Well, the big camping trip finally took place last weekend. Two nights in a muddy field near Inverness for Loch Ness 24, an epic running event which - as the name suggests - is held over a 24-hour period.

In the weeks leading up to it, I had been daydreaming about a baking heatwave and glorious sunshine. As it transpired, the weather gods had other ideas. Torrential rain. Pretty much non-stop. With only a few brief moments of respite. Just long enough for the midges to come out and feast.

To say it was a steep learning curve is an understatement. First came the packing. Or rather the overpacking. It looked like I had ram-raided Decathlon. I was car-sharing with my friend Ryan. Or, as he wryly pointed out, it was less of a car-share scenario and more of a land grab-meets-hostile takeover.

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All his kit was squeezed into a tiny sliver of space in the boot and back seats, while my endless bags of camping and running paraphernalia were piled up to the rafters. He was also appalled to discover I had used a label maker to print off neat tags for my dry bags.

Then we were off, heading for a glam rendezvous in a Tesco car park with our 20-plus team-mates. A little north of Perth the rain came on. And we didn’t see the sun again for two days.

Upon arrival in a field beside Dores Beach on the shores of Loch Ness, the first task was pitching the tents. That was a doddle on account of the fact I had a two-second, pop-up variety. Ping. Done. A few minutes hammering in the pegs. Voila.

Unfortunately, our raggle-taggle group - for reasons still unclear - decided to arrange our tents in a hodgepodge cluster that ended up with various guy ropes crossed over in perilous manner.

This, combined with the mud and rain-slicked terrain, made the 4am walk to the Portaloos like navigating a Ninja Warrior-style obstacle course. We live and learn.

I’ll come back to the race itself in a future dispatch but suffice to say I enjoyed the camping part far more than I expected. The only bit I was dreading was trying to pack away the tent at the end when my post-running body felt like it had been trampled by Nessie.

After a few of us spent an age grappling with the wily pop-up mechanisms on our respective tents and wondering if we should just move into the field permanently, my team-mate Lee - a seasoned camper - stepped in to help.

He made swift work of our nemeses. Soon, four tents lay neatly folded on the wet grass like a quartet of freshly-slain dragons. It was a task completed with such speed and ease that I was kicking myself for not having alerted Guinness World Records to witness this feat.

While I ended up with miraculously few midge bites, I was nipped several times in a delicate area by ants (in hindsight keeping food in my tent was not the smartest idea). But overall, my debut foray into camping had gone swimmingly (an apt metaphor given the weather).

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I held onto this warm glow right up until I got home and began my laundry. It was only then I realised that I had thrown a top, shorts, two sports bras, a couple of treasured bandanas and my favourite running cap into the rubbish instead of the laundry bag (both black refuse sacks). Yep, I am an idiot.

Before the trip, I’d had a conversation with my friend Teddy Jamieson, who regular readers will know I share this Thursday column slot with. He reckoned the weekend would be the making of me, like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis.

Maybe the soggy pile of clothes left languishing in a bin bag destined for landfill was my chrysalis. What? If you can’t see poetic beauty in your daft mistakes, there is no point really. Onwards.