A family's double micro-adventure

A family's double micro-adventure

Surf and Turf - One Family's Double Micro Adventure

Posted by Karl Wait.
First Published Jul 2013; updated May 2023.

Read about this family's double micro-adventure: wild camping followed by sea kayaking (with some coasteering, too!). Micro-adventures are great!

This guest contribution comes from Karl Wait. If you can't manage a big adventure, try a micro-adventure...

A family's double micro-adventure

After a week of blue skies and high temperatures, the weather forecast for the weekend was to be a little less blue and more grey, but our plans were not going to be put off by the return of the wonderful British summer-type weather.  We had plans, BIG FAMILY ADVENTURE plans.

Micro Adventure 1: Wild Camping

Walking to St. Cuthburt's Cave

Walking to St. Cuthburt's Cave

For those of you that have never heard of Micro Adventures, they are simply an adventure that is close to home, cheap, simple, short, and yet very effective, usually involving a night out.

Wild Camping was something as a family we had talked about often during our campsite tent trips, but without toilets and running water, it was a case of the unknown. OK, with a one night camp, you can go without the usual shower or bath, but toilet needs? And water? That may be a problem.

without toilets and running water

To keep it simple for the first time, it was decided to stay local (around 10 miles away) and to choose a site with natural shelter if we needed it.

Scambling up the slope

Scambling up the slope

St Cuthberts Cave is a local spot on a walking trail of the same name which starts at Melrose in the Scottish Borders and winds its way over the border and through fields, valleys and Hills to the beautiful island of Lindisfarne (Holy Island).

Maybe at this point, we should introduce ourselves… Daisy is my seven-year-old daughter, who loves climbing, forests and walking. Cindy my wife, who loves shopping, shopping and shopping. And, Dad (Me), who loves doing all of those things with both those people.

we each packed our rucksacks with as little as we would need

With a location picked, we each packed our rucksacks with as little as we would need to see us through until the next morning. Oh, I nearly forgot to introduce you to another member of the team, Star, AKA Daisy’s toy rabbit, who comes on adventures with us all the time and has also got a rucksack which I managed to pack also. (Spare batteries for the head torch).

St. Cuthburt's Cave

St. Cuthburt's Cave

We arrived at the site, and immediately set up camp, which involved a lightweight one-man tent and three sleeping bags laid out in the cave's wide mouth. The idea being that Cindy slept in the tent, whilst Daisy and I slept in the open air with only Inflatable sleeping mats between us and the earth.

We did suffer somewhat with some uninvited guests in the form of midges who seemed to be intent on trying to spoil our little adventure, but careful planning had meant that I had remembered the midge nets and spay, which seemed to help a lot.

Daisy and I slept in the open air

The darkness arrived, as did tired eyes, so as we climbed into our sleeping bags and moved into positions that would allow us to see morning breaking across hills and moorland for 20-30 miles. We said our goodnights and drifted off to sleep to the sounds of owls and scary rustling noises coming from the undergrowth.

Wild Camping at St. Cuthburts

Wild Camping at St. Cuthburts

I think my eyes were the first to open the next morning, and after gazing across the misty lands which stretched out in front of us, I turned to Daisy, who was still fast asleep.  Hopes and aspirations of many more moments like this filled my mind, and with a big smile, I lay my head back down on the earth, which was my pillow, and contentment filled the cool morning air.

another adventure in the form of sea kayaking

No time to waste though. Another adventure in the form of sea kayaking was about to start in a couple of hours! So after coffee for us and a hot chocolate for Daisy, we packed our rucksacks, made sure the site was clean and tidy and headed back home for a very quick turnaround.

Micro Adventure 2: Sea Kayaking (with Coasteering!)

Using Sevylor Hudson at St. Abbs Head

Using Sevylor Hudson at St. Abbs Head

Sleeping bags dropped on the floor, and wetsuits and kayaks loaded up! We were off to the coast, St Abbs Head near Coldingham in the Scottish Borders to be exact.

We were joined by some friends and their young family for some coastal fun in the form of sea cave exploring, kayaking and Swimming.

Paddling Coves

With six people, and two Sevylor Hudson inflatable Kayaks we headed down to a little known spot called Pettico Wick, an old pier which juts out from a small cove set into some monumental cliff formations.

With lots of caves, nooks and crannies to explore, we started to paddle down the coast. It wasn’t long before we encountered hundreds of Jellyfish and whitebait fish. The water visibility was excellent due to the calm waters we had in the days previous, at a guess I would say up to 15-20 metres.

lots of caves, nooks and crannies to explore

Exploring caves

Paddling in and out of secret coves and inlets, we eventually came to rest at the site of a large cave entrance which would be impossible to access without a boat or kayak.

We landed the kayaks on some rocks, put helmets and head torches on and slowly made our way inside the cavern. It was tricky going, but eventually we found the end of the cave, thinking we could see daylight we became excited, but on closer inspection we realised it was just silvery specks of minerals deposits on the walls and not shafts of daylight.

it was time for some coasteering

We clambered back approximately one hundred metres out the cave, and decided it was time for some Coasteering.  One by one all of us taking turns to jump feet first into the cold North Sea below, some from higher up, and the younger ones from a less frightening height.

Paddling the Sevylor Hudson back to the pier

Paddling the Sevylor Hudson back to the pier

As the tide was rising, the kayaks that we had landed high and dry on the rocks early were now about to float, so we headed back and climbed on board to paddle back to the stone pier which was our entry point.

It wasn’t long after returning to shore that the adventurous weekend started to tell in the form of yawns and groans from both kids and adults. But what a weekend! A few minutes in the car and we were already planning the next weekend.

One thing is for sure, I would say it’s pretty unlikely you can buy an X-Box, or PlayStation game that gives as much fun and pleasure as we had that weekend!

it’s pretty unlikely you can buy an X-Box, or PlayStation game that gives as much fun and pleasure as we had