It's been a long time since that March evening when Alison was taken to hospital and our little world turned upside down. She's making much better progress now, so when Kev phoned last Friday as he made his way back from a particularly fruitless meeting in Aberdeen to say he needed to spend a night under the stars, I was very pleased when Ali said she could cope with looking after the boys by herself for a night.
So, for the first time we launched the boats from the back of Kev's work. We need to sort out a better way down, but it was otherwise very good with secure parking away from the prying eye's of the local Ned's. We set off about 1900hrs and took a gentle pace downstream. Having a good yarn and enjoying the scenery. Much to our surprise, about fifty yards ahead of us I could see something break the surface of the river, could it be I thought? As it moved about more and played on the surface it became clear that yes, it was an Otter. The first I've ever seen in the wild. Chuffed to bits doesn't cover it. If it poured with rain from this moment onwards I'd have still had a great time.
Kev looking comfy in his yak.
We figured that we ought to start gathering some firewood, or it might be a somewhat bleak evening under the tarp. With plenty of fuel available I started to fill Jus Chillin with some good dry wood, standard fair on these little trips really, especially after the river has been in flood.
We explore the back of a couple of islands near to where we'll camp to get the last few bits of fuel required and found a nice little sun trap.
Only a few hundred yard to our camping spot, a little trouble for Kev to exit his yak, but nothing insurmountable.
The canoe out and on it's side with the tarp over the top to provide our simple shelter, this was home for the night. This image showing Kev still snoring in the morning.
With Kev's kit on the left and mine on the right, you can see who's more geared to stealthy nights out and who's a member of the mountain rescue team.
A leisurely pack away in the morning and back to our better halves.
Our batteries recharged and in better frames of mind. Though I am looking forward to being able to do this with Ali again. Soon I hope!