Friday, 19 June 2009

Day One. Dramas

9.30 am. Breakfast with neighbour, pleased to see that it is raining, heavily.

10.50 am. Coffee with neighbour, still raining, fortunately my bivi bag was lost in the post so there will be no waterproof layer between the wet ground and my sleeping bag unless I can fashion such a thing from leaves.

11.24 am. Rain stops, dash to shop for supplies.

11.57am. Blue skies and sunshine, time to start packing.

2.30 pm. Throw stuff in rucksack and head out in the pouring rain, drive the quad as far up the mountain as possible then strike out on foot. The ground is very steep, covered in boulders, fallen trees and occasionally covered in thick undergrowth. A lot of time is spent variously, crawling, clambering and climbing. Time set aside to rue decision to delay purchase of gore tex mountain boots, my feet are soaking and I keep slipping on the wet ground.

3.30 pm. Arrive at woodland home and scout around for a flat dry patch of ground to sleep on, under the pine trees the ground is dry but not flat, between the trees there is an occasional patch of flat ground but it is soaking wet. I could wrap my sleeping bag up in my basha (waterproof sheet) and sleep under the stars but would rather use the basha as a roof and have a bit more comfort. Eventually find patch of reasonably flat ground that is dry and just about the same size as me. Quickly put the basha up, light fire, put saucepan of water on, discover forgotten to pack mug (again), drink saucepan of tea (being careful not to burn lips), question wisdom of living in woods again.

4.33 pm. So here I sit in a forest high up in the Alps and despite the fact I have soaking wet feet and I am currently enveloped in what appears to be a cloud I have realised that it is going to be very dry up here over the summer so I’m probably going to have to use a camping stove rather than an open fire to cook on. Which would be a shame. I know someone who has some land on another part of the mountain that I might be able to use so if there is time tomorrow I will go and have a look at that. Hopefully there will be some flat ground next to a river I could use to drink, wash in and extinguish a fire if necessary.

17.50 pm. Was interviewed over the phone by a presenter from BBC Radio Oxford. I don't think he understood.

18.20 pm Rain accompanied by thick fog.Trudge back down the mountain to post this blog, met a loose cow in the woods then shortly afterwards met a farmer on the track. Attempted to explain about the cow but only have limited French. Managed to put together a statement I thought summed up the situation "one beef has disappeared" but the raised eyebrow it was met with told me I had more explaining to do.

19.11 pm. Raining, heavily. Don't make me go back out there.

Lessons learned - need more kit, don't like rain.


Matthew Coombes said...

Hoorah! You're off to a great start! Good luck Dicthmonkey!

Anonymous said...

Welcome home Mr Monkey.

Hehe, word verification - hellype. Sounds a bit like HELP to me!


Hugh Sawyer said...

Thank you

It does feel like home, how I have missed waking up in a damp wood and easing myself into wet clothes first thing in the morning.