Microadventuring in Renfrewshire
In light of lockdown, everyone’s looking at familiar locales through a new lens and the world of microadventuring is one way to maximise their potential, right here in Renfrewshire.
Between the physical restrictions that emerged for nigh-on two years as a byproduct of the Covid-19 pandemic and the financial burdens that we’re all facing now due to the cost of living crisis, it’s safe to say that we’re all more liable to take solace in our immediate surroundings than ever before.
In fact, one of the few positives to be gleaned from an 18-month span of lockdowns is that suddenly, Renfrewshire’s residents were no longer taking our abundance of green spaces and plentiful scenery for granted.
What was previously overlooked now constituted a full day out and now the legacy of that period lives on in the form of microadventuring. Seen as a way to explore our unsung outdoors in a manageable way which can fit into the hectic schedules we all lead, a microadventure can be anything from a walking or cycling route to connecting park routes, horizon spotting, time limit photography and trig point bagging.
With the concept beginning to gain traction in the local area, Dylan Glynn from Paisey.is who ran a virtual marathon in 2020 in order to raise funds for The Star Project, believes that the concept can be adapted for every lifestyle and experience level. Here’s his take in microadventuring in Renfrewshire…
“It’s a way to do something that goes beyond having a little walk around the loch and to get people really exploring the local area,” he remarked, “whether they’re a resident or maybe come from further out. There’s plenty of places in Scotland that would maybe be seen as more conventionally adventure-friendly as it’s not like we have a mountain range or a coastline. But, I think we’ve got some that are very accessible to people.
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“It’s interesting, I was listening to a podcast with Alastair Humphreys, who is kind of the founder of the idea of microadventuring, and he said that they should be ‘small and achievable, for normal people with normal lives’. So, that’s the kind that we’re looking to bring to prominence in Renfrewshire.
“Humphreys’ idea of an itinerary is probably quite different from ours in that his itineraries often revolve around leaving your desk at 5pm, camping somewhere, watching the sunrise and coming back the next morning. While we’ve certainly highlighted this as an option, we know this won’t necessarily be feasible for everyone.
“So, we’ve led with the philosophy that it’s all about ‘perspective shifting’. So, rather than Humphreys idea, it’s more about making the most out of these spaces. It’s almost internal work in terms of seeing these familiar places in a different light.”
With everyone looking at the world through a more localised lens in the wake of the pandemic, Dylan believes that microadventuring is in keeping with the overarching mood of the times.
“There’s definitely a big focus on that sort of thinking and really using the places where you live to their full extent,” he detailed. “With microadventuring, we can really say to people that you don’t need to go up to the Highlands for a great day out, there’s actually plenty to do right here.
“Sure, there’s all these bucket list things, but we can provide the steps before that. So, while you’re in training for a munro, you can go for a hike in Clyde Muirshiel. It’s a hard bit of walking and it’s a big place. If you go up to Windy Hill – which stands at 316 metres high – you’re hiking up an extinct volcano.
“It’s actually among the recognised places in the UK for orienteering training as it seems wild, but it’s actually just a half-hour drive from Paisley. Plus, with its car access and public transport links, you could easily go for a night’s camping there after a 20 minute walk and spend the night under the stars.
“There’s certainly other parts of Renfrewshire that have that same quality to them, particularly the Glennifer Braes. I’m always surprised by how big it really is as there’s so many different areas. If I go to the Braes on my own, then it’s much different than if I take my three-year-old niece as it’s totally accessible for kids too.
“If you don’t even want to leave the centre of town, you’ve got Jenny’s Well Nature Reserve. On the other side of things, Erskine is actually known as one of the best places in Europe for urban orienteering… they’ve actually held international competitions there before!
“Microadventuring in Renfrewshire is ultimately open to interpretation and there’s no set itineraries” he maintains. “Obviously we’re happy to provide some ideas, but it’s all about what you can make it yourself. They can be anything purposeful in your day where you’re approaching things differently. Above all, it’s just great to see people owning the fact that Renfrewshire is an amazing place for outdoor activities!”
For more microadventuring in Renfrewshire inspiration, head to the Paisley.is website.