The company that Mr Hammocker and I work for gives us the opportunity to sign up for an expedition adventure once a year. This time I opted for the same canoe trip that was chronicled on here this time last year: a journey around Scotland beginning at Loch Shiel.
All great adventures begin with an early start and a long journey. This particular trip offered up a 7:30am start and a 7 hour drive up to Fort William. We took it pretty easy, with many food and rest stops. It was a beautiful day, so it was a shame to have to spend it in a car. I was worried we were missing the best weather we were going to get. I needn’t have worried.
We knew we’d made it to Scotland when one of our party introduced us to Iron Bru ice-cream. After a few last-minute items were picked up, we made our way to our campsite in Fort William.
Three of us set up our hammocks in the woods at the back of the campsite. All of us were in Rogue Hammocks which meant we got to put a lot of kit through its paces. We were glad to have finished our midge net design, because we sure needed them!
We soaked up the rest of the evening sun and prepared our evening meals. Myself and Skelly were determined to not the be the victims of food envy, so started off with a good old adventure steak. We treated ourselves to a loaf of tiger bread and some avocado because we would be eating them on the first night, so we didn’t have to carry them far. I packed us a few small Tupperware pots of sauces and things that make camping meals feel a little more luxurious. That and our new cast iron pan gave us the most tasty steak I can remember eating.
My already happy tummy was then treated to some sticky toffee pudding. We had been given the task in our boat pairs of coming up with a dessert to feed half of the group. As it turned out we all over-catered and one dessert tended to be more than enough for everyone.
Once the sun finally set, it was time to escape the midges and head for our hammocks. We were trialling our new removal midge nets and I found getting in without letting any midges in to be a little bit of a challenge. Once in though, I had a marvellous sleep until about 6:30 in the morning, when I woke up to midges having breakfast on my face. I realised when I was packing down that I had foolishly underestimated the determination of the Scottish midge. It turned out that one of the ends could have been cinched a little bit more as it left a tiny gap big enough to let a few families worth through. I can assure you I didn’t make that mistake again!
Pack down in the morning was super slick thanks to our new snakeskins. We made them big enough to hold our tarps, midge nets, hammocks and underquilts. This makes them pretty heavy but it still speeds set up and take down hugely. This left us with enough time for a leisurely breakfast, ready for a day of paddling!
Tune in soon for part two!