walkhighlands

The beginning of an era – the Bivvi era

Route: Carn Gorm, Meall Garbh, Carn Mairg and Creag Mhor

Munros: Carn Gorm, Carn Mairg, Creag Mhor (Meall na Aighean), Meall Garbh (Carn Mairg)

Date walked: 18/05/2018

Time taken: 15 hours

Distance: 17.5km

Ascent: 1396m

The beginning of an era – the Bivvi era

From being woefully under-equipped on my first Munro, an overnighter up Lochnagar, little did I know how much money I would spend on kit, nor did I appreciate how the right kit really does change any adventure.

I remember after writing my first Walk Report of that night on Lochnagar, someone recommended getting a bivvi.

“What the fu… is a bivvi?”, I remember thinking to myself. Even after a quick Google I didn’t feel much more enlightened.

This was to be my 38th outing, 105th - 108th Munro, 24th night out in the hills and most importantly the debut of the bivvi bag.

:D
Image

I opted to try out the bivvi on the Carn Mairg circuit from Invervar for a few reasons.
• I had a half-day at work on the Friday so Invervar was relatively accessible from Aberdeen.
• I reckoned I would be able to complete most of the walk on the Friday night.
• If it went tits up, it would be an easy walk down to the car.
• I had to get to Glasgow early on the Saturday to witness the double treble… :wink:

Start of the route through the forestry works
Image

The estimated Walkhighlands time is 7-8 hours but after meeting an older fellow at the car he assured be I would be done in no more than 4.5 hours…

By now it was already getting late so I met a few people doing the circuit anticlockwise who seemed bemused that I was heading into the hills so late with such a small backpack.

The first bivvi benefit, all the gear for an easy overnighter in summer crammed into a 33L backpack – it was already significantly lighter than a winter daypack.

The footbridge crossing the Invervar Burn
Image

Image

I think it is safe to say that the footbridge has seen better days; I doubt it will have much life left. Thankfully the burn could be easily crossed slightly further up.

Heading up Carn Gorm I was struggling. Struggling badly. Maybe from a 6.30am start at work, a rushed drive down to Invervar but I felt unconvinced that I would make it round as far as I hoped by dark.

The view up Carn Gorm
Image

Near the summit of Carn Gorm. Ben Lawers Range
Image

I was grateful to have some clear visibility on this route because the highlight was looking towards the impressive Ben Lawers range.

After a quick pit-stop at the summit of Carn Gorm, I was convinced the rest of the walk would be easier in comparison and set off towards Meall Garbh.

Loch Rannoch from the shoulder of Meall Garbh
Image

Meall Garbh’s distinctive summit cairn
Image

Schiehallion covered in shadow clearly visible on the left hand side with Carn Mairg, the next Munro, looking a fair distance away and Creag Mhor looking even further away, on the right hand side of the photo.

Looking back to Carn Gorm (& the Lawers Range)
Image

Evening light
Image

Schiehallion looking grey!
Image

Reaching the summit of Carn Mairg was welcomed, I knew I only had about 90 minutes of daylight left and by now I was confident that getting to Creag Mhor would be achievable. I stopped and had a late dinner snack followed by accidentally finishing all my water…

Dinner views towards Creag Mhor
Image

How can you accidentally finish all the water? Quite easily actually, well I would like to think so. I only took two 750ml bottles and I was convinced I had only been drinking from the left hand pocket, that turned out not to be the case.

Now I was left with a bit of a dilemma. Obviously I could easily get through the night without water but I was also aware that I had been a dope and had already finished all the water in the car… (a mistake I won’t make again).

I opted to plod on and hoped to get some “fresh” bog water between Carn Mairg and Meall Liath.

Looking back towards Carn Mairg
Image

I was lucky and found some running (just) water, decided it looked clean enough and took the gamble. So far I have been fortunate with the hill water and not had any adverse reactions, long may that continue!

By now the clouds were creeping in and the sun was beginning to set, creating some tremendous views. I was reluctant to leave Creag Mhor to the morning so I ran, quite literally, up to the top to get down the western shoulder to savour the evening views.

The finest of evening views down Glen Lyon
Image

Image

I managed to find a space big enough for my bivvi and opted for this spot for my overnight adventure. After over 20 nights in various tents I had become comfortable with the idea of sleeping in, what someone online had described as, “just a rubbish version of being indoors”.

