It was 10:30pm on a Thursday night. I had had a fairly normal day, been to work, come home, spent the evening chatting with my wife and watching TV. I walked out of my front door under a sky full of stars, the moon shining brightly and I turned right. I walked for a few hundred meters along the road with the occasional car passing by until after a minute or two I found the entrance to a footpath I was looking for. Although it was dark the moon and the stars provided enough light for me to make my way along it, passing a few houses and crossing the railway until I arrived in a field. This was to be my home for the next eight hours.
September had been a busy month having moved to a new city and settling into new friendships and a new job. I had a great time exploring the roads near my house by bike and walking in the Malvern Hills when time allowed. One thing I was keen to do however was to try and keep Septembers Microadventure as close to home as possible. I had not been able to do this living in Dublin due to my inner city location and safety concerns had always led me to travel further afield for my nights away. This time it was different. I had spent a few hours the week before looking at maps and trying to scout out local woodland. The evening before I had stopped off at a small patch of woodland I had seen on the map and cycled past on previous occasions. In theory it looked like it should be good but when I arrived I found the footpath to be overlooked by a farm and a few houses and the woodland itself was too dense and overgrown to be of any use to me.
Having run several thoughts through my mind for the past twenty four hours I had created and dismissed a number of ideas. They ranged from trying to arrive late and use the woods I had found the previous evening to sleeping in my own back garden. After reflection I decided the woods were a non-starter and felt a little silly at the idea of sleeping in my garden as it is overlooked by neighboring houses. The idea to simply walk from my own front door appealed the most, so in the end I did.
When I arrived at the end of my moonlit footpath I was expecting to see a field about waist deep in corn. This is what I had seen previously when walking there. However it had been a few weeks since my last visit, during this time it was clearly harvest season as the field was now bare and plowed ready for its next season of growth. In reality this didn’t make much difference as it was dark and I was leaving early. I walked around to the far side of the field and found a nice grassed area just off of the footpath. I continued my circle of the field but soon returned to my first location knowing it was my best option for the night.
There was a element of contrast to this particular field that I enjoyed and had led to me choosing this particular field. Along one side runs the M5 motorway and another a the railway that would be carrying commuters to work the next morning. However in my particular spot I was away from both of these. Shielded from the lights and noise of the motorway by a small cluster of trees. Looking towards the lights of Malvern in the distance, still able to clearly see the silhouettes of the Malvern Hills in the moonlightI laid out my bed for the night and pulled out a flask of mint tea as I sat and enjoyed the moonlight. It was quiet and peaceful. No more than five minutes walk from my front door and no one knew I was there. It was a surprisingly mild night given the clear sky and I enjoyed lying in my bivi watching the stars as I dropped off to sleep. I stirred a few times in the night and again saw the stars and the hills in the moonlight.
Before I knew it my alarm was sounding from within my rucksack, gently waking me. It was still dark as I got out of my Bivi and started to clear away my bed. I packed my bag and enjoyed walking back around the field to rejoin the footpath. As I began my short walk home I stopped and looked at the motorway and railway, reflecting upon the number of people who would be traveling along them that day. As I walked back along the road the early morning sounds of birds singing and the world beginning to stir could be heard in the distance. By 7am I was back in my kitchen making a cup of tea, happy that I had achieved another night out and looking forward to the day ahead.