Mini adventures and the spice of life

Parenting can be quite a drag sometimes. Asking young people to put phones away. Tidying up after young people. It could get quite a drag. But then, of course, you can sometimes subvert things – make use of these little people’s sense of adventure and fun – and go and create some memories. You just need to remind yourself that it’s there to be harnessed.

We’ve had a couple of crackers this summer. The seemingly-endless-but-inevitably-endful gorgeous weather of much or May, June and July came at a fairly busy time for work and personal selfish stuff like Bob Graham rounds, so I was starting to get a bit of regret about not managing to make the most of the gorgeous summer. Bought a nice small packable 2-man tent out of impulse, knowing that it’d kick me into going and justifying buying it. And thus is worked… with two brilliant micro-adventures. (I hate the idea of people shopping for pleasure, but sometimes the simple act of purchasing gives you the push you need to get on with it!)

Adventure 1: Tandem tour with Elsie

England had just beaten Sweden in the World Cup quarter final. The pubs would be heaving, the roads quiet. Perfect time to sneak away at teatime on Saturday for a camp, pub meal and 50 pretty hilly tandem miles with Elsie, then back before midday on Sunday. A mint way of spending time in the sun, 1:1 time, and of course, the type of bonding that only shared exertion in the outdoors can really provide.

We cycled partly on road and partly off-road over the Nick of Pendle to a tiny campsite at Worston. Had a lovely sleep then rode back through Whalley – backed by the heat.

Adventure 2: Chancing it in the Lakes with Lily

I’d been anxious to get a similar experience in the bag with Lily. Not being any form of cycling enthusiast, it gave me the opportunity to grab some proper high mountain time with Lily, who has done plenty of fell running, but whose Lakeland experience has been fairly limited.

I decided on a wild camp at Angle Tarn, nested between Langdale and the Central Fells. The problem was the forecast…. with the clock ticking on the summer holidays and weekend time a bit limited, we eventually committed to a trip up on Saturday. The forecast was for a foggy but dry evening, then heavy rain from 2am. That’ll test the tent anyway.

We arrived in Langdale and set out at 6pm. Tent pitched at our lovely spot at 7:30, we just had time to dash up Scafell Pike, and for a short moment, I had the rooftop of England all to myself with my eldest daughter. Ace.

We got back and made a brew then got settled into the tent. But the rain came and came and didn’t really let up. We slept pretty much not-at-all, and when the tent started to become basically as damp as outside, we decided to break camp and head down. Spirits still high, the immense rainfall had made simple stream crossings quite epic in the dawn, but we safely got back to the car and changed with only a mammoth kit-drying task to undertake when we got back. Memories? Hell yeah.