So I wanted to celebrate Midsummer with a microadventure of my own, and decided to sleep in my parents’ garden. Options were limited due to various circumstances but I wasn't going to let that stop me. My dad’s a vicar so my parents have a big vicarage garden. The house is on a hill, so there are areas of the garden at different levels, and plenty of wild patches for creatures to live in. I've tested out camping equipment by sleeping in the garden before, but I wanted to try something new, so I borrowed my brother’s bivvy bag. A bivvy bag is basically a waterproof sack. I’ve learnt from previous experience to always test out equipment before needing it, so I got the bivvy bag out in the living room the day before. My aunt and my family dog happened to be hanging around as I tried out the zips and figured out the different openings - you can either have a mesh over your face to keep the bugs out or a waterproof and opaque closure if it’s raining. The poor dog got very confused when I zipped the whole thing up and my aunt had a good laugh!
Midsummer evening. I went for a lovely afternoon run in the fantastic weather. As the sun began to sink towards the horizon I trundled outside with the bivvy bag, along with my sleeping mat and sleeping bag. I picked a spot by the apple trees that my parents had planted not long after moving to this house. I could watch the sunset through the trees and immerse myself in the quiet of nature. Sounds pretty romantic, but within minutes I was viciously attacked by biting insects, so zipped myself in the bag a bit earlier than I’d intended. Listening to the sounds around me was pretty relaxing though and I quickly drifted off.
I was surprised that it never really got completely dark. I woke up lots of times during the night, and every time I found that I’d slipped down in the bag, as I was on a bit of a slope. So I had to wriggle my way back up (easier said than done when the sleeping bag and mat are both pretty friction-free). My feet got cold - they always do when I’m camping - and the night-time sounds permeated my slumber. At 6am the wood pigeons were in full voice with their distinctive, rhythmic call. This was my favourite part of the adventure. I lay and listened to the morning sounds of birds and the rustling of other animals. I had time to think. Even though I was wrapped up in my carefully designed camping kit I was still cold and uncomfortable - and this was after a hot day. Imagine being homeless and having to sleep out doors all the time without the specialist kit. I also let my mind wander to possible future adventures. Imagine carrying all the stuff and wild camping on a multiday hike somewhere quiet and remote. At 7:30am I packed up and went back inside and made breakfast for my mum and sister on a proper cooker in the warm house.
Thanks Alastair for the inspiration.
What's your microadventure? Would you come wild camping with me? Bivvy bag versus hammock? Do you like my morning hair? Let me know what you think!