Easier to set up…
Image

I am not entirely sure what I had expected but I have the disadvantage of wearing contact lenses so when I’d wake up and have a look around all I’d get is a blurry mess of hills and stuff…?

I guess both the tent and the bivvi have their own obvious benefits. Clearly the bivvi is lighter and can be used in more restrictive places. The tent would definitely be better to sprawl out in and feels more luxurious.

The unobvious benefit of a tent over a bivvi is that presents itself as a much better subject to photograph.

The unobvious benefit of a bivvi over a tent is that it is like surviving a night out in the hills in a waterproof big bag – how frickin’ cool is that?! Although more contained with higher potential for being claustrophobic, the idea of being (almost) completely exposed to the elements is amazing.

Waking up to these views (once I put glasses on!)
Image

Image

I set off early doors knowing I had to get to Stirling, then to Glasgow via the pub to get to the football for a 3pm kick off. The walk down from Creag Mhor was easy going and took hardly any time at all – I was still buzzing from a first successful night out in the bivvi.

Heading down
Image

Little rabbit at the car
Image

The struggle of getting up Carn Gorm seemed like a million miles away now I was back to the car.

Although some teething problems with condensation I was confident that there would be a number of nights in the bivvi to follow. Luckily enough I still had 174 Munros to practice in!

Thanks for reading!

our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Click to mark this as a great report. Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Comments: 5



Loch Laggan 3 - Exceeding all Expectations

Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn a'Chlachair, Creag Pitridh, Geal Charn
Date walked: 21/04/2018
Distance: 26km
Ascent: 1275m
Views: 420


Camping High & Icy Winter Milestones - Andrew Squared

Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn Mheadhoin, Bynack More, Cairn Gorm
Date walked: 24/03/2018
Distance: 30km
Ascent: 1968m
Views: 382


North Loch Cluanie 3 - The Apple that Failed to Self-Arrest

Attachment(s) Munros: Carn Ghluasaid, Sail Chaorainn, Sgurr nan Conbhairean
Date walked: 18/03/2018
Distance: 17.5km
Ascent: 1430m
Views: 446


The Beautiful Beinn a'Bheithir Ridge in Winter

Attachment(s) Munros: Sgorr Dhearg (Beinn a'Bheithir), Sgorr Dhonuill (Beinn a'Bheithir)
Date walked: 25/02/2018
Distance: 15.5km
Ascent: 1470m
Comments: 5
Views: 700


Meall Ghaordaidh and the Snowy Famous Grouse

Attachment(s) Munros: Meall Ghaordaidh
Date walked: 24/02/2018
Distance: 9.5km
Ascent: 897m
Views: 294


Andrew Cubed - Full Winter Ullapool High Camp

Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn Dearg (Ullapool), Cona' Mheall, Eididh nan Clach Geala, Meall nan Ceapraichean
Date walked: 03/02/2018
Distance: 27km
Ascent: 1789m
Comments: 10
Views: 1578


Monday in Monadhliath

Attachment(s) Munros: Geal Charn (Monadhliath)
Date walked: 29/01/2018
Distance: 13.3km
Ascent: 675m
Views: 279


Letting winter win on the Creag Meagaidh Circuit!

Attachment(s) Munros: Carn Liath (Creag Meagaidh), Stob Poite Coire Ardair
Date walked: 07/01/2018
Distance: 18km
Ascent: 1122m
Comments: 1
Views: 439


New Year, New Me? Snow Way! 1st January Carn a' Chlamain

Munros: Carn a'Chlamain
Date walked: 01/01/2018
Distance: 26km
Comments: 1
Views: 631

andygunn23


User avatar
Location: Aberdeen
Activity: Hill Bagger
Mountain: The next one
Gear: My two legs

Munros: 133
Corbetts: 2



Filter reports


Statistics

2018

Trips: 10
Distance: 200.3 km
Ascent: 12022m
Munros: 24

2017

Trips: 11
Distance: 286.7 km
Ascent: 13908m
Munros: 33
Corbetts: 1

2016

Trips: 8
Distance: 155.32 km
Ascent: 6040m
Munros: 20

2015

Trips: 9
Distance: 254.25 km
Ascent: 6236m
Munros: 31
Corbetts: 1


Joined: Jul 30, 2015
Last visited: Aug 20, 2018
Total posts: 63 | Search posts