Monday 12th November 2018
…the optimist expects it to change; the realist closes the roof and sleeps downstairs.
William Arthur Ward – (as amended by Mr P)
I already mentioned how we found a lovely free place to park Gandalf on a ridge near Arboli, Catalunya, Spain.
It had been a very peaceful spot on our first evening. Stunning views, close to the climbing, flat (very important). We both had a great nights sleep and woke to a beautiful sunrise. All in all, a great place for a wild camp.
No surprises then that, we had decided to spend another night in the same spot.
This may not have been our best move. The evening started well;
• Beautiful sunset – check
• Dinner cooked and eaten – looking good so far
Time to settle down for the night.
Climb into pop top roof and think;
Sleep, my sweet reward.
Nope. More like…
O sleep, O gentle sleep, Nature’s soft nurse, how have I frighted thee, That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down and steep my sense in forgetfulness?
Ah, would that mine own words should compare to that of the great Bard. No. More like;
How in heaven’s name am I going to sleep through this racket?”
What sounds like a howling gale has started up. Winds are gusting at a mere 43 kph. ‘Not too bad.‘ I hear you say. ‘A mere 26.179 mph‘. But, we all know what happens when wind hits a ridge or mountain and what happens to the wind speed at the top of said ridge or mountain… What do you mean “No”? Must I explain everything? Hey ho. It’s Mr P explains time again:
When wind hits a slope the speed increases the higher up the slope you go. Meaning that the wind reaches its highest velocity at the summit of the ridge/mountain/hill or, where Gandalf is parked.
The following diagram may help…
Not entirely sure how accurate the figures are but, you get the idea.
Additionally there is the eyes shut effect that automatically magnifies all sound to cataclysmic proportion.
The gusting bit is the thing that is keeping me awake. The pop top or, bloomin’ great sail, is causing the van to be buffeted around in a far from relaxing way. Yes, I tried counting sheep, but they kept blowing away.
There is a difference dear reader, between a tent in a gale and a campervan pop top roof in mere high winds. Strange as it may seem, I would prefer the tent in a gale. At least in a tent you sleep on the immovable ground.
By 11pm I had had enough, and so it would appear had Mrs P. On attempting to gently wake her to break the news that I was going to close the roof and we would have to move downstairs (“downstairs!?) I discovered that she was already awake, had been awake for some time and was thoroughly fed up of being constantly battered in the back by the side of the pop top.
So, down we go. Pop top closed. Noise reduced, buffeting diminished. But, I still can’t sleep (unlike Mrs P who is instantly out like a light). Finally at about 03.30 the winds die down and I finally, get some shut eye.
We wake in the morning to beautiful sunshine and new neighbours. A white campervan with British number plates arrived shortly after dark the previous night. The occupants are a lovely couple (Phil & Allie) of a similar age to Mrs P and I (well, at least Phil was a similar age to me) out here, in Catalunya, climbing for a few months.
We chat, and following a guided tour of their cleverly converted, if somewhat larger van, we [read: ‘Mr P’] suffer from the following:
1. Storage space envy
2. Oven envy
3. Fridge envy
4. Extractor fan envy
5. Shower envy
6. Even inflatable kayak envy.
Later that day our new acquaintances bump into us at the crag where Mrs P is honing her lead climbing skills and Phil (under the expert direction of his able assistant Allie) kindly takes some rare and rather splendid photos of Mrs P and myself in climbing mode.
Tune in again tomorrow when it’s back to the pretty pictures as Mrs P and I take a walk around the historic and even legendary, hill top town of Siurana.