Birthday celebrations for Never Stop London took us out of the city on Saturday and into the East Sussex countryside for a full day of adventure. Our base was Bowles, an outdoor adventure centre, and on the agenda was a morning of rock climbing followed by a post-picnic trail run to explore the fabulous autumnal countryside, before dinner and campfire fun to round off the evening.
While the others set about donning harnesses and helmets for a climb up the natural rock faces, I decided to take on the orienteering course laid out and explore the area. Ticking off thirty controls while getting to grips with the forest trails, I dashed around the course before finishing up to watch the team tackle the walls, shimmying up the heights and abseiling down in teams.
A picnic lunch was served in a canteen-style dining room and after warming up with cups of tea we changed into our running kit and trail shoes, ready to take on a 10k route and hoping for some muddy, leaf-filled lanes.
Jen, Jana and Lenny had planned the perfect route, with a little detour due to some unplanned deer stalking, full of hills to climb and more to coast down, winding through forest paths with soft leafy carpets underfoot. It was the perfect time of day to run – golden hour – the sun slowly setting sending trickles of auburn light through the branches of tall trees.
Warming stews and the perfect apple crumble and custard were served for dinner before we wrapped up in all our layers and headed out to embrace the cold air and huddle around a campfire. In keeping with true Guy Fawkes night traditions we lit sparklers and toasted marshmallows on sticks by the roaring fire, talking about the days achievements and new goals.
Thank you again to The North Face’s community manager Jen for organising such a wonderful day of adventure, to the instructors and staff at Bowles for looking after us and to Ben for capturing each and every moment on camera (all of these amazing shots are c/o Ben Read Photography).