Spotlight - equipment views and reviews from the AK team
The Longest Day
By Kenny Stocker | 01, Jun, 2011
Grab your rucksack, bike, kayak or whatever gives you your thrills and do something adventurous on the longest day of the year.
As we approach midsummer it is important that we don’t get complacent and to remember that the days are only going to get shorter and colder. With its long hours of daylight, June is a great time to get out after work and cram as much into an evening session as you would into an entire day, and still be back at your desk the following morning.
Last year the longest day fell on a Saturday and we made full use of the hours at the Mountain Mayhem 24hr mountain bike race. This year it falls on a Tuesday, but don’t worry too much about that, the length of a day only varies by about 2 minutes through the month so there is still plenty of daylight either side of the big one.
So what to do and where to go? For a start you need to be disciplined, have your stuff ready to go. You want to be out of the door pronto, so don’t get drawn into any last minute meetings or idle banter. At just an hours drive and with a wealth of opportunities, the Peak District is the obvious evening destination for us, however that is still 2 hours sat in a car so we shouldn’t discount opportunities closer to home.. all that is needed is to look at the OS map with a fresh pair of eyes.
That stalwart of all things adventurous, Al Humphreys, is on a year of British Micro Adventures to discover new experiences in his own country. We felt this tied in really nicely with our theme and making the most of the longest days. So for starters and to hopefully spark the imagination, why not stretch the evenings by Sleeping on a Hill....
As Al himself says, "In a boring, pragmatic world I appreciate that not everyone can muster the time or the money to go on a massive, whoopeedoo expedition. But everyone, everyone, EVERYONE can manage a microadventure........"
Some random ideas that have been floating around the office have included:
Kenny is wondering if he can start from AKGHQ and work through as many places in alphabetical sequence as he can, keeping to bridleway where possible. It could be a great way to visit places he would never otherwise go to, but may have to be a little creative with some of the less common letters.
Pete suggested paddling to the sea, but then looked at a map and then looked at his short playboat and decided it was a bad idea. More realistic perhaps is the idea of a canoe-bivvy trip. How far can we get? perhaps a more important question is can we get a decent sized BBQ in the canoe?
Col is wondering if he can call in on all members of staff for a cuppa (or maybe a cool beer) on his way home from work, by bike of course.
Of course you don’t have to beast yourself, there are other senses to stimulate and Jay is going to get out and take advantage of the range of natural foods which should come into bloom over next month by collecting nettles, dandelions and burdock to make a range of recipes he found on the net, such as nettle beer, soup and tea, dandelion decaf coffee, dandelion and burdock.. as well as going on the hunt for some Fungi in the surrounding area - Shipley woods, the canal banks and the local park.
Or you could just take the family for a daring mid-week camping adventure.. and why not, just pack up your camping equipment the night before and bingo you are away. Keep the troops happy by taking along a recipe from the Guy Rope Gourmet. Drop the kids off at school the next morning on the way to work and they will be telling their mates about it all day.
And how about the team? Rob Gibson claims he has to fix up his Landy, however we are pretty sure he is going to drop his spanners, at least for a few evenings. Shaggy claims to have a twinge in his knee, ok so that limits him to sub 24 hour rides then! Luke Tilley intends to spend the night in a hammock, or maybe walk 100 miles without stopping.. hmm, pretty sure he is not going to make it to work the next day if he opts the latter! Izzy is going to start cycling more than she normally does, since she has had a cast on her leg for the past week we are not quite sure it is fair to hold her to that.
We shall be cajoling the team to let us know what they get up to through the month and posting some Daring Deeds, but if you want to get involved feel free to share your ideas or photos over on our Facebook page. If you want to calculate your own playtime on the longest day, the best little app we found is David Martins Sunrise Calculation Program.
Recommended kit for your longest day
This 20 litre rucksack, perhaps unfairly known to us as that dry bag with straps, is a true all rounder. Fully taped seams, removable back pad, side mesh pockets, elastic acsessory cord, roll-top lid, stowable rucksack straps means that it has been adopted by mountain bikers, wild swimmers, canoeists and well, pretty much everyone.
See Gourdon in the shop
The SH600 has plenty of margin for freaky cold nights over the summer, or for when you arrive exhausted after 12 hours of extreme daring deeds and the chip shop you had been dreaming about for the past 5 hours was closed!
See SkyeHigh in the shop
Lightweight, durable and a size for pretty much everything we can think you might want to carry.
See Airlok in the shop
Dependable and comfortable to help you recover before you work your way back to the grind in the morning.
See Base in the shop
Lightweight titanium cup ideal for making a brew in the wee hours before the final push to your favourite cafe for a full english.
See MytiCup in the shop