Last week I challenged people to try a winter microadventure sometime over the Christmas and New Year holiday. As an incentive to go and sleep on a hill there are a few small prizes (books, DVDs, howies t-shirt, Lifedge iPhone case) for the best photos that people take. But I hope that the photos below will convince you that the true reward is being out under the stars (by yourself or with a mate) for the night and waking up to a glorious breakfast view.
On Friday night I went to a friend’s house for dinner (great chicken pie, James). Afterwards, when everyone else went to bed, I went to sleep on a hill. Weird behaviour, perhaps. But what a place to sleep! The sky was big and clear and the moon lit up the field I lay in. Winter meteors showered spectacularly across the December sky.
My bedtime beer – a ‘Freedom Ale’ – seemed aptly named. I felt the sort of contentment so familiar to those on big, wild expeditions but that is somewhat harder to find within the constraints of normal life (tedious reminder: don’t forget to fill in your tax returns, folks). I wrapped up warm and slept well.
I woke to the beginnings of a beautiful sunrise. Pheasants called and flapped and burst from the tree line as I stirred in my sleeping bag. Urgent snipe shot across the sky, long-beaked and silhouetted in front of the orange fire of dawn.
I rolled over and lit my camping stove. The strong, hot espresso felt so good as it warmed and stirred my blood. I stuffed my gear into my rucksack, waved goodbye to the adventures of 2013, and headed for home and Christmas and a well-anticipated proper breakfast.
So, please, do consider a night under the stars this Christmas time. It’s entirely compatible with nights out at the pub or friends’ houses. It’s compatible with getting home for a full day of putting up the Christmas decorations. It’s so easy to do, but so memorable, refreshing and fun!
Work out where you need to be to see the sunrise (use this great link). Tell somebody where you are going and when you’ll be back. And then go!
Here’s the stuff I took, complete with links to help you if you need more information:
- Sleeping bag. Don’t buy anything special. Just go with what you have and as many jumpers as necessary.
- Sleeping mat. If you suspect you will not do a lot of camping just buy one of these cheap ones.
- Bivvy bag.There are cheap, medium and expensive options. This explains everything you need to know. If you’re worried about rain take a basha too.
- Wooly hat.
- Waterproof clothes.
- Warm clothes.
- Toothbrush (put the toothpaste on at home and wrap the brush in clingfilm) and toilet paper.
- Food and water.
If you do head off on a microadventure, please share your experience. The best way for me to persuade ‘normal’ people to do stuff like this is for other ‘normal’ people to prove that it is possible (even easy), and that it is fun (or at least fun in retrospect!).
Tag your stuff on Twitter with the hashtag #microadventure or pop something on the Microadventures Facebook Page.
If you have any friends who could benefit from a microadventure, please send them this link.