Places to go
Good friends Paddy and Astrid made a bucket list that included ‘sleeping under the stars’ shortly before Paddy's 88th birthday. On the night of Paddy’s birthday, Astrid and the residents and staff of the care home where Paddy lived sat around a fire drinking hot chocolate, singing campfire songs and listening to poems. When the non-campers went back inside, Astrid, Paddy and Astrid’s mum (who’d been Paddy’s friend for forty years) settled down outside for the night.
Astrid, an experienced camper, had brought all the kit for the trio to have a warm, dry night. With no rain forecast, they slept on the ground looking up at the night sky. Astrid later told me "I’m not sure Paddy slept a wink. She clung onto my hand most of the night with excitement, looking up at the stars in wonder, and slept the whole of the following morning to make up for her sleepless excitement."
Paddy has proven that adventure is open to everyone, despite your age, skill level or location. What's more, it can fit into even the busiest schedules, as great adventures can be had at any time of day.
Getting outside under the cover of darkness can give the most familiar routes, places or activities an extra dimension of fun, challenge and excitement. It could be a late-night feast on one of Britain's best hilltops by the light of head torches, a night cycle or camping in your garden or in the wild – whatever fits you: there are no rules.
What’s important is that we make time for adventure. It's easy to make bucket lists, but busy lives get in the way of achieving them. Committing to a night of adventure, a date in the diary, gives you a focus. And once you’ve started and reminded yourself how fun and rewarding night-time activities are, you won't want to stop.
Sleeping under the stars is one of those things that you must try once. You'll get front row seats to the dawn chorus and if you're lucky, see the most spectacular display of stars, plus sunset and sunrise thrown in too! Read our beginner's guide to camping and give it ago yourself. Remember to follow a few simple rules if camping in the wild; leave no trace, set up late and pack down early, and you'll have a night you'll never forget!
Pack your bag with everything you'd need for a day out, plus an extra layer and a torch, and you'll be set to explore by night. The countryside in incredibly peaceful at night as you'll likely have it all to yourselves, apart from the abundance of wildlife. If it's your first time exploring in the dark, stick to paths/areas that you know and always pack a detailed map!
Some animals only come out when it's dark, which makes night time adventures great for spotting wildlife. Keep your ears open for the rustling of leaves, is there a hedgehog nearby? Look up at the sky, can you see bats or even an owl? We're very fortunate in Great Britain that our wildlife is unlikely to cause us any harm, even at night.
Experience a unique serenity by picking up a paddle at night. Your favourite kayak route will be transformed under moonlight and despite the eerie calmness, you'll get a real sense of adventure. You need to be a fairly experienced kayaker to paddle at night so please don't attempt this alone or if you're new to the sport.
The great thing about adventures on two feet is that you don't need much equipment, so you can explore from your front door when ever you feel like it. Grab a friend and run or walk your way around town, you'll be amazed at how different your local area looks and sounds.
Getting away from civilisation helps us relax and unwind and you don't need to go far to find darkness. By finding a spot away from street lights and houses, you'll experience the most wonderful display of stars and a beautiful bright moon (on a clear night!).
The YHA have official #WildNightOut2021 events open to all. These are perfect for those wanting to experience the thrill of night-time adventures and make some friends along the way. Head over to the free GetOutside app where you'll find a whole host of events to join throughout the year, with some taking place at night. Or, why not add your own event to the GetOutside app and invite others along for the journey.
Wild Night Out is an annual night when you push yourself to do something adventurous and bring someone else along with you, giving those who might not normally take the plunge a chance to spend more time adventuring. Since Wild Night Out began, more than 7,000 people have participated, raising over £69,000 for conservation and youth charities.In 2021 #WildNightOut2021 takes place on Saturday 17th July.
Be inspired to do more and go further by equipping yourself with the best tools for the job. Our maps are built on 220 years of experience - we keep walkers, runners, cyclists and more safe in the great outdoors all year round.
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