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Lake District Bivvi Bag Tobogganing

Toboganning in a survival bag
Written by Kirstie Pelling

Lake District Tobogganing in Bivvi Bag Style

Kirstie Profile SmallUnable to get away during Easter, and tired of the kids niggling each other at home, we take off into the hills around Haweswater in the Eastern Lake District. We plan nothing more than a short hike to a tarn. But then we stumble across some snow, build ourselves a home made toboggan run, and find a new use for a plastic orange one person survival bag. Want to know how many people can you fit in a survival bag on an improvised tobogganing run ?  Well…

Haweswater Lake District

Haweswater – one of the Lake District’s quieter spots. Until we arrive.

Climb on top of me?

“Climb on top of me,” says Stuart. Not in front of the kids surely? As I squeeze awkwardly into the bag, I see his point; there is no room for any other position.

Toboganning in a survival bag

Can you fit two adults in a survival bag made for one? Let’s find out…

Survival bags were clearly only designed with one person in mind. Anyway, whether or not this is a come on, there will be no romance on this trip; Stuart is dressed in a bright orange fleece and matching body bag and I’ve never much fancied tangerines.

After a few moments of intimate grappling, Cameron pushes us off. And we are flying.

We come to a stop at the end of the slope. I try to extract myself from this giant cuddle and find I can’t. The bag is too small for any movement. The kids seem to think it’s all very romantic. I’m worried Stuart thinks Spring is finally here.

I feel the need to try again, to see if a one woman toboggan is more of an unrestricted freefall. As an experienced tuber I’m sure I can show the kids a thing or two.

“Mum’s created a ledge of her own,” says Cameron, pointing to a second run I carve out by my backside going off piste.

Skiing? Well it’s a bit like skiing

We had talked about heading up to Fort William this holiday for some snow shoe-ing. Or to Glencoe for some downhill. We had even pondered taking the children skiing on the Cumbrian slopes of Raise. But I’ve always been slightly put off by an hour long walk lugging your own skis and as I’m the resident family donkey, I’d be carrying the kids skis’ too.

Toboganning in a survival bag above Haweswater Lake District

The toboggan run is as carefully prepared as the improvised toboggan

But today we seem to have stumbled across something just as entertaining without either the hike or the hike in expense.

Just above Haweswater, a short stroll takes us up towards a tarn, where the snow has stayed powdery and white. Conditions are perfect; the sun is out and there’s few clouds in the sky.

Toboganning in a survival bag

How many people can you get in a tobogganing survival bag?

Three in a bag

“Has Mum ripped the body bag?” Cameron wants to know. I’m sure he thinks I’m fatter than I am. These bags were surely designed for man sized explorers and climbers.

The kids drag the orange plastic back up the slope, and the three of them get in. If it’s unusual to see Stuart and I cuddle in public, it’s unheard of for our kids to do it. They normally show their affection with a pinch and a punch. If they’re feeling more generous, they hand out slaps.

But here they are, cuddling and laughing together as though they liked each other. They head downhill in a flurry of snow.

“Can we go up there now?” asks Hannah, pointing upwards, to a more grown up mountain with a potentially much longer toboggan run. But while the sun has been shining down on us from a cloudless sky, it is now moving away. There are no Dorito’s left. Our feet are soaked and we are starting to shiver.

“That’s for another day,” I tell her, whispering a silent thanks that there will be another day; many more days, as we are lucky enough to live in this corner of England where we can just reach out and grab the outdoors in all its frozen wonder.

The most fun you can have for nothing?

Skiing would have cost a fortune. Our home made tobogganing has cost nothing.

“Actually, that bag cost me £3 about ten years ago,” says Stuart.

About as much as his orange fleece did. This man might like a mountainside thrill but he is so not Daniel Craig.

Hannah is determined to have one last run and she coerces her brother into the bag. Their laughter rings out across the mountain. I wonder if people are having this much fun in the Alps?

About the author

Kirstie Pelling

Kirstie is the Editor of The Family Adventure Project. A professional writer and poet, she's the creative and journalistic force behind many of the stories and features published here. She's a co-founder and co-director of The Family Adventure Project and also works as the #poetinmotion producing and performing poetry for print, video and live performance.

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We're Kirstie & Stuart. We share an adventurous spirit, a passion for indie travel and 3 kids. The Family Adventure Project is our long term experiment in doing active, adventurous things together. Find out more...

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