July & August round-up and looking ahead

With the night’s drawing in all-too-early these days I’m finding it increasingly difficult to shift the opening lyrics from the Boo Radley’s song ‘Wake up Boo’ from my head. It happens every year; perhaps I should be used to it by now! It also makes me think about how the weather and the shortening days will impact on my microadventures for the rest of the year, trying to remember how we coped in those early months of the year.

I’m conscious I’ve been quiet for a couple of months. I wish I could say that I’ve been making the most of our beautiful summer, though the reality is I’ve been consumed by rather mundane jobs and projects and a reasonable amount of DIY. That’s not to say I haven’t been getting out. I have, but only really on the odd bike ride here and there around the Surrey Hills or taking the chance to commute by bike a few times.

What the Surrey Hills might lack in elevation, they make up for in amazing views
What the Surrey Hills might lack in elevation, they make up for in amazing views
Having seen this being created earlier in the year, it's great to see it now in situ.
Having seen this being created earlier in the year, it’s great to see it now in situ.

In actual fact I’ve really enjoyed getting out with my kids on their bikes. My daughter’s been off stabilisers for a couple of months now and her confidence is growing tremendously. We even managed a seven-mile off road ride together the other week, which I didn’t think was too bad for a four-year old. Perhaps I’ve got a future Highland Trail or Tour Divide racer on my hands!

My daughter tearing up the bike tracks at Alice Holt
My daughter tearing up the bike tracks at Alice Holt

Although it was a disappointment not to get out in August the summer wasn’t completely devoid of microadventure. July’s adventures spanned the very first and last throes of the month; two quite different trips and an opportunity to try new things.

At the beginning of the month I took my kids to join our friends for an overnighter at their woods. They are still busy thoughtfully shaping some woodland bought last year and it’s the perfect environment to let four kids run free in relative safety. My kids have been camping a few times, but somehow camping in the woods – away from the rather sanitised environment of a commercial campsite – added that extra bit of excitement to the whole thing, at least judging by the time they all finally went to sleep!

By mid-July I was developing a full-on microadventure itch that needed scratching. With busy schedules for both myself and Andy we managed to squeeze in a quick seven ‘til seven trip to our local spot in the Surrey Hills. The catalyst largely being me wanting to try out my DD hammock which was a birthday present from Andy. I’d never slept in a hammock before and so I was rather keen to see how I’d get on with it. First impressions? Well, it was more comfortable than being on my ultra-thin Thermarest, but more restrictive for someone who likes to roll around a bit. Overall I really enjoyed it and would like to get used to that way of sleeping. It’s certainly an option I can now have in my adventuring armoury.

Hammocking: a new experience for me, but one I'd want to try again.
Hammocking: a new experience for me, but one I’d want to try again.

So what’s planned for the rest of the year? Well, either later this month or early October we will be taking a couple of days to cycle the Shipwight’s Way, a 50-mile way-marked bridleway that runs from Bentley rail station just over the Hampshire border down to Portsmouth Harbour (although the final section requires the ferry to be running which I don’t think it is at present, so we’ll be going as far as Hayling Island and back). I don’t think it’s a hugely arduous route, certainly not like the first day of our Gravel Dash ride was back in May, but given the rain we’ve had recently (and continue to have no doubt) and the shortening days it will represent a nice little adventure. Probably made all the sweeter after missing out on something in August. After that we’ll have to see. I guess that’s the beauty of microadventures. You can have a loose plan of what you hope to achieve each month with the added bonus of being flexible because you aren’t setting out to walk the length of the Nile every time.

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