Some have a romantic idea of sleeping out on the beach, or it’s associated with crazy parties that go on long in to the night. My latest microadventure saw me and some old friends chatting on a sand dune sipping cider before snuggling up to the sound of the ocean waves.
A short drive out of Cardiff brought us to Merthyr Mawr where we parked up and got everything out of the car. We trekked through the sand dunes, without any real idea of which way to go because it was already dark. I’d been to these dunes a long time ago during daylight and knew it was roughly a 20 minute walk but in the dark it’s easy to lose track of time. We just followed the sound of the waves, and navigated around the fences and big sand dunes.
Finally we saw the waves slapping the beach so we cracked open some bottles of cider and chatted for a while. In my previous adventures there was a huge excitement about doing it with new people but there’s something lovely and cosy about sitting on a beach with good friends, much more familiar and relaxing. Exactly what I needed before I left the country for 8 months.
We weren’t worried about other people stumbling upon us – except maybe in the morning – so we could laugh out loud and munch our midnight feast as loudly as we wanted. Midnight passed, and bottles empty, we tucked below the dune to avoid the wind and snuggled in to our beds.
It was inevitable that eventually it would rain during a microadventure, and unfortunately for my friends it was for their first one! It wasn’t until around 5am so we at least slept for some of the night. I woke up with a great big puddle in the hood of my bivvy bag, and the hoodie that was my pillow had done a great job of absorbing the water to stop it going in my sleeping bag.
With a wet pillow I snuggled in to my bag trying to sleep as best I could and thankfully managed to nod off again. It wasn’t until we all got up later that I realised I’d had it easy with the rain! My friend Rhi didn’t have a bivvy bag of any kind, so was half sharing one and had got completely soaked when the rain hit. It didn’t bother her much as she only realised just how wet she was when she was already out of bed packing up.
We enjoyed the fresh sea breeze and the daytime view of the bay before clearing everything up. Everything was damp after the rain so sand was getting everywhere, but it didn’t really matter as we’d be home soon enough. There were a few early birds running or walking their dogs on the beach and dunes, but nobody really noticed us and at most probably thought we were just a bit odd for having big bags so early in the morning.
One very disappointing thing I saw in the morning was the amount of rubbish everywhere. Lots by the beach, and patches here and there as we made our way through the dunes. We made sure to bring plastic bags for our empty bottles and crisp packets, but a lot of other people have clearly been thoughtless about their waste. A black bag each wouldn’t have been enough for the amount lying around! I always make sure to #LeaveNoTrace when I’m out on adventures, so the people after me can enjoy the landscape too.
Smiling at the fun of sleeping on the beach, I wasn’t entirely sure if all my friends had enjoyed the microadventure as much as me. Rhi had pretty much been guilt-tripped into trying it just once, so I was very surprised (after getting soaked during the night) to hear “Can’t wait till next time!” on the drive back to Cardiff. A nice evening followed by rain and not much sleep but she still wanted to go again?? A definite success then!
Back at home and everything was now covered in sand and smelling a bit damp – oh well, that’s what houses and washing machines are for! The joy of doing a “micro” adventure is that being sopping wet or cold or scared is only for a short while, and then you can go home to everything that’s so familiar, warm, cosy, and CLEAN!