Charlie's first bivy

I'd been trying to get out again in Sept after our pleasant paddle from Ripon.  Life, however, seemed to be doing it's utmost to throw numerous spanners around.  So it was a Thursday evening late on that Kev and I tried to sort out something to get our eldest kids out for an overnighter and wet the canoes too.  We hoped to put on the Derwent at Malton and paddle down to Cherry Island, but the field was full of beasts and by the time I could get away it would be too dark on the river with the youngsters so we opted to go straight to Rail End and bivy with a paddle in the morning.

We were right about the arriving in the dark, though Charlie and I set up the bivy over the canoe easily enough before Kev and Nat arrived.  There had been a degree of grabbing kit and shoving it in cars for both Kev and I, but we managed okay.  Kev and Nat got themselves sorted and the fire was lit.  I had a brief go with the firedrill, but it wasn't happening with me rushing and Nat repeatedly asking if the fire was ready to toast marshmallows yet.  So I abandoned that and lit the fire with a firesteel instead.  We soon had the kids toasting their marshmallows.  They had a quite a late night, but went to bed without a fuss.  This being Charlie's first bivy I was pleased the weather was so good with a sky full of stars.  I think Charlie was a little nervous about sleeping under the tarp with the ends open to the elements, a few words of encouragement and he settled down nicely.

With the kids off to sleep it was chance for Kev and I to unwind with a pint by the fire!

Beer and fire, hmmmmm!

Kev and I sat around the fire till quite late putting the world to rights and describing the sort of trips we'd like to do.  Something we keep returning to when talking like this is the possibility of the Humber estuary being a cruising area in either canoes or dinghies.  Not a playground for boats by any means; what with large amounts of water flowing at high speeds with big lumps of metal floating around in it too, but who knows, with the correct preperation it could offer something special.  Anyway, a couple of pints a piece and we were ready to turn in.

Shortly after turning in we could hear what sounded like the crashing around of a Yeti in the trees on the far bank.  Kev quickly brought his new shiny torch into play, but despite it's power, nothing could be seen.  I suspect an abominable badger rather than anything more alarming.  I have to say that Kevs new torch is ludicrously powerfull, I half expected the trees on the far bank to be all withered where his death ray had passed over them while searching for the beast.  Still, we drifted off to sleep and were unmolested by badgers or yetis.

I'm not sure what time I woke, but it wasn't too early.  Charlie had slept well, though he did make some spurious claims about me snoring.

The view from under our bivy, it looks like a well mown lawn in this picture, but is only like this from cattle grazing.

View from the bivy

Out with the Trangia for a quick cuppa while Kev relit the fire for breakfast.  I'd planned to make pancakes for all, but kev couldn't resist bacon and sausages etc.  My attempt at pancakes didn't go very well, the thin frying pan I had wasn't at all suited to the task, something with much more metal was needed.  Still, the kids wolfed down loads and certainly couldn't claim to be hungry.  Kev cooked a whole pack of what seemed like twenty sausages, saving some for a lunchtime picnic.

Charlie took command of the camera and set it to take this:

Charlie's group pic.

Kev and Nat opted for a bivy next to their car.  Two '58 patten ponchos providing the shelter.  Another bivying first for Nat!

Nat and Kev's bivy.

The kids chilled in the hammock while the grown-ups sorted the kit out for paddling.

Nat enjoying the hammock.

With our kit sorted we launched and set off for Crambeck.  Not a huge trip, but well within the 'keep it short and leave them asking for more' length of paddle for the kids.  This was Nats first paddle and while a little nervous she quickly settled and did very well.

Kev and Nat in the Disco.

There was a fair bit of boat swapping during the paddle, some limboing under the Alder branches which stretched over the river too to add a little extra excitment on such a slow moving river.  With glorious sunshine we made our way down to Crambeck to find a spot for snorker sarnies and pop!  After a lovely little picnic it was time to head back.  I had to get back so I could pick up Will and Ali to go camping over at Pocklington that night.  You can't imagine how glad I am that all the family are so keen to get out!

Kev takes both kids in the Disco.

The wind had freshened a little during our picnic and was blowing in our faces on the way back, just enough to keep us cool on what was turning into a very hot day.  On our way down we had seen a family picnicing on the bank at Crambeck having given up trying to get to Scarborough for the day, the A64 being that busy.  We were very glad the river had been our choice for the day.

The kids had a great time, Charlie is still asking when we can do it again: result!  :) So, when are we doing it again Kev?

Written by Al Girling

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