In the colder months of the year, it’s so tempting to get home, shut the curtains and curl up with a hot chocolate. There’s no reason why you can’t do this (it’s actually one of our favourite things), but getting outside first will make that transition from cold air on your face to warm toasty feet so much more worth it. All-year-round adventurer and brand ambassador, Graham Kelly, never fails to get outside and he seems to enjoy it all the more when it’s dark. In fact, he guides a series of off road night runs over the winter near Glasgow! So we asked him for his top tips to keep your motivation up for winter adventures.
It is not natural I tell you ! As every wise bear will confirm, the dark night indicates it is time to eat everything in sight and prepare the cave for a long winter of hibernation. But, that would be missing out on a bunch of fun.
But it’s dark
Thankfully battery and LED technology has made night running (and biking) so much easier in recent years. The other day I was looking back at my first “real” headtorch from the 1980s – the iconic Petzl Zoom which gave a 25 lumen beam via a weird 4.5v heavy battery and bulb with actually had a real filament (think dull orange glow). Nowadays, I have a selection of headtorches that illuminate the trails with a light output of between 350 and a dazzling 700 lumens. The rechargeable batteries mean (in theory), you shouldn’t run out of vision on most evening adventures.
But it’s cold
True, but the feeling of being on the trail on a chilly night is something special. A good merino base layer (the FINDRA range are perfect) and maybe a pertex gillet or jacket and for the active bit you are sorted. Must admit to preferring base layers with thumb loops over gloves every time – having the hands free make pretty much everything easier. Worth considering a primaloft jacket and beanie for those viewpoint stops and the big down jacket waiting at the car is a post adventure treat.
But what if I get lost
The ability to get disorientated in the dark is real. Always good to go play on some familiar trails. Even if you think you know them well in the daylight, the darkness gives a very different experience and by concentrating, you might even find little side trails that you run / bike straight past normally. If you are using a GPS watch with any level of mapping (even the breadcrumb line of route feature), you will be able to get back to your start point by retracing the line !
But isn’t it dangerous
Possibly, but probably not for the reasons that first come to mind. Most of the crazies are sitting at home watching TV rather than roaming the trails! Chances are, you’ll scare more than you meet. It is foreseeable that a toe will catch a tree root or rock and gravity will do the rest. Running with a bunch of like minded folks will not only help you get over the door (a sense of obligation / guilt / accountability are all powerful motivators 😉 ) but the shared experience is something special and in the unlikely event of anything going wrong, gives the ability to manage the situation better than if solo. That said, I love my wee sneaky night adventures on my own !
Give it a try and if you enjoy the experience (I am confident you will), do it more and don’t forget, the darkness is light enough !
Ps, don’t forget to say hello to passing badgers on the trail