My Wild Night Out by Clare Henshaw

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Who are you and your group?

My name is Clare and the group of nine ladies we’re all part of The Adventure Queens - an adventure group established for women by Anna McNuff and Emma Frampton. Some of us knew each other already but some didn't and for three people it was there first time to bivvy.

 What did you do and why did you decide to do that?

Last year, Emma Frampton was generous enough to take us to the same place to bivvy. At this point I hadn't really bivvied and it was such a great experience with a small group of women to do this and develop my confidence. So when I saw WNO advertised for this year, I wanted to repay her generosity and I thought I would arrange one. Having never led a camp out like this, I thought I would return to where I was taken for my confidence sake, but also an acknowledgement to Emma last year and the ladies that supported me. I was also keen for people who had never bivvied to give it a go amongst a supportive group.

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Where did you go?

We climbed Coombe Hill in The Chilterns, shared dinner and adventure stories before finding a spot to bivvy for the night. Some of us went for a walk in the area the next day, as one of the girls, Kelly Stevens is walking 10 miles in every county in the country and we got to support her and tick off Buckinghamshire!

What went right?

The location had a starting point near a station and also included free parking for those driving. As one queen commented, it was close to public transport but still felt 'wild'. I made a mini photo video in preparation for the girls which they greatly appreciated.

For me it was doing a reccy beforehand, so I was confident and could bring that to the group, also sending a kit list of helpful items. Bringing together a like minded group of people from the beginning created an environment for people to be comfortable, to share ideas, feel comfortable to ask questions and just laugh a lot together. Also being able to watch the sun rise over miles of countryside in the peace and tranquillity. One of the girls saw her first badger only five feet away from her just before dawn.

What went wrong (if anything)?

I had chosen a place that thought would be good to bivvy. On the night, another area was put to the vote and won, but that was on a slight slope! This ended up not being the best choice as people rolled, toes were gripping bedding and generally not the best nights sleep! Hey ho, live and learn..

Any memorable moments?

The sound of gun shots, or was it a cannon in he early hours? One woman was googling gunshots in Wendover in the early hours. Was it poachers, was it from the local army barracks, we will never know! Certainly made the heart pump for all of us except one who slept through it!!

Also, one queen decided it would be fun to make a slide down our sleeping slope out of our sleeping mats, this was rather entertaining. Finally a gentleman called David who was out walking and came to chat to us. He was so proud and impressed with what we were doing...he started to walk off and then came back and asked for a photo with us to send to his grown up daughters as he didn't think they would believe him when they told him!

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