Winter has arrived! It is the end of our season here in Scotland so, together with a couple of mates, I had arranged to get away into the depths of the Cairngorms on a light-weight mountain bike bivvy trip. We had planned to meet in Braemar on the east side of the Cairngorms and ride into the heart of the mountains with as little gear as possible for two days of bivvying and mountain biking, sounds simple doesn’t it?
Were it not for this winter’s first dump of snow making an appearance the night before the trip, it would have been. Just getting to the rendez-vous point was proving to be a challenge, with the roads being under 2 inches of snow and frozen solid! But, eventually, the skies cleared and the sun shone high in the sky, so things were looking up.
On arriving at Braemar we set about eating cake and drinking tea; preparing the only way we know how for our wintery expedition. After our lunch of champions and pulling Mark out of the cafe kicking and screaming we set off into the mountains and the gathering clouds.
En-route to our planned bivvy spot we managed to pick up some stunning and atmospheric pictures of an autumnal/wintery wonderland, where the trees were all amazing colours of yellow, brown and still some shades of green set to the backdrop of the dark hills with their white tops – truly stunning!
Just before dark we arrived at our bivvy spot, set up camp and set about getting the kettle on for a well earned brew and a few biscuits, not to mention a small sip from our hip flasks. Before we got too attached to our hip flasks we decided to get dinner on, which consisted of a healthy combination of pasta and vegetables with a pudding of chocolate crispy cake and tea – heaven.
The rest of the night went something along the lines of, “Another cup of tea?” “Some chocolate?” “Anyone for tea?”…….
Our prayers for one of those autumnal mornings, where the sun warms you from the outside in, were dashed when we stuck our heads out of our bivvy bags and found that it was one of those autumnal mornings where the rain soaks you from the outside in! Only one thing for it: a quick cup of tea, some food and a ride out to the cafe for some soup and a coffee.
So our first autumn over-nighter finished as it had started; back at the cafe. The question is, will this winter continue as it has started; with lots of snow and ice? Watch this space…