A bivvy every month

A bivvy every month

By Kenny Stocker

Bivvy beneath the stars, where each night brings a new chapter in the story of outdoor exploration.

Natalie wrote in to tell us about her challenge to make a bivvy each month through 2023.

Thought you might be interested in this - every month through 2023 I slept outdoors in my Alpkit bivvy bag:

My 2023 challenge was to sleep in a bivvy outdoors every month of the year in 2023.

I always like to have something that pushes me outside my comfort zone. I’m not sure where the idea of the monthly bivy came from, but sleeping out every month of the year felt like it would push my comfort zone, as well as give me some unique experiences through the different seasons.

I purchased an Alpkit kit bivvy. I had never slept in a bivvy before, so I wasn’t sure how warm or cold I would be or how comfortable I would be.

I decided for the first month of January that I would be close to home in case it was too cold and I could come home in the night. I live underneath Carrock Fell in Cumbria, so Carrock was the obvious place to choose.

I chose a sheepfold called Scot’s Hut on the south side of the summit. Unbeknown to me, this particular sheepfold was an old wizard's hut with tales of ghostly apparitions. However, I had a peaceful night under the stars with no supernatural visitations. The mist rolled in by the morning and my friend Liz Berry ran up to find me in the morning. My first bivvy experience was a success.

My second bivy was on the eastern side of Bowscale Fell in an old sheep fold. This was probably my worst weather experience. By the time I got up to the sheepfold it was drizzling with rain, windy and there was no visibility. I slept between long, spindly grass and woke up to no view and a very damp dawn.

So for my next bivvy I was determined I would have a spectacular sunrise, and this was my most cherished and loved of the whole year. I slept at the top of Sharps Edge (Blencathra Mountain), the only flat spot I could find, which was in the groove of the horizontal path leading off the edge. I felt secure that I would not roll out in the night. It was a freezing cold night with frost and snow on the ground. When I woke in the morning, the bivy was covered in frost, as was my face and eyebrows.

April bivy was similarly cold on Bowscale summit, with frost and a biting wind. I met Rose Singleton for a cold swim in the tarn before we started our day at work together as GP’s. Rose and I regularly enjoy little micro-adventures before a long day at work together. They sustain us. So combining one of my bivvy’s with our pre-work micro-adventures was perfect.

Bivvy along the shores of Loch Morlich

May, June and July bivy’s were all further a field. I was lucky to bivy on the shores of Glenmore , Loch Torridon on mainland Scotland and Loch Storr on Skye. All these bivvy’s were combined with running adventures/challenges or holidays. I was learning the added bonus of bivy sleeps being cheap overnight accommodation options.

I was now becoming an experienced ‘bivier’ I had honed my equipment down to the bare essentials and knew what I needed to have a good nights sleep. I was becoming very tuned to the comfort of the bivy and its unique sleeping experience.

The majority of my bivy’s I did alone, but my friend Angela Wilson joined me on the Torridon and Genmore bivy’s, and we managed to get my youngest son Jonty and her son Zack to join us on Carrock Fell. The boys loved the experience, and they admitted they had had a good night's sleep out in the open.

August bivvy I slept on a platform just below Fleetwood Pike. I cherished a glowing sunset and sunrise, then had a run-dip adventure the next day linking 4 of my favourite dipping spots in the Ennerdale and Wasdale valleys.

In September, I slept at Three Shires Pass, not far from my car, with a view down to Coniston and the Langdale’s, combing this with a very early morning running recce of the Cumbria traverse route.

October bivvy Angela Wilson joins me again, and we slept on the summit of High Pike. This is the summit that is just very close to our house and the summit that I once managed to visit, running 400 times in one calendar year! I felt it only fitting that I would sleep out on High Pike as it is so close to my heart and an integral part of my well-being.

November I slept on Brea Fell. On my own again, with a windy, cold night with frost and a gorgeous sunrise.

My final bivy was back where it all started 12 months earlier on Carrock Fell. I slept on the east side in a sheepfold at the top of the Alpine route. It rained several times in the night; rather fitting that I got to experience all the elements.

After I finished the challenge, I took some time to reflect what this challenge had given me. It had taken me out of my comfort zone. It introduced me to a new outdoor experience that I had fallen in love with. It increased my confidence and resilience in being on my own at night.

It also gave me some precious alone time in a life where I’m constantly busy and on the go. Time to just stare at the stars and feel the ice and wind on my face.

It was also special to gift the experience to my son Jonty and my friend Angela.

Finally, it reminded me of how precious and beautiful our seasons are in the UK.

  • January - Scot’s Hut Hut Carrock Fell
  • February - Shepards Sheepfold The Tongue, Mungrizdale
  • March - Sharp Edge Blencathra
  • April - Bowscale Summit
  • May - Loch Torridon, Scotland
  • June - Loch Storr, Skye.
  • July - Fleetwood Pike, Buttermere
  • August - Secret sheepfold, Carrock Fell
  • September - Three Shires Pass, Coniston
  • October - High Pike summit
  • November- Brae Fell summit
  • December - Carrock Fell Alpine Sheepfold

Natalie

Bivvy Bags

Waterproof and breathable bivvy bag weighing less than 400g
£46.99 £54.99
Lightweight, waterproof hooped bivvy bag weighing less than 1kg
£84.99 £99.99
Ultralight, waterproof bivvy bag with a zipped opening weighing just 285g
£129.99 £149.99
Extra large, breathable and waterproof bivvy bag weighing under 500g
£58.99 £69.99
Solo camping bivvy bag, headtorch and rucksack bundle
£79.99 £112.97

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