My eye glances shamefully at my watch again, 4:50pm - 5 minutes later from when I checked it 5 minutes ago. My Outlook inbox beeps for attention but to no avail. I’m too busy mentally check listing my backpack itinerary once again:
• Sleeping Bag (check)
• Bivi Bag (check)
• Sleeping Mat (check)
• Meat & Potato Pie (double check)
I wouldn’t usually be watching the clock (honest boss) but tonight is different and before you start silently judging, first let me explain my impatience.
5 to 9 Not 9 to 5
How many of us are guilty of squandering those precious hours between 5pm and 9pm? Squeezing in endless BBC cop dramas (Line of Duty anyone?) supposedly “relaxing” on our predictably comfortable couches but subconsciously counting down the hours and days before the weekend starts again.
At the risk of sounding too sanctimonious we all dream of a respite from our daily routines and it’s the eternal promise of freedom that the outdoors offers which compels us to plan bigger and grander adventures.
For most of us though the adventures we see depicted on our T.V screens are so far removed from reality to almost seem impossible. That's before I heard of Alistair Humphreys and the micro adventure.
“A micro adventure is an adventure that is short, simple, local, cheap – yet still fun, exciting, challenging, refreshing and rewarding.” - Alistair Humphreys
And it's for this reason, that on a Wednesday afternoon in early May I am counting down the clock impatiently waiting for 5pm before I can start my first micro adventure.
One of the great things about a micro adventure is the little to no planning the whole thing requires! Even an amateur camper such as me had all the kit necessary to camp safely in the woods (minus bivi bags which we bought for £15 each).
A sleeping mat, sleeping bag, and food for the night is all you need. Fortunately for us, Osprey had kindly entrusted us with 2 of their new travelling packs, The Osprey Ariel AG 65 and the Aether AG 85.
Even if I wasn't "contractually" obliged to say so, I was thoroughly impressed with these packs. They were comfortable all the way to the campsite, even with a bloated load and the Anti-Gravity back panels are nothing short of ingenious. My whole travelling experience would have been improved with the pack and that’s no exaggeration.
My First Bivi
It wasn't long ago that I didn't even know what bivouacking was, let alone how to spell it, but in the spirit of a true micro adventure (and with Mel's blessing) we decided to forego the luxuries of a 2 person tent and opt instead for the far less glamorous bivi bag and a tarp combo.
We found a nice little spot by a stream to set up shelter, which we slept under purely for some misplaced sense of safety and dinner was a lovely farm shop pie and baked beans cooked on our Vango stove.
Except for the odd bemused dog walker we had the entire woodland to ourselves and despite our trepidations, we were not harassed or stalked by a single axe murderer all night long. A roaring success!
Nature's Alarm Clock
Waking up with the sunrise to the sounds of birds chirping and lambs gently bleating almost made up for the 3 hours of snoring I had endured courtesy of my camping partner. But despite the disturbed night’s sleep and the prospect of a full day’s work I felt positively rejuvenated, and vehemently insistent that I would do it all again; although perhaps next time, a solo adventure wouldn’t be so bad.