It’s such a simple concept. Park your vehicle, grab your rucksack, walk for a while. Stop. Get your sleeping bag out and spend the night. If it’s so easy, then why don’t we do it more often?
One reason is the weather, what if it rains? Another reason is fear. Fear of being ‘discovered’ in the middle of the night, fear of insects crawling into the sleeping bag or even worse, the ears, and if you are Fran (my long suffering hiking friend) fear of the nearby wild horses trampling over us!
It’s been a decade or so since I slept out sans tent, so decided it was way overdue to do it again. I had an Alpkit bivvy bag as a Christmas present, and was keen to try it out, so heading over to West Wales to watch the sunset at the (nearly) most western point on a forecasted lovely evening seemed the perfect opportunity.
Admittedly, we did it easy. Fran and I parked up at Whitesands Bay, Pembrokeshire, headed for a walk along the beach, cooked some pasta in the Bongo, then grabbed our rucksacks and headed along the coastal path for a few kilometres. The spot we chose wasn’t the actual most western point of Wales, but it was pretty close and was a better place to watch the sunset and to sleep.
The sun started to dip into the sea, so we decided to stop and choose our bedroom for the night. It was a sheltered spot with short, spongy grass, close to an old burial stone and with an uninterrupted view across the bay. The sun was just setting as we got there, so after oooh-ing at the pinky hues, we got out our sleeping and bivvy bags, cracked open the wine, sat back and watched the view as the night drew in.
It was a perfect night to sleep outside as the light pollution was really low and the stars were amazingly bright. There was an ever-so-slight breeze that felt lovely on my face as the rest of me was all toasty in my bivvy bag. I slept well that night. We didn’t get rained on, didn’t get insects nesting in our bags with us and we didn’t get trampled on by wild horses!
It was early when we woke, a lovely morning – calm and mild. So after packing our bags and walking back along the coastal path we felt inspired to go for a morning dip. Whitesands Bay is a popular beach (with families and surfers alike), however we had the place to ourselves as we played in the surf. There are not many things as invigorating as a dip in the Atlantic before breakfast, fresh!
We had breakfast in the local café ‘Whitesands Bay Café’, it was okay food, but a word of warning – everything is served on disposable plates with disposable cups, knives and forks – lazy and wasteful. Plus if you want to use the toilets, you need to use the public ones next door for 50p!
All in all this was one of my favourite mini-adventures to date and it’s such a wonderful way to spend an evening and morning. Although next time we will be more organised and take our dinner and breakfast with us, as well as more wine and chocolate.
If you know of a bivvy spot as idyllic as our location in West Wales then message me, as I am keen to use my bivvy bag again soon 🙂