Adventures and the outdoors don’t always need to wait until your annual leave comes around. With a little bit of imagination, it’s easy to squeeze in a taste of adventure to weekday evenings and weekends, even if you only have a couple hours to spare.

I love adventure, especially small bursts of spontaneous adventure, it helps clear my mind and refresh my soul. Here are five of my favourite micro-adventures which will liven up your week and hopefully help inspire you to have more fun outdoors.

A night out under the stars

A super easy one that is best done with a friend or two. All you need is a sleeping bag, a mat and some cosy clothes. It is also probably wise to check the weather report and do it when there is a strong chance of a dry and clear night. To make it a bit more of an adventure, bring some marshmallows to toast over a fire (but make sure to use a fire pit or firebox to protect the grass), a pack of playing cards and share a dram of your favourite whisky with your friends. For those of us living in Edinburgh we are lucky enough to have the Pentlands and Blackford Hill right on our doorstep and these are ideal places for a night out under the stars.

Dinner with the sunset or breakfast with the sunrise

Mix up your routine a bit by eating your breakfast or dinner outside, even if it is a work day. This is great fun with family and friends but also just as nice on your own. You can make it super simple by prepping your meal at home and simply taking it with you to a good view point and eat it while watching the sun do its thing. Or if you have more time you could make your meal outside, or why not try foraging for some wild ingredients to take your meal that little bit closer to nature - only do this if you are confident in what you are picking though. For those of you brave enough to brave it, two of my favourites are Wood Sorrel (the leaves taste like the peel of Granny Smith Apples) and Sweet cicely (crushed it smells and tastes like aniseed, especially good with Rhubarb).

Sleep on a beach

Another simple one if you live near a beach, and the perfect location for dinner outside as well. Make a fire to keep you warm and cook dinner and breakfast with. Sweet potatoes are super easy to cook on a camp fire – just wrap them in tinfoil and chuck them on. Take some games, a guitar and some friends and hang out around the fire until the sun goes down and then go to sleep with a super happy, chilled mind. Being right next to the beach means it’s super easy to wash in the morning – all you need to do is go for a refreshing (and freezing if you live in Scotland) dip in the sea and you are ready for the day ahead.

Get up early and hike a (small) hill and reach the top in time to see the sunrise in all its glory

This one is maybe best saved for when you don’t have work the next day as it requires a very early start. I did this recently near Loch Lomond with a friend and it was an amazing experience. Armed with a tent, sleeping bags, some beers, food and fire lighting tools we jumped in my car and headed for Sallochy Campsite. There are camping restrictions in place around Loch Lomond from March – October so no wild camping is allowed during that time. Sallochy is a fairly new site and is as close to wild camping as you can get at a site. We had a spot right on the loch and enjoyed a beautiful view with our dinner and beers. Our alarms went off at 4am and we sleepily packed up our gear, put our walking boots on and headed for the top of nearby Conic Hill. It was a peaceful walk and we didn’t even need our head torches for the start of it because the sun was already slowly on its way up. After about 45 minutes we were at the top. In front of us was a powerful orangey red sky with the sun rising in the middle, behind us a clear pale blue sky was joined by mellow pinky hues. We sat up there for a bit and just enjoyed watching the colourful changes happening all around us. 

Wild swimming in a nearby loch

This is a fun one. Find a nearby loch or river and go for the plunge and you will instantly feel rejuvenated. My favourite time to do this is after a sweaty hike up a hill! The best way to cool down and cleanse the soul.

So, grab a map, and friends or family if you wish, and find out where your nearest hill, loch, river, forest or beach is and go. Try to get there with a mode of transport you don’t usually use like cycling, skate boarding or even skipping.