Hammocking in the Highlands

How it started

Having had some interest in outdoors activity, and being a keen reader of BushcraftUK and British Blades, I soon found there was loads of kit I absolutely needed.

Having tried some bits, I determined I was going to do an overnight over Xmas. Breaking a toe put paid to that... but I'm better now. In the end, I decided I might as well give it a on the night of 28 January 2006.

Kit I've used that I mention was mostly acquired after chats on the two forums.

Kit required

This includes:

Setting off

I set off a little after 3pm towards Milbuie Forest at the top of the Black Isle. One of the many nice things about living in Scotland is that you can wild camp just about anywhere, thanks to the Land Reform(Scotland) Act 2003. I parked up on the road and trogged off down a forest path; about half a mile down it, I cut direct into the woodland plantation.

My pack was heavyish - I'd guess 35 lbs +; heavy things being the Nanok bag, the Swedish cookset, and about 3.5 litres of water. like everyone the first time I guess, the only thing missing was the kitchen sink.

I found a smallish raised bit where I could pitch the fly. Easy ridgeline, and with a couple of extensions I managed to get the guys looking a bit smarter than the first time.

Hammock dropped into place easily enough.

Side view of Hammock I'd even managed to get a bit where I could step *out* of the hammock. Side view of Hammock


Dropped my reflective windscreen cover in, unstuffed the Nanok bag.

Time to get a brew on. Jetboil for that; worked a dream. Tea in 4 minutes; real milk out of a thermos. Sit down and read for a bit. Watch the sun setting.

Ah. maybe better get tea on. Chicken curry out of a *tin*. Hmm, wondered why the pack was heavy. Trangia lights OK - always fascinates me watching the pressure build. Heated up nicely in the lid; ate with bread using my Spork - see, Ti! a *real* weight saver Did the washing up.

Stuck on the MyoXP and read for a bit longer; into the hammock... already beginning to drop off and it's only 6.30! Listen to the radio[tiny little personal radio] ring SWMBO to give progress report. Get up, have another brew, stretch my legs. Sleeka on as it's getting cool. Read, practice some knots...


10pm. Hurrah, I can go to sleep; brew, clean teeth, other ablutions. Struggle into bag [forecast was for -4/-6, so sleep with Rab Trail Pants on, Driflow top and wooly pully]. Dead easy to sleep; I expect to be nervous as first night in woods, but I'm not. Possibly because I know this area well, it's a safe area, and I'm deep enough that it would be a struggle to get in in the dark. Listen to the owls; look at the stars.

Wake up; gosh I've slept well. Must be about 6am; check; ah, 2am. Need a pee, stagger out attend to that. Back to kip easily. Listen to the rain fall on the fly sheet. Splendid; can still see stars in between the trees. I like this a lot.

4am wake up. An owl has perched on my tree; amazing noise. Wait until I can't stand it, go for another pee [too much tea late at night ]. This time, I can't get the bag comfy and closed. I'm cold. I can't find the head torch (ah, still on head. Amazingly comfortable). That took about 20 minutes to sort out. I'm shivering, so have the Sleeka on inside the bag. My legs are cold. Debating whether to get up and put long johns on - debating whether to put my padded Sleeka trousers on, I'm that cold. Drop off.

Morning rising

Wake around 6ish. Tops OK, ears are warm in my hat. Legs are freezing. Can't stand it after 6.50 so get up for morning pee.

Disaster. I'm soaked. How can I face BushcraftUK and admit to enuresis?

Of course, what it was that a load of condensation had formed below the bag on top of the wndscreen cover; this had soaked the bag, and must have contributed to the cold.

The Trail pants are Pertex and wick the moisture away instantly. Once out of the bag and moving I warm up, particularly once I've had a morning wet. Couple of bacon sarnies and the world looks brighter. Polish off a tin of beans; have another wet. Suns up. It's been a nice night. Pack up.

Head back to car. Only a touch of ice on it - can't have got to -4. maybe 0.

Learning Points

So, what were they?.

So - that was my first night out...

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