5 amazing places you won't believe are in Wales
Get away from the tourist hotspots and you can discover some truly amazing places in Wales - although reaching some may be a challenge.
The idea of a 'microadventure' is one that I love. If you've never heard of the concept, a microadventure is essentially an accessible adventure. One that anyone can do, one which requires little (or no) specialist equipment and can be achieved on a small budget and a tight timeframe. Because of this, microadventures have become incredibly popular with busy working people.
People like me, who work long hours, have children and other responsibilities and yet still want to get outside and have a little adventure in their lives. Due to my busy life, I've condensed this idea down further, pretty much as far as it can go! I'm lucky if I have a matter of minutes spare in a day, I nearly always have a two year old tagging along and I certainly don't have a massive budget to blow on trips and equipment.
I try to get this idea across in my blog, The Helpful Hiker. We may have a weekend or two a year when we can tackle a proper hike, but in between we make do with accessible, everyday adventures, and I don't resent it at all. In fact, I positively recommend it to everyone.
When I talk about microadventures, I mean teeny, tiny adventures, so here's a few that can be done in an hour. Some of them require a bit of planning beforehand, but they can be done on the way to work, in your lunchbreak, or in a spare hour at the weekend.
I'm not talking about picking up a beverage from your favourite high street coffee shop here. Depending on your location, why don't you head to your local park, or a nearby forest or beach and enjoy the scenery with your cuppa. I'll allow you to make your drink at home and take it in an insulated mug, but for extra adventure points, why not take a stove and brew up outdoors.
This one takes a little planning and a little forethought, but is easy to do with limited time. (And let's face it, planning adventures is a lot of fun.) You can really set your own agenda here depending on your location. Grab yourself an Ordnance Survey map and once you've defined your area then decide what you want to do and how far you want to cover.
In an urban setting, you could hunt out as many churches, bus stops, post boxes, people wearing hats, whatever you like, in an hour. If you're more rural, you could look for flowers, birds, trees or cows. You could walk (or run or cycle) as much of the perimeter as you can. It's your microadventure, your rules.
You could try OS Maps – the digital mapping application by OS, to find walking routes near you.
This is another adventure that starts with an OS map, as all the best ones do! Use an OS Explorer map and a square should equate to 4km, ideal for an hour’s stroll. All you have to do is choose your square and walk the perimeter as closely as possible. This is a great microadventure to do in an urban setting, so perfect for lunchtime strolls. If you prefer to run or cycle, why not go for two squares, either as a perimeter journey or even a figure of eight.
So you have to get up early for this one, but that means that it won't eat into your day too much. You can have an adventure and then go to work/school/back to bed as you wish! Again a bit of planning is needed to choose your spot and check the time of the sunrise, but it shouldn't take too long.
The beauty of this is you can make it your own. Go somewhere local, or head a little further away. Take a bacon butty with you, or cook up in the great outdoors. You could even try and forage or catch some breakfast if you have the skills!
There are some great apps out there for encouraging people to get outside. Geocaching is the obvious choice, but if Pokemon Go or Gruffalo hunting is more your style, then go for it. Set yourself a target to reach in 60 minutes. This is the perfect microadventure to get the whole family involved in, you can even make it competitive if that helps!
I hope this has given you a few ideas to help you get outside. Adventures don't have to include mountains or near death experiences to be worthwhile, in fact I find that the small, everyday adventures are every bit as important.
Get full OS leisure mapping for Great Britain on your desktop pc and devices, access to route planning tools and over 500,000 ready made routes from just £19.99 a year.
Lauren is a mum of one and a lover of the outdoors. She first started her blog as a way of documenting all the camping trips, walks and days out that she and her family have enjoyed.
The blog developed into an award nominated blog, with Lauren priding herself on making adventures and exploration as accessible as possible for everyone, regardless of experience or budget and regularly writing up her top tips and weekly trips.
You can find out about Lauren's adventures at http://thehelpfulhiker.com