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Wild Night Out…

We should all spend more time outdoors.  Its simple to say and easy to do, but still as a nation we struggle to get people outside.  Because of this, Belinda Kirk created ‘Wild Night Out’, to enthuse people to enjoy the wonderful world around us.  The Ordnance Survey teamed up with Belinda for 2017.  Some people choose to wild camp, others sleep in their garden.  Some camp with youngsters, others with their pets.  Whatever and wherever, example is better than talk, and I lead by example.  I decided to do more of a marathon than a wild night, and joined by fellow outdoor enthusiast Jo Elson, the adventure began…

I’ve always enjoyed outdoor concerts.  Over the years I’ve travelled from Knebworth to Hyde Park, Chatsworth House to my local River Gardens.  Rain or shine, I’m there, usually armed with a hamper and champagne.  I like doing things in style..!  We travelled from Derbyshire to Cheshire to watch the Oddsocks Theatre Company perform Romeo and Juliet in the style of Mods and Rockers at Gasworth Hall.  I’m not a particularly cultured man, but I do like my Shakespeare and Oddsocks always bring a wonderful twist to his stories.  Capulets as motorbike totting rockers and Montague’s as scooter riding Mods certainly is different..!  What also impressed me was the number of families and youngsters in the audience.  All enjoyed the show, but also the sunshine, fresh air and open skies.  Wild Camping on the hill might not be your thing, but I heartily recommend an outdoor concert or cinema.  It’s a wonderful way to get family and friends together and enjoy the open air.  Being on the edge of the Peak District, we left as the sun set and headed into the hills…

I can’t remember the first time that I walked onto Mam Tor, but it must have been in the 1970’s.  The ancient hill fort is usually festooned with people, but at night a silence falls over it.  Drizzle was falling as we arrived, which didn’t bode well for a night in bivvy bags, but right on cue the clouds parted and beautiful stars were revealed.  The breeze was stiff, so we found a sheltered spot and bedded down for the night.  The moon was bright, but we still saw satellites and shooting stars overhead.  There’s something wonderful about staring up at the night sky.  I remember the vastness of stars from my Raleigh International Expedition to Chile in 1994.  Being miles from artificial light allowed them to shine by the thousand.  It’s worth getting away from towns and cities and staring towards the heavens for an hour or two.  It does your soul the world of good.  Jo have never bivvied out before, but I think she’s got the bug now..!

Dawn broke beautifully to the east and after breakfast we wandered downhill into Winnats Pass to scramble.  Unfortunately a stiff crosswind dashed our plans here, but a return visit is a must..!

I wonder how many of you have, or do swim outdoors..?  In the village of Hathersage there is a wonderful outdoor pool which was our next stop.  Many Lidos have been lost over the years, which is a great shame, but in Hathersage, it’s very alive and kicking.  The pool was packed with families enjoying the afternoon sunshine and water.  I’ve recently tried open water swimming (which is gaining popularity), and I think we need to reconnect with nature when we do natural things.  We shouldn’t need to be in a box when the water feels so good.  Sunshine and blue skies are so much better.

Walking in the beautiful Longshaw Estate followed (after ice cream) and though the afternoon was busy, there were still quiet corners to be found.  Families were out in abundance, with children playing in streams and running up and down to their heart’s content.  Just what they should be doing.  By the time we’d done I was shattered, but very happy.  Phew, what a weekend..!

Ok, so we went over the top, but consider this – much of the weekend cost little or nothing to do.  Wildcamping, scrambling and walking are free.  The outdoors are free.  Swimming was around £6 each and there was little time limit.  There is so much for people to see and do with little cost attached that it amazes me that people don’t get out more.

Sit in all the shopping outlets you like, eat all the factory produced food you like and fume in all the traffic queues you like.

I’ll be in the hills…

1 thought on “Wild Night Out…”

  1. As will I :) I’m not one for shopping but to be wandering the Peak District is definitely my idea of fun. Cheap or free fun is even better!

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