March Adventure – Hammock Camping

I was visiting home for the weekend of Mother’s day, and managed to make the weekend longer by heading up on the Thursday night and working from home on the Friday. This meant that instead of spending the Friday evening travelling home, I could go camping with my brother. I suggested hammock camping, since I knew my brother was keen to try it out, but I didn’t realise he hadn’t bought a camping hammock yet. Luckily he was able to order one with next day delivery, and I had a spare tarp he could use.

I picked up my brother in the evening and headed to Tesco in Hexham for supplies. I had expected that we’d be cooking our own dinner on camping stoves, but my brother suggested getting take away instead. So after buying stuff for breakfast and snacks, we found a take away in Hexham and bought a large kebab pizza to share.

By the time we got to Steel Rigg carpark and ate the pizza, the sun had set. So we packed our gear and supplies and hiked down to Peel Crag and followed the Hadrian’s Wall path in the dark. At Sycamore Gap we stopped to take what has almost become an obligatory shot of the tree at night (it’s the third time I’ve taken a night shot here).

I had hoped to see some northern lights while we were out here, since the aurora activity had been pretty high for a few days before (and started up again a few days later), but no luck. Instead we just had a bit of light pollution to illuminate the sky behind us, which I don’t remember seeing last time I was here in December.

After our stop at Sycamore Gap, we continued on to find our hammock camping spot. There aren’t many good spots here where we could hang two hammocks close to each other, so we were setup right on the path. But we didn’t expect to see any night hikers at this time of year, and we’d be packed up and gone before any early morning walkers arrived.

Once we setup the hammocks, I took the opportunity to take some photos of our hammocks and the stars before we went to bed. My brother posted a photo of his hammock to Facebook, and quite a few people thought he was crazy for wanting to sleep outside in the cold, and some had suggested that the temperature would drop below freezing over night. I think 0ºC was as cold as it got in the night, but it really didn’t feel that cold since it was so still and there was no wind at all. It was a good chance to test out my new underblanket for the first time, which was amazing and really kept me warm during the night.

One of the things I love most about camping is getting up with the sun and just enjoying the sunrise, and this time was no exception. I rolled over in my hammock and was woken at around 6am by the sun as rose over the hills. So I jumped out of my hammock to enjoy the view.

Before we went to bed, we had decided to hang the tarps, just incase there was some rain during the night (even though it wasn’t forecast), but they turned out to be unnecessary. There wasn’t even any frost on dew on the ground when we woke up. Everything was completely dry.

Once we were awake and warmed up with a hot brew (ginger tea), we packed our gear and started hiking back along Hadrian’s Wall. After we passed Sycamore Gap, we found a spot on a hill to stop for breakfast. I cooked some Cumberland sausages for our sausage sandwiches, and we enjoyed the view and weather before heading back home.

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