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Wild, wonderful places to sleep

Playing at Robert Jordan

In praise of the humble bivvy bag: some of the stupid (yet wonderfully memorable and uplifting) open air places I have slept.

  • On a swimming platform out in the bay in San Sebastian
  • On the terraces of Biarritz rugby stadium (a bit of fence climbing required here!)
  • In a (new) sewage pipe in Turkey and another one in Spain
  • In a drainage pipe under a road in Bolivia (or maybe it was Peru. It was high and cold anyway, and I could see a llama)
  • On the first XI cricket square at Oxford University
  • On a beach in Scarborough. (This was one of last year’s most popular blog entries)
  • On top of Scafell Pike one New Year’s Eve
  • On a 3rd floor windowsill in Edinburgh
  • On the banks of the Zambezi River listening to hippos walk past
  • On an island in the middle of the Yukon River

Does this sound familiar? Share your own daft sleeping spots in the comments. Shameless plugs and links to your own blogs and photos actively encouraged!

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  1. God Bless the Bivvy Bag, and all who sleep in her! I woke up by the Blackwater River in a place called Twig Bog, Cappoquin, near Lismore once with a Bull nudging my feet, I packed up quite quickly that morning. I’ll be photographing the places I spend my nights in a bivvy this March when I walk from Glasgow to Reading (Another Long Way Down) Hopefully I wont be getting any Bulls or Hippos as visitors, but I have been told I can share a barn with about 20 Newfoundlands and St Bernards. It will be warm I guess, hairy but warm, and think of the dribble.

  2. Brilliant!!! Thanks for awakening the following lovely memories:

    – In a park in central Montreux, Switzerland
    – On a park bench in Venice
    – In a bus stop on a snowy night in northern Turkey
    – In a cave in Oman
    – In a lean-to shelter in Ethiopia, with a cow
    – In a tramp’s hide-out in a suburb of Istanbul (invitation only!)
    – Under a table during a thunderstorm on the roof of a tower block in Istanbul (evidently great place for daft sleeping places)
    – In a drainage channel below a road in Jordan
    – On a fishing boat on the Black Sea
    – Behind a hedge next to the highway out of Salalah
    – In a BMX track in Austria
    – In the empty desert in Sudan about 200km from the nearest town – my favourite!

    Bivvy bags are wonderful things. I’ve collected a few photos of where I’ve slept on Flickr.

  3. Great list Al, you too Tom. There is nothing quite like the bivouac for a quick hit of adventure.

    I’ll add:

    – Under a trampoline halfway through a three-day triathlon
    – Bolt upright on a tiny platform dug into a 45-degree snow slope in Kyrgyzstan
    – Various lay-bys across the Lake District and North Wales
    – In the field about 50 yards from my house on Monday night as my Everyday Adventure –

  4. Wow great post!!! Reading this makes me really appreciate and enjoy the comfy warm bed im about to go to sleep in. Id love to hear some of the background stories of those places mentioned. Heres some of my most memorable:
    -on an island in the middle of the river nile
    -underneath a road on more than one occasion
    -in a ditch (at a steep angle) in southern spain
    -an abandoned nightclub in France
    -in a castle overlooking the mediterranean
    -a shelter in the jungle
    -a hammock by the sea
    -various abandoned properties across europe (got caught once too)
    -stealthily under some palm trees in front of beachfront apartments
    -on a rooftop in uganda to the sound of howling packs of wild dogs
    -on a beach on the atlantic coast in november – brrr!!!
    -beside a busy motorway
    -an old soviet airbase with too many mosquitoes in northern russia

  5. N?ce Tom and T?m. Funny to see yours here F?nn, look?ng forward to hear?ng the stor?es when I get home.

    I can ?dent?fy w?th several of the places ment?oned above, football p?tches stad?ums make great places to k?p. So too are p?ers and jett?es.

    Orchards and V?neyards ?n Europe, underpasses and Paddy f?elds ?n Ch?na and Bu?ld?ng S?tes also make for a good n?ght’s k?p.

    The worst places I’ve slept have been on a patch of wa?stground ?n Madr?d, the womens s?de of a mosque ?n eastern Iran(we got woken at sunr?se by a group of hyster?cal women ?n black sheets, then ev?cted by a group frown?ng mustaches), and ?n a junky’s den ?n Turkey(we found syr?nges on the ground the next morn?ng).

    The sewerage p?pe and the cave are st?ll on my to do l?st though.

  6. Callum Stewart Posted

    Bells Beach, Australia
    Half-way up Ayers Rock
    By a river in the sand dunes, near Sosuvlei, Namibia, which only occurs for a couple of days a year
    In a bar by the beach in Dahab, Egypt (for a week)
    On a roof by the Damascus Gate, Jerusalem
    In a hammock in a cargo plane, over Sudan
    The cable car station on the Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix
    Devil’s Island group, French Guyana
    Park Lane Police Station, Manchester
    Basra Palace, Iraq
    Faslane nuclear submarine base
    In a basha, Hilton Services on the M6

  7. I don’t think it beats a nuclear submarine base but I slept multiple times desperately hidden from view of Sepah (Iranian Revolutionary Guards) mountain bases around the nuclear facility near Qom.

  8. In the rain forest on the foothills of Mount Kenya using a hammock and a mozzy net. In a bandstand in Cameroon.
    By a race horse stable in Wiltshire (love that bivvy bag) and spooked the horses.

    Don’t do enough that these days but will definitely be taking my 11 year old son on some micro-adventures this year!

  9. On Osama Bin Laden’s doorstep last October.
    but we got moved and taken into armed police barracks for the night……. and they said they didn’t know 🙂

  10. Have been wanting to get into bivvying for a while and this has helped and I was wondering if there are any types of bivvy bag to look out for (or shops that are good for them)?

  11. Kathleen Posted

    The top of any mountain, in Scotland, with the morning sunrise as your alarm clock.Magic!

  12. – In a canyon next to a stream
    – In the open grasslands on an hilltop in Western Ghats
    – In the balcony of a school in a small village next to a lake
    – In a small clearing between dense rainforest, with two streams next to us
    – On a small rocky outcrop next to the beach
    – In an abandoned temple

    All places in India. 🙂

  13. I slept plenty of times in a nuclear shipyard when I was supposed to be working!!

  14. Alex Knill Posted

    Just got back from bivvying on side of Cnicht in Snowdonia. So lucky with the weather. Woke at 0520 to see Snowdon bathing in early sunlight. Tea brewed up without even getting out of my sleeping bag. Wonderful.
    Followed it 2 hours later with a swim in Llyn Llagi – refreshing!



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