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Alastair Humphreys offers an alternative weekend, for those with a wild heart

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There are 60 precious hours between 6pm Friday and 6am Monday. Almost 30% of your week. So how do you spend your weekends?

We all struggle to balance the important stuff within the demands of modern life: family, home, work, relationships, endless tasks that seem to materialise. And meanwhile there is the nagging feeling that life is short, and our time here is limited. It’s incredibly easy to spend all of our time being ‘busy’, lost in an endless round of work and chores whilst trying to maintain our health and happiness, and be available for the people that love us. Come the weekend, it can feel like we’re either chasing the to do lists, or trying to escape from them, slumped in front of Netflix or down the pub with a pint. Nothing really wrong with that. However, when the alarm goes on Monday morning, do we wake with the feeling of a weekend well spent, or a familiar dread as the hamster wheel resumes?

When we choose to live differently, to live adventurously during those hours of relative freedom, we’ll find ourselves amply rewarded; happy, re-energised and smiling. Our compass reset, a sense of satisfaction, and the energy to nurture our family and friends.

In Mountain Bikes and Bothy Nights, Alastair Humphreys ponders his ideal weekend, where in his imagination he escapes the madness of a city week, jumping onto a sleeper train with mountain bike and pack, for a really wild escape. How much adventure can you pack into a couple of days? As it turns out, quite a lot. Within the sweeping panoramas of heather covered mountains and crashing seas, with not a soul in sight, only the lonely bothies provide refuge. Time expands, the mind slows and the heart quickens in the presence of adventure.

I like to let my mind drift away to something I really care about… complete and comfortable solitude in the wilderness.

Bothies are simple places that offer shelter and a place to sleep to people in remote and wild places. No facilities, no toilet, water or bedding are provided, but you might come across a small pile of firewood if you’re lucky. You might find you have the bothy to yourself, or you might share with strangers, who could become friends as you exchange tales of adventure around a warming fire. Many are maintained by the Mountain Bothy Association, which is run by volunteers and donations.

Bothy in the wilderness
Bothy arrival
Mountain biking through the stream
Bothy nights

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Alastair Humphreys


Alastair Humphreys

Alastair Humphreys is a British Adventurer and Author. He spent over 4 years cycling round the world, a journey of 46,000 miles through 60 countries and 5 continents. More recently Alastair has walked across southern India, rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, run six marathons through the Sahara desert, completed a crossing of Iceland, busked through Spain and participated in an expedition in the Arctic, close to the magnetic North Pole. He has trekked 1000 miles across the Empty Quarter desert and 120 miles round the M25 – one of his pioneering microadventures. He was named as one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the year for 2012.

Alastair has written 12 books and is a patron of these charities:

Youth Adventure Trust
Hope and Homes for Children
Outdoor Swimming Society
Yorkshire Dales Society
Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust

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