Imagine this: You’ve spent days packing and unpacking, making sure you have the essentials for your 3day walk and wild camp trip in the Cairngorms. You’ve got the tent, down quilt, airbeds, cooker, waterproofs, hats, gloves. The list goes on. But you’ve got everything. Absolutely everything, including food. Oh yes. Food. You’ve packed enough variety that the 4yr old with you should be happy with your choices, because after all he’s eaten it before so why would it be any different this week?! The first day goes really well. The first night? Brilliant! You all sleep well. The first breakfast of the trip? Now that’s when all hell breaks loose and that little 4yo digs down deep and finds a whole new level of stubbornness and refuses to eat anything that you’ve bought for breakfast. Everyone’s hungry and stropping about the camp by now. You empty out your food supplies, patience running thin and tell him once again that food = good fuel in his tummy = more energy. Then you repeat it again and again. The 4yo still sits there, lip pouting and saying it isn’t the right food. Until he spots that little bag of instant noodles packed as a ‘just in case a spare meal is needed’. You rush out and cook the noodles, thinking yes! Finally, the argument is over and he’s going to eat something, anything that isn’t jellybeans. And he sits there, quietly devouring the noodles, deep in thought, slurping and guzzling away until he asks…
“What do adventurers really have for breakfast? Surely it can’t be as yucky as porridge or as quirky as noodles” he says.
And because you’re overcome with the euphoria of seeing your kid eat a decent breakfast on the trail, you sit there drained and frazzled and say “I don’t know, maybe we could ask a few and find out”. Because at this point, ANYTHING is possible. “Ok mum!” comes the reply. You talk about it a bit more on the trek, then a few months go by because life kinda happens and then that little voice pipes up again… “Sooooo, mum, what DO adventurers have for breakfast?”
Take a deep breath. Well, because we kinda promised the little guy and because of course, anything is possible, we contacted a few, asking them what their favourite breakfasts for their adventures were, as well as a few other quick questions! It didn’t feel awkward, at all…
Some of these guys are off having awesome adventures on the other side of the world yet they still took a few minutes to answer a curious boys question and let us all in on their secrets! Absolute legends they are.
Anna McNuff is an adventurer, speaker and mischief maker.
Bio: In 2013 wheeled my way, solo and unassisted, 11,000 miles through each and every state of the USA. I visited schools along the route and raised £11,000 for Global Charity Right To Play. For 2015 I switched to a simpler mode of transport and spent 5 and 1/2 months running 1,911 miles along New Zealand’s Te Araroa trail… I’m now on a mission to give a little of that back. To help children gain access to the same sporting opportunities that I had as a youngster, and to use adventure as a platform to inspire and enable kids to get outside, and get exploring. Much closer to home, I have also: Spent a month cycling across Europe, directed entirely by social media. Attempted to Rollerblade 100 miles around Amsterdam. Run the length of Hadrian’s wall dressed as a Roman Soldier. Run the length of the Jurassic Coast, dressed as a dinosaur. Spent 25 consecutive weeks sleeping wild on hilltops around London. Explored Wales on a Giant Scooter.
What is your favourite breakfast when you know you’re having an epic adventure day? If I’m being sensible and I have been allowed to raid a well stocked shop, I would choose some instant porridge (it has to be instant… the flakes are smaller and it slips down easier…) with some nuts in there (just a few… too many nuts is overkill), some raisins and four BIG chunks of dark chocolate which melt in as I stir the porridge and usually turn the sides of my mouth all chocolatey. Out here in Bolivia we haven’t had much access to all that stuff sadly… so we have settled for oat cookies with raisins in them, crumbled up into a big cup of runny strawberry or peach yoghurt. YUMMY.
What was your favourite adventure and who did you share it with? My favourite adventure was when I tried to rollerblade 100 miles around Amsterdam, dressed in 80’s clothing, with my friend Jo. It was a complete disaster… Jo broke her hand, we slept in fields and bushes along the way and had to walk a lot of it (because we couldn’t really rollerblade – even before she broke her hand), but I am so glad we got out there and tried it! we are now great friends because of that trip. There’s a little video here: https://vimeo.com/112233104
Joke: What’s the fastest cake in the west?….. S’cone!
Cameron McNeish is an award-winning writer and television presenter.
Bio: Cameron’s fields of interest include mountaineering, hill-walking, backpacking, cycle touring, mountain biking and Scots and Irish traditional music. He is also an avid campervan man!
What is your favourite breakfast when you know you’re having an epic adventure day? Breakfast is a notoriously difficult meal when backpacking – I usually stick with something oaty, usually porridge or oatcakes and cheese. If I’m heading out from home I have a normal breakfast – that’s usually scrambled eggs or an omelette and wholemeal toast. Occasionally boiled eggs or in the summer yoghourt and fresh fruit.
