So I’ve completed my 31 days of wild. Incase you missed it, you can see the other days written up here. It was a bit of a challenge, and I have to admit that I missed one day which you can read about below.
It’s really made me think about my spare time, and finding holes in my day to achieve stuff as well as helping prioritise things.
Day 24 >> WALK IN FOG
This is the path through Stanmer Park, near Brighton. It’s just a short drive outside and is great for walking and mountain biking. This was my old stomping ground when we lived in Brighton and I loved going back and having a wander in the fog. I’m glad the oh-so-tempting call of the pub or warm sofa didn’t work.
Day 25 >> THE LONG WAY HOME
This project is all about finding that little bit of wild in my everyday. Today I simply took a bit of a longer cycle home on my bike. I whipped through Blaise, my super bright headlight ran out of battery half way through and I only had a small light and the stars to navigate, which was kinda fun!
Day 26 >> WAKE UP SUPER EARLY
I got up at 5.30 this morning and went for cycle, it’s nice to get some extra miles in the legs before work. I then cycled up the hill to a place called Brandon Hill, and I sat on my own watching the city come alive and the sky gradually brighten. I even had time for a quick coffee in a cafe, all before work. Go me!
Day 27 >> STAND UP PADDLEBOARDING
The good people at @SUPbristol took me paddle boarding after work this evening. I’ve not been before, but have wanted to for a while as a way to explore. It took a bit to get used to it, but my canoeing helped a bit with paddling and surfing/windsurfing helped with the balance, although it was strange not having the momentum to stabalise the board. We only took a short paddle after a bit of getting used to this strange new craft. It was great to see the harbour at night from the water.
Day 28 >> PICNIC BREAKFAST BEFORE WORK FAILURE
I wanted to get up early with my stove and have a wild breakfast cook up overlooking Avon Gorge. The night before I missed bedtime with the girls having gone SUPing and decided breakfast with them the following morning was more important. Gutted to have failed in the challenge and not done everyday, but actually I think it helped focus my mind for the other days left in the month and remind me that it is so easy to go for a whole day without any fresh air.
Day 29 > CAVING GOATCHURCH CAVERN
I used to go caving with our adventure challenge teacher at school. The Mendips is a caving hotspot, and when we moved to the Mendips as a kid, our house was used as a bit of a caving lodge. I’ve only been a few times though, both in wet and dry caves, I was quite relieved when I was told we’d do a dry cave, as I remember being absolutely frozen as a child, in a wet suit on some Welsh hill.
We headed up to a cave called Goatchurch Cavern and rather surreally headed down into the depths, past bats and the odd Stalactite (cos it holds ‘tight’ to the ceiling, as opposed to Stalagmite, which ‘might’ reach the ceiling). We twisted and turned over rocks and through holes. There was one tunnel that was a highlight, that went vertically down. We had to make ourselves as wide as possible to control our speed, it reminded me of the scene in the Matrix, when they’re “in the walls” and have to slide down.
Right down the bottom of the cave there is this section called The Drainpipe, I remember this from last time, you wriggle down 40m of tiny hole turn round in a cavern at the end and come back. It’s proper caving, half way down I really had to fight of a mild sense of panic, a feeling I don’t recall having before. Before coming back the 13yo lad that was with me (who incidentally was down this hole in a jiffy) said ‘Oh, the way back is harder’ – thanks!! I was thankful to get out of that hole, as I was sweaty (who knew it would be do hot down there!) and my elbows and knees were all cut up. But it was a good experience and the rest of the cave I loved, especially geeking out on some geology and seeing some fossils so far underground.
Day 30 > COOK UP ON THE BEACH
I’ve slightly painted Brean Down with the Weston-Super-Nightmare paint brush, and written it off as caravan hell. I was delighted to find out that it’s a stunning beach, with big soaring cliffs. The girls were a bit struck by the wind, so we cancelled our plans of scaling the steps up the cliff to the Napoleonic fort and headed for the shelter of the cliffs. While they played in the sand and made castles, I cooked up some pasta on my trusty beercan stove. The girls love a picnic, and with the sun out, and sheltered from the wind we had a lovely family time.
Before we headed to the beach, me and the 4yo studied an OSMap of the area, I think she enjoyed working out what the symbols mean, and she even spotted bits in the map I couldn’t see. Then when we got down to the beach after driving on the ‘blue road’ we tried to spot some of the landmarks we had looked at on the map. It’s the first time I’ve tried maps on her, and I think she gets it. I’ll be borrowing some more OSMaps from the library I think.
Day 31 > WOOD CARVING
My last day of the month of wild. I was a bit of a loss and hadn’t done something all day, I was going to go for a mammoth hike, but beers and wine the night before ruined that. Everyone kept saying “You need to do something epic on your last day”, Adele suggested running naked through the forest – *rolls eyes*.
Finally, at the last minute, I decided to do some wood carving. So I researched types of tree and headed down and spent a really nice few hours, trying to identify trees in winter, finding a branch and sitting in the dark carving away. The end result is… okay. Okay as a first stab, but I’m already wishing that I could finish this blog post so I can go and find another bit of wood to whittle. Was this epic? Probably not, but it is does prove that you can do a bit of wild close to home and without a huge amount of physical effort. I’ve always liked the idea of wood carving, and dribbled at spoon carving courses, but I’m realising I might not need to shell out on that, and just figure things out myself.