Tag Archives: wild camp

A wild school night 

If you’re anything like me, a serious lack of organisation and procrastination , not to mention the usual excuses (family, friends, work, tv, comfy bed and other such commitments!) can be a big barrier to getting out for a little adventure, especially when it comes to adventuring on a school night.

Despite the very essence of Microadventures being to keep it simple and maximise those hours of freedom between the end of one working day and the start of the next, I’d not managed a midweek wild camp for over three years but with a small window of opportunity presenting itself this week, I was determined to jump through it head first and grab myself a little hump day treat… 

good to go


I’d spotted my intended camp – a former quarry now reclaimed by a beautiful wood – whilst out on the bike recently and having packed and loaded the bike the night before, I was quickly changed out of my suit and on the trails within an hour of getting home from work. 

hitting the trail


Keeping it simple I packed only the essentials – hammock, down jacket, buff, waterproofs (you never know in Britain), water, bike spares and of course some Peroni 😉 

bear essentials…


The wood in question was only about 5 miles away (something my hips were grateful for) and I took my time, just enjoying being outdoors on my bike, no need to rush. 
I had the woods all to myself, save for a few noisy badgers, foxes and owls who made an appearance once darkness enveloped the trees. 

alone in the woods?


I love the transition of life and noise in a woodland environment, the day crew eventually settling in for a good nights kip at sundown, only to be replaced by the denizens of the night, scurrying and scuttling and screaming (blimmin foxes!) around their darkened playground. 


But even the night owls have to get some shut eye and there’s often a moment of quiet tranquility that descends upon any woodland. This moment usually happens at about 3am when you suddenly need to clamber out of your cosy hammock to answer the call of nature but it’s a beautiful moment to witness, if only until it’s shattered as you curse and swear and shuffle yourself back into the hammock. 

do i have to get out?


Awoken by sunrise and the dawn chorus (is there a better alarm clock?), I was packed up and back at my desk bang on 9am, perhaps looking a little dishevelled, a little wild but certainly feeling more alive. 

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Life’s a beach 

Two hours since returning home and I’m still sluicing sand out of places best not described in public – a gritty reminder of last nights beach bivvy. 

this way


After my not particularly successful adventure earlier in the week, it was back to basics last night: bivvy bag, beach, beers and a fire. 

fast food


Dinner was taken care of courtesy of the local chippy, leaving us to carry just the essentials. 

The long walk to the beach was backdropped by a beautiful sunset smouldering away behind us and we arrived just as the light was fading. A few Saturday beach goers were scattered along the shore but they soon disappeared along with the fading sun, leaving us with just the constant crashing of waves for company. 

bliss


Bivvy spot chosen, we set about replacing day light with firelight, making the most of an abundance of driftwood scattered amongst the seaweed. 


There’s something about a beach fire that makes it different from a fire in woodland, the exposed nature of the beach and the swirling wind combining to make a more vibrant and energetic burn. 

Whether set in a forest or on a beach, all fires burn out eventually and we drifted off to the crackling embers, only to be awoken by a somewhat larger fire blazing away on the horizon. Nights are short at this time of year and Microadventures arent particularly conducive to a lazy Sunday lay in. 


As tempting as it would have been to linger, the ever increasing light prompted action before we were joined by the morning dog walkers. 


My new Koro stove got to earn it’s keep, getting a moka pot brew fired up before trudging back homeward. 


  

So now, just over 12 hours later, I’m tired and looking somewhat dishevelled but feeling like I’ve made up for my birthday misadventures, a good end to the week! 

homeward bound

A world first? 

Last night I’m pretty sure I did something no other human on this planet has ever done before. 

In a world where the limit of human performance is constantly redefined, where the likes of Killian Jornet, Ueli Steck and countless others are forever going faster, higher and further, it’s easy to overlook some of the worlds smaller, more humble “firsts”. 

Ueli Steck on the Eiger

Take last nights wild camp in some local woods for example. 

Now, I know that I was certainly not the first person to ever camp in those woods (evidence of that was sadly strewn around parts of the woodland) but I am pretty certain for a start that I was the only person daft enough to wild camp there that particular night! But as I lay in my hammock, strung between two unlikely looking trees, the wind fluttering gently against my tarp, a thought occurred to me. I may not be the first person ever to camp in these particular woods but there is a very good chance that I’m the first person to ever have decided to string up a hammock and spend the night hanging between the two specific trees I happened to choose. 

I was well off the beaten track, one tree (although sturdy) was quite small and not the obvious choice to anchor a hammock and the other looked relatively young compare to the thicker trees elsewhere in the woods. 

So maybe, just maybe, in the middle of a small woodland in Kent on a windy December evening, I managed to (quite by accident) take a couple of lungfulls of that rarefied air usually tasted only by those sportsmen, those athletes we often revere as being superhuman and in the course of that one long and dark night set my own world first – the first person to ever set my hammock up between random tree a and random tree b. 

hanging out between random tree a and random tree b

Of course, world first or not it’s all just a bit of good fun, I’m not seriously comparing myself to Ueli Steck! The above simply goes to highlight the power of microadventures, of getting outdoors and letting your imagination run wild. Give it a try sometime, you might make history! 😉