Lake District stream
Lake District

Snuggled down in my cosy sleeping bag at 7am, last night’s bravado over a glass of wine was quickly diminishing.

Just 5 more minutes…..

There are 2 things which all my friends and family know about me:

  1. I’m not a morning person!  I like to come round gradually and ease myself into the day.  None of this 10 mile run at 6am lark for me.  I like to savour a cuppa at my leisure and work my way into the activities ahead…procrastinate and faff!
  2. I like to be warm.  Hot showers.  Lovely, warm the bones, hot showers.  I hate, absolutely hate, being cold and shivering – whether it be while out camping, walking, sleeping in my duvet covered bed, or kicking back on the sofa with a good book.

So what on earth was I thinking when I eagerly proposed a pre-breakfast dip under an icy cold Lakeland waterfall.  I can’t even blame the alcohol talking – even for me, a large glass of wine isn’t quite enough to instil such false bravado.

I blame that Alastair Humphreys chap!

I’ve been following his tales of micro adventures on Twitter for quite a while now and his Blog is jam packed full of stories.  I love the concept of inspiring others to do crazy or different little things out in the wilds.

Stuff like…..

  • Grabbing the trangia stove and a bottle of wine to cook tea on a lake shore beach.
  • Relaxing in a hot tub, in the rain, in the middle of a motel car park, on a dark cold New Zealand winter’s night.
  • Drinking tea and biscuits at the top of a favourite climb to celebrate our anniversary.
  • Breakfasting on an egg butty and hot chocolate up high, watching the sunrise on New Year’s Day.
  • Tobogganing in the blazing warm sunshine at Llandudno ski centre.
  • Cooking tea in a dark lay-by on the main road past Ladybower Reservoir with the full moon rising.
  • Drinking wine on top of rocks high above the campsite, just to watch the sunset down the valley.
  • Zip wire across a raging torrent of a river gorge.

These are just a few of the random things which I’ve done over the years and which stick in my mind as being great fun….but I would never have tagged them as adventures (or micro adventures) before Alastair Humphreys made it a common place description.  To me it’s just ‘playing out’ or a set of circumstances which lead to doing something a bit random.  Maybe it’s also a state of mind, making the little things in life become adventures to remember, or simply just thinking like a big kid.

I so like the idea of micro adventures that I spoke to my sister about the concept.  She toasted marshmallows in the chiminea on a dark February school night with my 11 year old nephew that evening.  What a brilliant idea and how much fun must it have been for him to go into school the next day and tell all his mates what he’d been up to when they would have been stuck inside watching telly!

Micro Adventures by Alastair Humphreys
Micro Adventures by Alastair Humphreys

So with that in mind, I decided to buy the Micro Adventures book by Alastair Humphreys the other day.  I figured it would give me some ideas of new stuff to do and kick fire me into action.

…..and that is precisely what my husband and I had been flicking through over a glass of wine in the pub the night before.

…..precisely the reason why I now had to prod my husband in the side and ask the burning question “are you still up for a dip in the stream before breakfast?”


It was done!  The words were out of my mouth.  7.05am and I was grabbing my stuff to head down to the stream.

Now I have to admit that I have swum in streams in the past, lots.  Well, 2 or 3 streams in particular anyway.  Growing up in the Yorkshire Dales, hot summer days in the school holidays were always about picnics and swimming in the rivers around the village.

I’ve never been a confident swimmer though and when I grew up and moved away from the area, I rarely swam.  That, combined with hearing tales of river currents pulling you under rocks and drowning you, well, when all is said and done, I really lost the urge to throw myself into unknown pools of cold water.

However, after an intensely hot day on the mountain bike a couple of days before, I’d already been for a dip in this stream to cool down…..and it was bliss.

With the morning chill of 7.15am, I fully expected to have a different experience.

I have a method which seems to work for me in such situations.  None of this inching my way in slowly until the water is up to my neck – far too painful.  Equally, an all or nothing body immersion straight away is not for me – I reckon that would be a body shock too far and besides, it’s not recommended lest it lead to body shutdown.

Just a little dip before breakfast
Just a little dip before breakfast

Easing my way to just above the knees, I was relatively surprised that the water was warmer than expected.  Once I become accustomed to the cold water, the next step for me is total immersion – and so there I was, swimming under a waterfall in a freezing cold Lakeland stream at 7.30am.

It was startlingly exhilarating, until I realised that my hands were freezing cold and going numb.

Climbing back out, wrapped in a towel, I felt almost euphoric.  Maybe there is something to be said for early morning dips in mountain streams after all.

8am, a hot shower later and a cup of hot chocolate with my breakfast, I watched the rest of the campsite waking up for the day with a big smile on my face.

  • Micro adventures
  • Playing out
  • Crazy ideas
  • Fun things
  • Something different
  • Having a laugh
  • The norm

I love ’em, whatever you want to call them!

Here’s to the next…..

Drinking in the view
Drinking in the view


2 thoughts on “Playing out…..

  1. Very inspiring and I like the way you tell the story. I’m encouraged on the toasted marshmallow front. Might need a bottle of vino to go for a pre breakfast waterfall shower!
    Reminded me of how I love adventures. Small ones are the best, they make the everyday a special day. All sorts too – even tiny weeny ones like turning down an unknown street, walking a different way to work, sitting in a different place from usual. Getting lost is impossible with that mentality! Change is as good as a …!


    1. I agree, little adventures are ace…..and sometimes it’s just how you think about an event, eg. the reason we cooked in a lay-by in the dark was because we’d been in the Peak for the day, came across an outdoor talk about to start so stayed for it and the pubs had stopped serving food when we got out. We could have been really narked, but instead it became a mini adventure and lots of fun! By the way, I love the idea of never getting lost 🙂


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