22 March 2012Our 1st Bivi ride
Well, this idea has been talked about over and over again within our group of Cocks. I amoungst others even went out and brought a Bivi bag about 2 years ago which since being recieved has sat cast away unused in a dark corner of a draw - until last night that is. It was Charlie who started the ball rolling with a text on Monday. I quickly agreed and although some of the others who wanted to do it couldn't make it Simon rose to the challenge (and the shopping bill) to join us. It started badly for me getting, delayed at work meant I missed the start of the ride so arranged to meet the others (and the rest of the Wednesday night riders)at the Plough.
I’ve just registered with Strava so on the way up I thought I’d take a detour and have a run of Summer lightning. The previous night I had had my first timed go at it with Huw on the way back from the Plough having had 3 lovely pints so this time I was hoping (and expecting) to improve on it.
With that done I resumed my course for the Plough. I was a little early so thought perhaps I’d beat the others there but as it turned out the cheer that greeted my arrival told me otherwise.
A motley crew of Cocks was arranged around some tables – there was Antony, Tread, Ray, Matt G, Huw, George, Simon, Charlie and Duncan (Jo had headed for home before reaching the Plough). Apparently Charlie had led them all on a speedy and ‘different’ route around Leith Hill taking in such delights as Caspers the old and original top singletrack on Leith hill.
With the Bivi planned everyone seemed in a somewhat enthused mood and its fair to say the drink was flowing freely. Antony & Tread headed off early to make there way back to Caterham and complete what turned out to be a route of over 50 miles for the night whilst the rest of us tucked into our 2nd pints. Soon it was Duncan and Huw who said there goodbyes leaving just 6 of us to start on our 3rd pints.
With plenty of banter the evening was passing quickly and at about 10.30 Charlie, Simon and myself decided it was about time we headed off to our chosen Bivi spot and got the fire going, cooked a bit of food and settled down for the night.
We left Ray, Matt & George who by this time had ordered a 4th drink each (Tallywhacker as well I believe) at the bar chatting to the bar maids – they had promised to join us on the hill for a night cap but we didn’t believe a word of it.
On arriving at the Bivi site I got the fire started and searched out a supply of wood whilst Charlie & Simon located their bags that they’d hidden near by at the start of the ride. With all the gear located we settled in eating our food and sampling Charlie’s Sloe Gin and the other stuff that Simon had brought along.
Time quickly passed and as we suspected there was no sign of the other 3 we left at the Plough – well not until midnight when we were just about ready to kip down and suddenly some lights appeared through the trees. Sure enough it was them so all 6 of us settled around the fire for the next hour polishing off all the various spirits that were produced.
Eventually at about 1am they decided to head home and leave us to sleep and sleep we did. I have to say that I was toasty warm in my down bag and Alpkit Bivi bag. I believe the same can be said for Simon and Charlie too and besides getting up to have a pee I slept soundly right up until 5.30 ish when I was woken by the birds singing.
Having a few minutes to look around and take it all in both Charlie and me packed up and headed for home (and work) leaving Simon alone who had no such time worries.
With all the gear stashed away and rucksacks on and still feeling rather drowsy we headed off back towards Coldharbour then down Summer lightning and all the way to Simons copse where Charlie turned off heading for Dorking leaving me to continue the direct route down the Rookery to Westcott and home.
As for Simon, he spent a bit more time on the hill before leaving and the 3 who left us in the night had a slow, funny and wobbly ride home – they all made it but all felt worse for wear the next morning. Great nights entertainment, one that really must be repeated sometime in the summer.