Our first microadventure

by Jan

Last weekend we went on our first microadventure.  This all happened after I stumbled across Alastair Humphrey’s blog “living adventurously”, which I highly recommend.

If you are not familiar with the term,

a microadventure is an adventure that is short, simple, and close to home. 

British adventurer Alastair Humphrey’s popularised the word as he encouraged more people to get outside and have adventures in their local area.  He promotes the idea of living for the 5 to 9, rather than 9 to 5.  His notion is that we shouldn’t wait for holidays to have a big adventure, we can try something small and local.  And that sounds simply perfect for lockdown when there is no chance of any far-flung adventures.

Choosing our first microadventure

Obelisk tower, Camberley, Surrey, UK

Firstly, we had to decide where our family microadventure would take us.  Although Alastair is keen to promote the joys of wild camping, I don’t think we are quite ready for this yet, especially since it’s January.  So, at the start of the year, we brainstormed ideas for our first microadventure.  Our criteria for the mini adventure were local, kid-friendly and something we wouldn’t normally do.

My first idea for our family adventure was to do a nocturnal hike to the oldest local building in Camberley, The Obelisk.  This is a grade-II listed tower atop a wooded hill in Camberley Park, Surrey.  John Norris built the tower around 1765 and it became a prominent landmark in the 18th and 19th Centuries.  Unfortunately, during our daylight inspection visit we discovered the council have currently locked the Obelisk to protect it from vandalism.

So on to idea two, an early morning visit to Barossa Common to watch the sun rise.

Barossa morning views, Surrey, UK

Barossa Common is a large nature reserve north of Camberley in Surrey, UK.  The Ministry of Defence own the land and we often spot soldiers out on military exercise.

Barossa is a beautiful area of heathland, which joins with Swinley Forest in Berkshire and is a wonderful area for walking and exploring.  It’s a favourite stomping-ground of ours and has been a lifesaver since lockdown.  However, until this weekend we have only been in daylight.

Planning our first microadventure

Path leading way on Sunrise walk, Barossa, Surrey, UK

Luckily, the trip did not require much planning at all.  We checked the time of sunrise (8.06am) and the weather forecast (-1°).  Our microadventure kit list consisted of torches, breakfast, and lots of layers of warm clothing.

The microadventure begins

Misty view over heathland, , Barossa, , Surrey, UK

We set the alarm.  The last time we’d got up for sunrise was this summer at Oxwich Bay, Gower and that was early.  Luckily, in winter the sun likes a lie in too.

Once we were away from the houses, the first part of the walk is through Diamond Ridge Woods.  This is a familiar route for us, but it was very dark, with no lighting at all.  It didn’t seem scary and I was hoping to see some early-rising wildlife, but all was quiet.

One of the key ideas of a microadventure is to break from your daily routine.  However, you don’t have to go far to find that adventure.

Boy watching early morning, Barossa, , Surrey, UK

The plan was to eat our breakfast outdoors at the top of the Ridge and wait for the sunrise from there.  From the Ridge you have spectacular views in every direction.  It took us about 35 minutes to get there, by which time it was starting to get light.

However, we arrived earlier than expected and there was no sign of the sun.  We hadn’t accounted for it having to rise above the tree line before we could see it.  Or for the fog!

We ate our breakfast of pain aux raisins on top of the Ridge and the boys played in the trees.  Eventually we decided that it was too foggy to see the sun rise, so we headed off home.

Reflection on our first microadventure

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see the sunrise at Barossa Common.  However, the walk was fun and rewarding.  Walking in the dark introduced a spirit of adventure to our customary walk and we all felt a sense of achievement.

Microadventures with kids are not so much about what you do, but the fact you are doing it.  And, of course, they need to be fun.  It’s a great reason to get outside and enjoy some fresh air and we’re already compiling our adventure ideas for the next one.

Welcoming the morning, Barossa, Surrey, UK

Have you been on any microadventures?  We’d love to hear your stories below.

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Avatar for Jan
Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love) 29th January 2021 - 6:55 pm

I love the idea of microadventures and living for the 5 to 9 rather than the 9 to 5. It sounds like you enjoyed your microadventure even if it was too foggy to see the sunrise. I quite like the idea of following your lead and trying a sunrise walk at some point too. Thank you for sharing with #CountryKids

Avatar for Jan
Jan 29th January 2021 - 7:53 pm

We’ve been back for the sunset, but still not seen the sunrise.


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