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Wild Night Out on Holmbury Hill with Dwayne Fields

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I was able to encourage sixteen people to accompany me on Wild Night Out 2019 which was held at YHA Holmbury. The group was made up of a real mix of people ranging in age from forty all the way down to four years old, I even had three members of my 2018 Ordnance Survey Street2Peak team come along for the adventure and also brought a friend (which in my opinion is exactly what WNO is all about).

Roughly half of those who came out had never camped before which made for an interesting time, especially when setting up the tents and the hammocks.

A good friend of mine Dominic (Bushcraft and Beyond) came by to teach the group some basic bush craft (fire lighting without matches) which they loved, especially when 'Smores' were thrown into the equation. We were also treated to some curious Badgers making an appearance as it got dark.

My plan was originally to head off for a night hike along a path that I know, to allow the group to see what the sky/stars looked like without the ambient lights of the city drowning them out. However, after a long hot day we decided as a group that we would substitute this plan for an early rise instead. Our mission was to see an uninterrupted view of a sunrise from Holmbury Hill which involved a 4am, 2km trek through the beautiful Hurtwood Forest.

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As you can imagine, not all of the group managed to get up, but those who did were taken back by the sight of the of sun creeping up into view to the East. There were many memorable moments for me, watching the group smile collectively at 04:45 in the morning (a time they wouldn't normally be up, let alone walking through a forest), sharing an amazing sunrise with people who'd never seen one before, or hearing whispers of 'what's that, is that what they look like?' when a badger showed itself, but for me the crowning moment of Wild Night Out 2019 was watching a seven year old kid’s face light up as he managed to make a spark from flint which in turn created an ember on some charcloth and eventually caught fire to some tinder; This for me is what the outdoors is all about, learning and practising skills in a safe environment.

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