Every now and then it's good to get out and have an adventure, whether it’s alone or with friends, it doesn't matter, I just jump on my bicycle and head to the hills, to get outdoors, travel the country lanes, see the trees, climb that hill….or sleep in the woods.
I’ve been bivvy-ing and bikepacking for a fair few years now and it’s been a way of clearing headspace and renewing the batteries, whether its a swift cheeky night in the hills of Somerset to riding across Scotland or the northern coastline of Cornwall, it’s all good.
I’m still learning though because every time I forget something or pack more than I need, but it's an adventure! There’s always room for improvement, but I don’t stress, that’s what bicycle adventures are about, not rushing, just going at my own pace down the trail and when the time comes sleeping in a field over the hedgerows.
As always it starts after work on Saturday, all packed and ready to leave at 17.30hrs (sometimes!) We finally haul out of the bicycle workshop and head north to the Quantock hills, the last time to a little woodland 19km away, obviously via a village pub. Additional refreshment is always welcome, especially after the short sharp shock of the climb to the pub, conversations usually revolves around bikes, kit, who’s eating what and did anyone bring jacket spuds for the fire?
From the pub it’s a steady drop for about 3 miles until we reach our destination, hiding ourselves away in the woods and preparing for a fire and getting the cooking going. When the kettle is on and the fire going it’s time to set up shelter; a bivvy bag, thermal sleep mat and a snug sleeping bag, all then neatly (if possible) covered by a tarp - cosy!
It's just being there, outdoors in the wilds, when the chat and laughter subsides and before the snoring starts, it’s that peaceful time lying out there looking through the trees to the sky and the stars beyond, or even listening to the wind and rain...magical.
In the morning, bleary-eyed but fresh, tired but wide awake, you first experience the weather, there's no avoiding it, waking up to the sun rising over the hills or the rain through the branches of the trees, hopefully swiftly followed by a lovely cuppa tea.
Breaking camp is always a slow process, packing and chatting, while making another tea and some porridge.
The ride back to town is leisurely, with maybe just a bit of whooping and hollering, but there's no need to rush, no work waiting just easing into the day ahead, to recall tales to friends and loved ones of a night with the wild things in the woods, under the stars.
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