Award-winning expert’s guide to planning a microadventure

Alastair Humphreys at Buxton's Pavilion Arts Centre on January 21
Alastair Humphreys at Buxton's Pavilion Arts Centre on January 21
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National Geographic Adventurer of the year Alastair Humphreys has cycled around

the globe, rowed across the Atlantic and walked across the largest sand desert in the

world.

He is an ambassador for microadventures and insists they are open to all and the UK is a great place to go on one.

Here he gives an insight into what to expect from his talk in Buxton on January 21:

Q. What is a microadventure?

A. A microadventure is an adventure that is close to home, cheap, simple, short, and yet very effective. It’s a weekend away or even a midweek escape from the office. In my mind, a microadventure definitely involves sleeping out somewhere overnight.

Q. Where did the idea come from?

A. I grew up reading books about people doing great expeditions around the world and I had it in my head that adventure equalled somewhere far, far away from Britain. It was a real conscious effort to start discovering my own country.
Q. What are your best microadventure memories?

A. When I walked a lap of the M25, which is a really stupid trip to do, but one that I was quite curious about. This summer, I went to Durdle Door in Dorset, standup paddle boarding through the beautiful arch. I took a few people I didn’t know, office workers in Milton Keynes, and we cycled away from their offices and slept in a field by a canal.
Q. Why can the idea of having an adventure be so daunting?
A. I think because it’s new and unknown and different and it’s like your first day at school when you’re five years old. Microadventures are about trying to make it so small that people actually do it. Even sleeping in the garden for adults is great. It’s something we loved doing as kids but neglect to try again as an adult.
Q. What about the illegality of wild camping? The fear of being attacked? And needing the loo?

A. Go to the loo before you set off. On danger: go with a few friends so you can laugh about your fear of the dark. And finally, if you’re in a bivvy bag far from anywhere and you leave absolutely no trace, arrive late and leave early, almost certainly no one will see you. If they do, just smile, they’ll probably just think you’re bonkers.
Q. What’s the worst that’s happened to you?

A. I forgot my beer opener!
Q. What would you recommend taking with you?

A. Microadventures can start off incredibly cheap. All you need is a foam sleeping mat, one of those orange survival bags and a sleeping bag.
Q. What’s your advice for families?

A. Kids will absolutely love a microadventure. Of course, you need to make sure they’re toasty warm, they feel safe and you’ve got some midnight snack treats.

l Alastair Humphreys will give a talk with Dean Dunbar at Pavilion Arts Centre on Thursday, January 21. Tickets £17.50. To book, call 01298 72190 or visit www. buxtonoperahouse.org.uk