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Creating Mini Adventures in a Winter Wonder Lockdown.

At the time of writing the national lockdown Part 2 has just been announced (probably well underway when this goes out), and us outdoor lovers are prepping ourselves for the long dark nights and restricted travel options. We believe that with the onset of a challenging winter ahead of us we need to plan some mini adventures in order to get our outdoor fix whilst staying local and keeping safe in these interesting times.

The definition of a mini adventure? To us it means that little bit more. Its more than just a hike when you throw in a wild swim or a wild camp, its an adventure that will leave you glowing from within. Usually crammed into a day or over the weekend (check current government guidelines for overnighters), exploring somewhere new, or doing something different is good for the soul. A break from the norm to us is an adventure and no huge amount of time planning or great travel itinerary is required.

It would be so easy to lock ourselves away during the coming months, however, from personal experience we can guarantee you that making time for the outdoors can not only improve mood, but will also give our health and wellbeing a much needed energy boost to keep the spirits up and ready to tackle just about anything life can throw at us at the moment.

So with more restrictions in place we are setting out our doorstep plan, to try and fit in as many mini adventures in our local area as possible. We hope some of these ideas will spark some inspiration and make you grab your boots for an hour, or an afternoon or maybe a whole day, its only ever going to be time well spent. All of our ideas are suitable for the lone ramblers amongst us or ways to get the kids involved. Whoever's in your support bubble, get them outside they will thank you afterwards, honest. No one ever regrets spending time outdoors.

The Hammock Life

We cannot recommend these things enough! Anyone who has followed our antics over these past few years will have no doubt seen us swinging in the trees, its our favourite past time. Nothing beats the horizontal view of swaying tree tops whilst you're levitating between two handsome old trees. Life really does slow down when your swinging in a tree.

Prepare in advance a hot flask of coffee, tea or hot soup of choice. Extra layers and some rolled up blankets to make your winter picnic just that bit more cosy. If you plan your walk to finish in a cluster of trees it will make for the perfect end to a winters hike. You'll know you've achieved optimum outdoor points when you have rosy cheeks and a tomato soup moustache.

Dine Out!

A small hiking gas stove, a pot or pan, spoon or spork and you have the basic cooking set up. Cooking up a sausage butty and boiling a brew is as basic as it gets and a fine meal you can share outdoors. Many a banger has been sizzling whilst sat back taking in the views after a walk into our favourite wild spaces.

Don't get us wrong we've enjoyed many a flame grilled steak on our adventures, the beach cook up of steak and mushroom baguettes probably our most memorable feast to date. Whatever your meal of choice, be it a fine dining experience or a tin of chilli, think ahead to minimise what you pack in your rucksack and how you can easily carry any rubbish away with you.

Although we can think of no finer way to cook a meal than on an open fire, it really is a no go in our countryside without landowner permission, consider instead a firebox type stove, keeping flames contained and if used correctly cause minimum damage to our precious landscape. Most places in the UK have a 'no open flame or outdoor stove' ruling and understandably given the damage caused these past summers by inconsiderate users, so if seen will cause suspicion amongst fellow countryside users. Being respectful of others and of our countryside, a little common sense, thinking about safety at all times and a wild meal cooked outdoors can be achieved.

The master chefs of the outdoors and a great way to see how it should be done are Haze Outdoors & Gaziano Outdoors.

Always clean up afterwards, returning stones and logs you may have used. Leave no rubbish, leave no heat sources, leave no sign you were there. Leave No Trace!

Re-Wild Yourself

This is the new hashtag everyone should be using and definitely something we will be actively seeking to make our own mark on. The recent documentary A Life On Our Planet by Sir David Attenborough made us even more aware of the plight of our precious planet and the time in which we have to help drive change. In short, we cannot singularly change the world, but we can change the part of the world that we inhabit. Starting from what's on our doorstep.

We have new found time on our hands to re-educate and adapt our own personal footprint on our own patch of this planet. We can look at our own recycling systems, local litter picking events, wildlife watching campaigns and surveys you can get involved in, all will make a difference and help monitor a wider problem. Hedgehogs! where did they go? how can we invite them back. For information and tips on how we can all make a small difference in a big world, check out the Rewilding Britain website, link below.

Get involved as much or as little as you would like to in your local conservation areas, but getting involved in some way is a step in the right way.

Teach yourself a new skill.

Forget the class room style learnings (don't tell the kids we said that obviously) grab a book on mushroom foraging and get outside! Whatever grabs your attention whilst out and about, if you've stood studying trees, caterpillars, local historical monuments for a dubious amount of time, but you've never known or understood what it is your admiring, then learn all about that! Become an expert and share your knowledge online, because the chances are we would all like to know the species of mushroom that we can add to our butty, without the need for urgent medical attention too!

We have the world at our fingertips and we can learn a new outdoor skill over the course of a weekend or at our own pace. Navigation, first aid, how to become a group walk leader, these are all things you can read up on and prepare yourself for, and maybe join a class when its safe to do so after restrictions.

YouTube is a constant resource for us, its taught me the basics of bushcraft skills that I want to advance with, and given Sam her aspirations for Mountain leadership. Watching and learning something that you are interested in may soon turn into something you are passionate about. Making a start is the first step, either self taught, a book or an online source, the possibilities are endless, make the most of the outdoors by spending the most time doing what you love! Just don't get too ahead of yourself and start testing the mushrooms just yet!

Build a den! Make a shelter.

I remember on the first lockdown when all the schools were closed, my local woodland became a haven for kids (no doubt climbing the walls, cooped up inside) as the days went by, more and more little dens and shelters popped up in and around the surrounding woodlands. This was great! I loved seeing them, I even sat myself down in one one one day and made myself a coffee.