday night bivvy and eventually had to decide if we were willing to rough it if needs be. The forecasts from various sources were at odds with each other over if there would be a brief window of evening opportunity where the rain would stop for a few hours at exactly the time we intended to be lounging around in front of the fire.

Eventually we decided that since the car wouldn’t be far, it was worth taking a chance, and after all, with the right gear there’s rarely a night in Northern Ireland where you can’t stay out overnight in relative comfort. Leaving the house around 7pm we were scouting for spots by 830pm and pitched by 9pm. With 3 tarps between 3 of us we were spoiled for choice deciding to use 2 to sleep under and one for lounging around shelter if the rain came.

And the rain did come. Around 10pm the heavens opened and torrential rain turned quickly to sleet so we retired to our sleeping shelter and fired up the multifuel stoves for steaks, dried potato and pepper sauce. Resigning ourselves to a night in the wet we lit a fire and prepared to settle in for the long haul. We had brought a Yukon Firebox and a handful of firelogs so as to use a minimum of wood from the local area and leave as little trace as possible. Firelogs are only 99p in B&M at the minute and burn for 1-2 hours so a few topped up with small sticks makes for an easy small fire that has minimum impact. Carrying a 4kg firebox is a giant pain but for trips with little walking there’s no reason not to.

As quickly as the rain had come, it died away to be replaced by strong winds. We tried in vain to rearrange the tarp for some shelter from the biting cold but the blowing gale was strong and in the end we left the tarp as well anchored as possible and ignored the wind all wondering if the shelter we would be sleeping under would stand this level of battering.

Luckily, the variable NI weather came to our rescue and in no time the wind completely died to leave us in a lovely clear night wondering if this sort of changeability was maybe a sign of the apocalypse. The rest of the evening was still and we (foolishly) hung around the dying fire until well into the AM’s.

After a late night  we had a very comfortable sleep and didn’t waken until around 11am leaving no time for breakfast and biscuits and sweets on the hoof was the best we could do on the jaunt back to the car.

You can’t beat the Friday night quickie!

This entry was posted in Trip Reviews.

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