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My Vango big 6 – Adventure 2: Going solo
Adventures with Vango Ambassador @gurl_on_the_hill
‘Don’t be afraid to walk alone and don’t be afraid to like it.’
My Vango Big 6 - Adventure 2: Going Solo
My first solo summit was Ben Ledi in 2018. Looking back on my Instagram post, a few key words stuck out for me in my caption. Describing my first solo experience, I talked about what I learned and said: “Have the confidence to do what you love even if it’s on your own. Life is for living. Make yourself proud, just for you.”
Pushing myself out my comfort zone that little bit went a long way. The following year I booked a solo trip to Greece and spent a week on a yacht on the Ionian sea learning how to sail. It was always a dream of mine but something held me back; perhaps feeling like I couldn’t do it on my own? “I’m starting to feel nervous now” is what I said to my Dad as he drove me to the airport. He replied “that’s all part of the experience. It’ll make you appreciate it more. Go get ‘em kiddo.” At 41 I find it hilarious that my parents still call me kiddo. So off I went. And Dad was right, I came home feeling on top of the world like I could do anything.
Our experiences are what shape us as people and in my experience something that I feel anxious about or unsure of is usually the one that helps me grow.
Solo camping in the hills is something that’s been on my list for a while. It’s so practical if you’re doing a multi-day in a remote location. When I was chatting to Vango about my big 6 supported adventures I made sure a solo camp was on the list. I had committed to it so it was just a matter of setting a date and a location.
I settled on my local hills, the Pentlands. They have been my outdoors quick-fix for years, only 20 minutes away from my house and I know them well. I did a flat lay to check I had all my kit and checked again. A few hours before sunset I set off on my solo overnight adventure.
I took my Vango xenon UL 2 tent and had to sit on it to pitch it to stop it from flying away in the wind. The UL stands for ultra-light and it really is! I took the poles and pegs out when I was packing and it squashed down to nothing in my pack. The poles and pegs easily slid down the side of my pack when everything else was in.
The tent is a 2 pole tunnel design which means there’s loads of room inside but it’s super stable. Once the pegs were secured I was glad to jump in, to shelter from the wind. I was really impressed by the space and the height. It’s a 2 person tent so plenty of room for me and my things. The porch at the front was handy to store my boots, Vango camping stove and poles. I popped up the camping light, unrolled my sleeping mat, bag and pillow and I was all set for the night.
When wild camping it’s best to arrive late and leave early. It was getting dark as I finished preparing my camp and the lights of the towns below were starting to twinkle. I felt a million miles away from anything but content. I sat for a while taking it all in before zipping the tent up and settling in for the night. The wind blew strong throughout the night but the tent held well.
I got up at 4.30am to catch the sunrise but it was overcast so I pulled the sleeping bag over my head for another hour. After breakfast I packed up the tent which came down as quickly and easily as it went up. I continued on my way, taking in more of the Pentland hills with a spring in my step before heading back to the car.
I did it and I enjoyed it. Time away on my own in the outdoors high up on the hills was food for the soul.
Have the confidence to do what you love even if it’s on your own. Life is for living. Make yourself proud, just for you.