Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Hammocking in the woods

Wintertime is a fine time to go hammocking in the woods! Back in November I took to the woods after a great weekend at a bird conference in the Scottish Highlands. It was proper cold, at around -8°C, with great fingers of hoar frost everywhere. It was also incredibly dry and crisp as I hiked out into the forest in the last rays of the day. The sunset sky was cloudless and sharp and full of Scot's pine silhouettes and in the fading light I made a dump of my kit while I hunted out my site for the night. I settled on a duo of birch and pine and quickly set up the hammock tapes, the tarp with ridgeline and pegged guys, and then set up all the warm stuff - two sleeping bags, a thermarest and a pillow (hey, why not be super comfortable!). The hammock is a DD Camping Hammock and while a little heavier than their cool Superlight design, it is a great buy. I love the double zipped layer which is where I stick the thermarest. I then climbed into my winter bag in the hammock, and zipped up a 3/4 season bag up on the outside of the hammock - properly toasty!

Trouble was, it warmed up a huge amount in the night, to a balmy 0°C, with snow and sleet and drizzle. At some unearthly hour I did have to climb out of my cosy nest to adjust the tarp, closing up one end to a narrow gap. This definitely helped but the tarp could have been tighter and anyhow, my outer sleep bag poked out some and got a bit damp. Under the tarp it was fine and I had my things hanging up in easy reach - headtorch, waterbottle, extra warm things, snacks. Come the morning, as I had prepped for deep freeze, I woke up totally boiling, far too hot!! De-rigging quickly I headed out on a now very icy path and under one heck of a louring sky and I made it back to the car just in time before the heavens opened and then opened some more!! Was still a top night and I especially loved listening to the crossbills calling in the treetops above my hammock. And the hot tea and chocolate croissants for brekkers, in the hammock, were pretty good too!