Long summer evenings were made for adventures. Forget all about your busy working day and savour the remaining hours of balmy sunshine by ticking off some of my favourite easy and local summer evening adventures – I promise you you’ll start to see week days in a whole new light.
10 summer adventures
1. KAYAK DOWN A RIVER
Beg, borrow or rent a few kayaks, sling them on your roof rack and head to your nearest river. You see so much more when you’re level with the water, and slicing through the water watching out for kingfishers and butterflies as the sun sets through the reed beds will take all your work worries away.
2. CYCLE TO THE WATER
One of the best things about little old Britain is how close most of us are to the coast, a river or a wild lake, and two wheels has got to be the nicest way to go on a jolly to the beach or your favourite swimming hole. Pack your swimsuit and plan a route on green lanes and B-roads with Sustrans’ handy map.
3. GO FOR A POST-WORK SURF
If you’re a drive away from a surf-able beach, there’s nothing better than checking the wave forecast in your lunch break and then heading for the coast with your board at the end of the working day. Cooler evening weather is perfect for a chilled-out surfing session, and you might even get your spot to yourself in time for sunset.
4. SLEEP IN A HAMMOCK
A camping hammock is a seriously fun way to kip under the stars. Plus, you less bugs crawling on your face than in a bivvy bag. There’s something very romantic about slinging up your bed between two handy trees for the night – go wild in the woods, pick a campsite with plentiful trees, or just sling your hammock up in your garden for the night.
5. GO FOR A WILD DIP
Find your nearest river or lake and take the plunge. If you’re not sure where is safe to paddle, wildswimming.co.uk has a list of tried-and-tested favourites, and these magical places are my favourite wild swim spots in Britain. I love to cycle to the river after work and jump off a jetty, followed by a laze in the sun with a beer or two. Take a wetsuit if you want to swim properly, as wild water is still pretty chilly in early summer.
6. GO FORAGING FOR YOUR SUPPER
You don’t need to venture far to find edible delights – even a local park will have nettles for soup and elderflower blooms for cordial growing. Or head to the coast to find seaweed and other goodies – my new-found favourite is pepper dulse, which tastes like truffle oil. Then you can take your bounty home and get creative making supper with it.
7. GO CLIMBING
Fit in a post-work clamber whenever you can – climbing is a great way to unwind after a hectic day, especially because it immerses you in beautiful rocky places. If tall cliffs give you the willies, fear not, you can boulder your heart out instead – I love Dartmoor for beginner-friendly routes, and you can even wild camp on the moor afterwards.
8. GO TRAIL RUNNING
Whenever I’ve had a hard day I lace up my trainers and go for a jog along the trails of my nearest wood. I love listening to all the little sounds of the forest and finding secret paths amongst the trees. It’s a damn sight more exciting than a treadmill, that’s for sure. If you’ve got a smartphone I recommend deliberately getting lost and finding a new route back – a great way to explore local wild places.
9. HAVE A CAMPFIRE FEAST
Cook a slap-up bonfire dinner feast for you and your mates – you could even do this in your garden if you don’t want to wander too far. Make my campfire favourites – sticky stew and bread-on-a-stick, and follow with all-American s’mores. This is the perfect way to combine the great outdoors and a hearty dinner.
10. WATCH THE SUN RISE
Okay, so it’s technically a morning adventure, but watching the warm yellow light of another day spill over the horizon is a dead cert for making you feel cheerful. It’s always associated with happy times with friends in my head, perhaps because I’m usually still awake at dawn at festivals. Take sleeping bags, some friendly faces and a thermos of coffee to a remote spot and listen to the world come alive around you.