Saturday, 4 January 2014

First camp of the year; The Hams O' Roe

Just before New Year my friend rang and asked if I had any plans before going back to work, may be a camp? Well it's the middle of winter, dark for 18 hours and the forecast was pretty poor, but we thought we had a window of more reasonable weather so made plans.

Initially it was to go over Ronas Hill to Lang Ayre and there abouts, but we changed to a trip to the Hams O'Roe on Muckle Roe at the last minute as, for all he'd kayaked and sailed there, he'd never walked in.

The plan was to walk in from Little Ayre along the fantastically scenic coast, camp at North Ham and then walk back via the more direct and easier track.


As you'll see in the longer video below the walk in was very wet and very windy, but a good walk, and as promised the weather dried up later in the afternoon to leave a wonderfully, (but very windy) starry night.

Our camp at North Ham...


Martin...


Part of the reason for the camp for me was to check out my set ups for my trip to Greenland in the summer. In an effort to save weight I was just cooking on a trangia burner with a little titanium trivet for a crusader canteen and tried my first Mountain House freeze dried meals. I had chicken tikka curry and apple and custard for tea, not bad, but the curry was a little bland so I'll add some seasoning to my kit. I was also trying out various other combinations of kit and clothes for comfort and carry.


Once it cleared up the views were stunning...




And I took a little wander up the opposite hillside to look at the small waterfalls caused by the recent deluges...







All too soon the sun was beginning to set behind the hills...


And the stars were coming out. Orion peeping over the horizon...


The Milky Way...


And a faint band of aurora across the plough. I had hoped for a cracker of a show after recent alerts. It was certainly the ideal night for it, but the lights were very subdued, though the night sky was still pretty amazing...


It had been very windy all the time with forecast for it to get up to 40kts or Force 8 in the early morning along with rain. The wind built and gusted all night, probably topping that forecast in the valley, the gusts were pretty extreme. By 6am it was getting pretty serious and the addition of pelting rain didn't help. My tent wasn't made to deal with  these extremes, even Martin's quasar was struggling so by 7am we'd begun packing as my tent was getting flattened to be more like a bivi bag (though nothing broke!). It was quite amusing to lie in Martin's tent on the up wind side to stop it blowing away as he took it down around me. I actually wondered if I might blow away in it and I'm no light weight!

The walk back along the track was wet and grim. Struggling to walk into the pelting rain and gale we plodded back to the car. We'd known it was going to be less than ideal, so that wasn't an issue. It was challenging, but fun and I got to test out some different equipment and packing. So a fun, but wet trip, with some cracking night skies that more than made it worth the effort. I also found an otter skull for the bone shelf at home!

Here's a short slide show of some views from the camp (best in HD)...


And a longer one of the walk in...


Not a bad start to the year...

2 comments:

  1. What journey. Lovely skies, Orions belt and a lovely clear Plough.
    Happy New Year to you and your family.
    John

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    1. Cheers, all the best to youse too.

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