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Sunrise: Discover the best time to GetOutside

An everyday adventure

Belinda Dixon By Belinda Dixon

The sun rises every day, but does that mean we should take it for granted? As the seasons change, isn't it time to celebrate sunrise; wonder at it, share it. To try to work a burst of the pink-tinged great outdoors into the start of our day.

​The scene

I'm writing this, gloves on, hood up, flask of espresso by my side. I'm perched on a rock on the shoreline in Plymouth. And I've come here to see the sunrise. It's been a busy two weeks - the kind that leave you needing an alfresco fix; an outdoors re-set. Each morning I'd vaguely been aware of the skies lightening through my window. There'd been some gorgeous colours, which made me pause briefly before getting on with my day. Then one morning I realised it was making me wistful - out there this thing was happening, but here I was inside, behind glass.

Seeking out the sunrise

Which set me thinking: sunrise daily gives heart to millions - commuters, school run-makers, joggers, dog walkers. By popping up at different stages in our routines, the sun signals the year shifting gear. Just by rising earlier it’s the biggest harbinger of spring. When the mornings stay darker longer you know winter is on the way. In fact, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, hobbies, just being outside - the shifting themes of our lives are signalled by what time the sun starts to rise.

From Egyptians to Ancient Britons, people have known for millennia that this moment matters. And yet glimpsed through train and car windows, tangled in trees, sunrise is something we often consume on the go - hurried, partial; like a coffee or a snack.

"Make a date with dawn and just sit and watch the sky lighten"

Belinda Dixon

But is sunrise really that amazing?

I mentioned this sunrise thing to a friend - a very matter-of-fact friend. And she said, bluntly, "what's so remarkable about the sunrise? It does it every day. It'd be much more remarkable if the sun didn't rise." And she's right, of course.

But countering that beautifully is the quote, often attributed to Albert Einstein: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle”. And Professor Einstein was a brainy guy.

A dawn swim

So I decided to see this everyday miracle on its own terms - to fit the sunrises' early-morning routine into my day - rather than the other way around.

I joined one of the early shifts of sea swimmers at Plymouth Hoe. I say 'one of' the early shifts because there are several: small shoals gather sometimes at 6am, others take the plunge at 7am, 7.30am, and then onwards through the day. So after greetings and chatter it was a tentative, staggered progression into the sea.

While whooping from the cold, arms reached forwards, legs kicked back – putting a little distance between self and shore. And then it was watching the sun rise from water that’d become a fiery, molten mirror, floating under candy-floss clouds.

Celebrate sunrise

But, to be honest, although I loved that swim and being in the sea as dawn did its fabulous thing, I didn't focus as much as I'd planned on the sunrise itself. Inevitably, the sea was numbingly cold. And there was the inevitable, swim-related distractions (getting changed, getting cold, shivering, trying to get warm).

So I decided to come down again today - not to swim, or walk, or run, but just to be. To make a date with dawn and just sit and watch the sky lighten. The clouds scud. The swimmers plough. The cormorants fly. The ships glide.


Making memories

It reminds me of the late-spring morning, decades ago when my Dad got my brother and me out of bed impossibly early. He walked us what felt like miles from our suburban estate to an orchard. And there we stood, bundled up in jumpers, feet cold in wellingtons, wrapped up in scarfs, waiting for the dawn chorus.

I still remember that burst of birdsong and our excited chatter all the way home.

Celebrate sunrise

So might it be time to round up family or friends for a dawn adventure? Despite horribly busy lives, might there be one morning where you can GetOutside and squeeze a little sunrise into your day. Because although a sunrise is ultimately very ordinary, it is also extraordinary. A mini-miracle; an everyday adventure that re-sets your day.

Get involved and #ShareYourSunrise

When and how does the sunrise appear in your day. What does it look like; how does it change the view. Is it rural, coastal or urban?

Who do you share it with; does it brighten your day?

Share your sunrise pictures on your favourite social media with #ShareYourSunrise and #GetOutside – and put a little sunshine in everyone's lives.

Belinda Dixon By Belinda Dixon


Belinda Dixon is a travel and adventure writer, a broadcaster and a leader for the charity, the British Exploring Society. Belinda champions the benefits of an active, outdoors lifestyle in everything she does and loves to 'showcase how everyone - whoever and wherever you are, and however you live – can enrich their lives by getting outside.'

You can find out about Belinda's adventures at