9 outdoor adventures for slightly lazy people

1. The one with a meal at the end of it: Foraging 

Forage practically from your front door|Photo Daisy Daisy / fotolia.com

Forage practically from your front door|Photo Daisy Daisy / fotolia.com

The great thing about foraging is you can more or less do it wherever you are, searching for local, seasonal ingredients: ransom and elderflower in spring, hedgerow goodies and samphire in summer, forest fungi in autumn.

There’s nothing quite as delicious as food you’ve picked and cooked yourself. But before you start filling your basket with edible goodies, get some foraging know-how from a local course.

There are more and more springing up all around the UK, but we like the sound of Jack Raven’s Wild Food and Woodland Cookery course, which uses themes such as curry night to cook up foraged feasts. Wild weed sag aloo, anyone?

2. The one where the wind does the hard work: Blokarting 

Minimum effort, maximum thrills|Photo Blokart World

Minimum effort, maximum thrills|Photo Blokart World

This is what happens when dinghy sailing and kite bugging have a very high-speed, exciting, but just about controllable child.

Harness the wind and travel at speeds of 40km an hour along the wide, firm beaches of Northern Ireland, including blue flag winning spots like Benone Beach in County Derry.

Lessons and equipment hire are available from blokartworld.com.

3. The one where you can go as fast (or as slow) as you like: Orienteering

Orienteering john through bridge dannyburrows

Running strictly optional|Photo Danny Burrows / Sealskinz


Deep in Snowdonia National Park is Coed y Brenin forest, best known for its network of red- and black-graded mountain bike trails. But, as we discovered last summer, the thick woodlands also make it an ideal spot for honing your orienteering skills, with two courses hidden among the forest.

You could do it properly and run it, but we opted for a more leisurely pace, concentrating on our navigation skills and taking in the rugged Welsh landscape as we went. Our inner compass was both impressed and improved.

4. The one with a top speed of 4mph: Narrow Boating 

Slowly does it |Photo VisitBritain / Adrian Houston

Slowly does it |Photo VisitBritain / Adrian Houston

This is the exact opposite of heart-pumping. In fact, it’s probably the slowest moving activity on this website.

At a top speed of 4mph, canal boats can just about chug along at walking pace, but more often than not they travel even slower.

But it’s for this reason they make the list; travelling the Shropshire Union canal at narrow boat pace gives you a chance to take in the landscape as it (slowly) unfolds, and look out for the wildlife, such as kingfishers and herons, that abound on its embankment.

5.  The one that costs nothing to get started: Letterboxing 

Add some treasure hunting to your sunday stroll

Add some treasure hunting to your sunday stroll

Geocaching has taken the world by storm, but we’re all for doing it the old fashioned way at
OAG towers, so the Victorian art of letterboxing is our treasure-hunting tipple of choice.

Head to Dartmoor, the home of letterboxing, where the first “letterbox”  was hidden back in 1854.  The aim is to search for waterproof boxes hidden amongst the tors and wilds of the rugged Dartmoor landscape. Stamp your notepad, read the book for clues to more and begin your hunt for the next one.

There’s literally thousands of them within the boundaries of the 365 mile National Park – some are easy to find, others are hidden in the depths of the Dartmoor wilderness. It’s guaranteed to add a little adventure to your day’s hiking, and is free to do, which is more than fine by us. 

6. The one with a shower: Glamping

Sleep under canvas the luxury way

Sleep under canvas the luxury way

For a luxury-tainted outdoors holiday we’d pick Lanterns and Larks glamping site in Sweffling, surrounded by the very relaxing undulating fields of Suffolk .

It’s situated in a rural farm (complete with wandering hens and views straight out of Country File) but is within cycling distance of Suffolk’s heritage coastline where sailing, birdwatching and world-beating fish and chips await you.

A cross-country pub crawl around the local villages is a good way to spend a Saturday, and a visit to the Sweffling White Horse down the road with its billiards table, craft brews and chatty locals is about as Suffolk as it gets (you’ll know what we mean if you go there). The glampsite itself is thought out to the last detail, with comfortable beds, a wood burning stove and even a hot shower.

No, wild camping it isn’t, but you still get to hear the sound of rain hammering down on the canvas roof, and there’s no need to dash across a field in a storm to spend a penny.

7. The one where you don’t have to carry your tent: Canoe camping

Let the canoe carry the load| Photo Richard Harpham

Let the canoe carry the load| Photo Richard Harpham

Canoe camping is unbeatable. You can paddle to camping spots unreachable by road, you can carry heavy tents, stoves and food, without worrying about breaking your back, and it’s an ideal way to hone your canoe launching, landing and navigation skills.

We’ve long been fans of canoeing the River Great Ouse in Bedfordshire, with its gentle waters and leafy riverbanks, but it’s just got more tempting thanks to the launch of  a wild campsite in Marston Vale Forest, which is easily reachable by canoe, kayak or stand up paddle board. Sign us up!

8. The one where you just have to look up: Stargazing 

Kielder Observatory - home to the darkest skies in the UK |Photo Gary Fildes

Kielder Observatory – home to some of the darkest skies in the UK |Photo Gary Fildes

Kielder Forest, next to the Scottish border, holds the title as the darkest place in England. It’s also part of the Northumberland Dark Sky Park, which comprises of a total of 572 miles of streetlight-free, stargazing-friendly land.

The gem in the crown is the Kielder Observatory, which hosts stargazing events most nights, including telescope workshops, family astronomy and public observing sessions (it’s best to book in advance).

Otherwise you can rock up to a bench, lie back and gaze.

9. The one even Ray Mears can do: Bushcraft

If Ray can do it, so can you | Photo: Survival School

If Ray can do it, so can you | Photo Survival School

Bushcraft courses are cropping up all over the country – usually endorsed by slightly controversial TV personalities. But Survival School offers more genuine, skill-heavy courses.

Its two-day accredited weekend course includes cutting techniques, snare making, foraging and fire-starting, as well as game preparation and natural navigation.

You’ll also be taught how to make your own shelters, with their worthiness tested by spending a night in them. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain…