Today I walked and drove a car to work. It felt odd to be commuting like many other people do on a daily basis! The only difference for me was that I was commuting to my home workplace!
Let me explain. Last night, the G-Force and I, accompanied by Wispa the Wonder Whippet, headed to Queen’s View, north of our home in Bearsden, for a #microadventure.
The term microadventure was coined by Al Humphries and refers to a short overnight adventure in the great outdoors. It is usually somewhere close to home because the idea is that the adventure takes place between the time you leave work and the time you return to work, the 5pm to 9am gap.
The place that you choose for your adventure does not need to be remote either. You simply find somewhere easily accessible for a night under the stars.
Our microadventure on a work night
With good weather forecast, the G-Force and I chose a place that we know well for our microadventure. It needed to be somewhere that we could wild camp but not too far away because we had to be home before 8am for G’s work.
After an evening meal and our usual evening activities, we drove the car to the car park at Queen’s View. This is apparently where Queen Victoria had her first glimpse of Loch Lomond.
With a rucksack each, packed with the basic kit for a short wild camp, we set off for the half-hour walk to a spot above the Whangie and below the summit of Auchinedan Hill. The Whangie is a strange rock formation. The walls on either side of the gash in the landscape rise to more than 50ft. It is a popular place for climbers.
The evening sky was amazingly clear and the sun was setting as we walked upwards. We passed many walkers and a couple of mountain bikers descending as we ascended.
The views over Loch Lomond and the many surrounding mountains, including Ben Lomond and the Arrochar Alps, were truly stunning. I am not sure I have seen this view looking so beautiful. Around each new corner and over every hillock there were yet more breath-taking aspects to take in. (I think I annoyed the G-Force by stopping to take so many photos!)
Setting up our wild camp
By the time we finally found a spot on a heathery-grassy knoll the sun had almost set. But the sky was still light and the gathering clouds were coloured a bright pinky-red. It was difficult not to stand and gawp. But, instead, we had a tent to put up.
We are very familiar with our tent building roles and while G pegged out the inner tent I got to work assembling the poles. We then shared the process of attaching the poles with G taking one end and me taking the other.
The fly-sheet and guy ropes are also joint work. The final part would normally see G making the tent taut and sturdy, except that where we were pitched the ground was very heathery and featured deep grass so it was difficult to get the pegs to take hold. G did his best, however, and we prayed that the wind would not pick up.
A also put up a Mountain Hardwear SuperMega UL 1 tent that I have been sent to review over this summer. I was so fast to pitch and so, so light to carry it will be ideal for my planned bike packing trip to France next month.
All the while, Wispa danced around us enjoying her evening freedom and wondering what on earth was going on.
There was only a slight breeze and as the sun made its final plunge that dropped almost completely. Amazing, however, what light wind was left was enough to keep away the midges.
I had been very worried about a midge-infested #microadventure and had packed Smidge midge repellent as well as a new Pyramid Midge Hooded Jacket. We didn’t need either and enjoyed a beer each as we sat and watched the sun dip behind the mountains beyond Loch Lomond and its myriad islands. It was spell-binding.
Sleeping out on a microadventure
We climbed into the tent and our sleeping bags at about 11pm. Wispa had her own camping blanket, which we wrapped around her and placed in between us. She likes to be as close to us as possible and as soon as she was wrapped up and in position her eyes began to shut.
I don’t think that G and I were far behind her. We chatted for a bit – and a lot more than we might normally because of a lack of tablets and phones! – before putting our heads down to sleep. Sadly, it wasn’t the most comfortable spot to be because of the big clumps of heather but my new Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Voyager mattress did a great job of ironing out the bumps and offering high warmth ratings.
Although Wispa wriggled quite a lot through the night and we needed to be up at 6am to get home for G’s 8am work meeting, I enjoyed the sense of a real adventure. It was a lot of fun to climb a hill as the sun set over a gorgeous landscape, sleep out in a wild camping spot and then commute back home for my work the next morning. I felt as if I had made great use of the after work-before work gap and it was rewarding to do something a lot less ordinary on a work night.
Where will you go for your microadventure?