A few years ago, I was listening to Jonah Jones of Skye Mountain Rescue talk about training his (now late) dog Mack to be a search and rescue dog. I was impressed with his dedication to training Mack and the cleverness of Mack. I never forgot that conversation.
When lockdown took me away from the hills, I was looking for a connection with the outdoors and that had to be in my garden. I bivvy a lot – I’ve done over 100 bivvies in the hills of Scotland- and that was going to be how I experienced the ‘new’ outdoors. I found a packing case for a car bumper in my garage and stripped the wood off it to make a ‘portaledge’.
Who wants to sleep on the ground anyway? Twenty one nights is a long time – the forecast at least was good for the first two weeks but what about coming up with 21 different places to sleep?
I shouldn’t have worried. Wet weather plans were made and never used. I slept tied to the branches of a Buddlia bush, on chairs or gardening tools forced into the ground, on and in wheelie bins. My breakfast was handed up piece by piece to my bivvy spot on top of a pergola and off course I spent the night in an orange plastic survival bag. The morning was damp, but it was 50/50 which was damper – the outside or me in the inside of the plastic bag. The ideas kept flowing.
It didn’t matter that I woke to frost on my bivvy bag or found the last night too warm. I had enormous fun over the 21 nights, and I raised just over £1300 plus gift aid for SARDA Scotland. My husband Ian hopes that I’ll now sleep in the house.