We love the Lake District here at More than Mountains. We both moved here (independently, before we met) because this was where we wanted to be. We love having beautiful lakes, dramatic mountains, world class rock climbing routes and endless adventures on our doorstep. But it makes us sad when we hear about people that just live for their one week a year in the Lakes. We believe there are adventures to be had everywhere and we decided to test that theory this Christmas.
We were heading to Hertfordshire for an early Christmas so we rummaged around in books and on the internet to help us come up with a plan. Inspired by an idea in Jen and Sim Benson’s excellent book, “The Adventurer’s Guide to Britain”, we left the house on foot and headed for the station. Luckily the train was quiet so there was plenty of room to stash our bulging rucksacks. We had packed plenty of warm clothes, winter sleeping bags, a stove, food and enough water for two days. We got off at the last station – one whose name does not scream adventure.
We left the station and headed to the River Cam. We had a lovely walk along the towpath watching narrowboats glide by. The path was flat and easy going but with our well-packed rucksacks we were quite glad of the lack of gradient. The navigation was simple but because we had never been there before we still felt a sense of exploration.
So far so normal. It was our final destination that had brought head shakes of disbelief from friends and family. We were headed to what the National Trust call Wicken Fen Back to Basics campsite. There are four open fronted shelters, a compost toilet and that’s it. There’s no running water, no electricity, no-one to welcome you in and no other campers – if you go there you have to book exclusive use. We carefully selected our shelter, based on the wind direction, and started to set up camp. It was great to have the place all to ourselves, no-one to disturb us or be disturbed by us. We saw deer on the walk in and the site was filled with large holes which looked like they belonged to badgers.
The wooden platforms inside the huts were flat and dry so we had no problems laying out our beds and cooking dinner on our stove. Being nearly the end of December it got dark pretty early but we were warm and cosy in our sleeping bags. There was a full moon and it never got completely dark so it was nice to be able to lie in bed and look outside. We felt as though we were out in the wilds – the campsite is not even marked on Ordnance Survey maps – and with the addition of winter it felt like a proper adventure.
If you would like to have your own unlikely adventure then we recommend checking out any of Jen and Sim Benson’s books or Alastair Humphreys’s Microadventures. There are lots of ideas to start you thinking and then you’ll need the internet and plenty of Ordnance Survey maps to fine tune the plan. Have fun!