This Saturday will see March’s full moon bright in the night sky. For most of us, a full moon has little significance, apart from illuminating a cloudless night quite beautifully. And as children, we thought it was made of cheese!
But for a group of enthusiastic Cumbrian adventurers, it’s the time they gather together and explore the glories of the Lake District at night, relying on the light of the full moon to guide their way. Stemming from an inability to get together with friends because of busy diaries, a monthly night time ‘howl’ became the answer. And it seems there is little they won’t attempt! They have been out adventuring on every full moon for the last eight years – except for lockdown – and have now written a funny, informative, entertaining book about it.
Their community of adventurers gets stronger every year, and they have had a whole catalogue of exploits in the Lake District; climbing, kayaking, swimming, skiing, canoeing, cycling and potholing their way until it’s time to stop, make a campfire, cook food and eat.
‘Places that are familiar in daylight offer a completely different perspective in the moonlight,’ says author and outdoor professional John McCarthy. ‘We live in a globally renowned landscape, and at night we’ve got all it to ourselves. It is truly wonderful, and we’ve had some extraordinary experiences. A book was bound to come out of it sooner or later, and lockdown was the catalyst that made me write it.’
Many of the ‘howlers’ have included pieces about their favourite nights out and the mental and physical benefits of taking part. Even the very young ones have had their say. It isn’t just a catalogue of adventures; behind it lies an inkling of what there is to be discovered.
‘Our full moon nights out are a release, an outlet, a monthly beacon in a busy life,’ says John.
The preparation that is put into these nights out means there has never had a serious incident. John, an experienced, seasoned outward bound professional, isn’t suggesting a group of inexperienced people should go rock climbing at night but does want to encourage people to go out as a group and enjoy what they’ve got on their doorsteps. He hopes the book inspires other people to form a group of friends and do precisely that. As he says, going out playing with your mates and families in the dark in pretty special!
Packed with inspiring photographs, entertaining stories, strange ideas and expert advice, this book is so much more than your essential guide to exploring at night. Follow the laughter and the learning as John McCarthy and his Lunarantic friends head out on over 80 ‘howling’ exploits in and on the Cumbrian lakes, rivers, mountains and sea. The book explores the reasons they embark on these monochrome monthly meanderings and aims to inspire you to gather your own clan to explore your local environment under the light of the moon, regardless of where you live. If you are even vaguely interested in strange goings-on in the dark, this book is aimed at you! Available now from JJMoffs and all good bookshops. CLICK HERE to buy yours.