What was your favourite adventure and who did you share it with? I’ve been fortunate enough to have many epic trips over the years but the ones that stick in the memory most would be the following, and not in any real order of preference; The John Muir Trail in California with my wife. (We liked the JMT so much we’ve hiked it twice). An exploratory trek to Panch Chuli in northwest India with my youngest son or a traverse of the GR20 in Corsica with my old pal Chris Townsend.
Sarah Outen MBE is a British adventurer, author and motivational speaker.
Bio: In November 2015 she completed her ‘London2London: Via the World’ challenge. The 4.5-year expedition saw her row, cycle and kayak over 20,000 miles, starting and finishing at Tower Bridge, albeit with a few diversions and changes to the original plan.
What is your favourite breakfast when you know you’re having an epic adventure day? Breakfast for me depends on where I am and how much time I have or options depending on weather- whatever works! Sometimes porridge, fruit, bread and jam or honey, cereal , yogurt, pasta or a real treat is pancakes.
What was your favourite adventure and who did you share it with? One of my favourite adventures was cycling across North America in the winter with my partner Lucy.
Leon McCarron is a Northern Irish adventurer, filmmaker, writer and motivational speaker.
Bio: Leon is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, an advisor to the Ted Simon Foundation, and he specialises in long distance, human-powered expeditions. He rode a bicycle 14,000 miles from New York to Hong Kong, documented in a television show which is currently airing in over 60 countries worldwide. At the end of 2012, trekked 1000 miles through the Empty Quarter desert in Oman, following in the footsteps of the late British explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger. A feature length film entitled ‘Into The Empty Quarter’ was premiered at the Royal Geographical Society in London in Autumn 2013. His most recent journeys include following the longest river in Iran from source to sea (documented in ‘Karun’), travelling across Argentina on horseback to investigate the imminent demise of the last free-flowing glacial river in Patagonia, and walking 1000 miles through the heart of the Middle East, showing a different side to a misunderstood region – www.walkthemasar.com
What is your favourite breakfast when you know you’re having an epic adventure day? My breakfast depends on where I am. If I can possible manage it, my favourite breakfast is cereal and coffee. I put honey on the cereal for energy! On my most recent trip in the Middle East I’d buy some local pastries from a bakery and eat as many as I could. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, so I make sure to never miss it!
Karen Darke is currently a full-time athlete with the British Para-Cycling Team, currently in Patagonia having an adventure!
Bio: Luckily I’ve got an adventurous gene, as life in a wheelchair is full of the unexpected. I was a keen runner, climber and all round outdoor addict, but fell off a cliff and became paralysed from the chest down. With friends, creativity and perseverance most things are still possible, and thanks to those ingredients I have a pretty extraordinary life. Includes climbing Mont Blanc and Matterhorn, handbike the length of Japan, sit-ski across Greenland, climbs El Capitan, London 2012 paralympic silver medallist, world paratriathlon champion, handbike across Cuba.
What is your favourite breakfast when you know you’re having an epic adventure day? Breakfast- always porridge if possible. With milk, raisins, honey if available or anything else like chocolate or jam if not! If not porridge then usually default to eggs as often available.
What was your favourite adventure and who did you share it with? Favourite adventure for fun was sea kayaking around Corsica. Great friends, great laughs and fun, high adventure….
Ash Bhardwaj I am a journalist, travel writer and film-maker with a love of unusual places and stories.
Bio: He has travelled with Levison Wood for 700 miles, as part of his Walking the Nile expedition, filming in Uganda and the Sahara. He has also filmed part of Wood’s Walking the Himalayas series that aired on C4 recently.
What is your favourite breakfast when you know you’re having an epic adventure day? Whatever I can find wherever I am! In India, that was curry and rotis. In Honduras is was refried beans, avocado and scrambled eggs. I actually prefer to start with a coffee and maybe a piece of fruit, then walk for an hour or two, and then have breakfast – always good to get going when it’s not too hot, and get a few miles under your belt. When I’m with the Army, breakfast is whatever I get in the ration pack – which goes from sausages and baked beans (yum!) to muesli (less appealing).
What was your favourite adventure and who did you share it with? Going to India with my sister to take my dad’s ashes back. We’d never travelled just the two of us, and we had a great time on what could have just been a really sad trip. We went to Haridwar to do the ceremony and learn about our heritage, then up to Rishikesh to go white water rafting on the Ganges and see all the ashrams. Then we spent a couple of days in Delhi. Crossing the Bayuda Desert in Sudan, with Lev and Will, was my favourite expedition – it was really hard, and unlike anything else I’ve ever done. It was absolutely beautiful, and great fun with two of my best mates.
Joke: What type of cheese do you use to get a bear out of a cave? Come-on-bear!
Alastair Humphreys is an adventurer, author and motivational speaker.
Bio: As well as expeditions such as cycling round the world, walking across India and rowing the Atlantic, Alastair was named as a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year for his pioneering work on the concept of microadventures, trying to encourage people to get outside, get out of their comfort zone, go somewhere they’ve never been. A microadventure is an adventure that is close to home, cheap, simple, short, and yet very effective. Alastair has written nine books about his adventures.
What is your favourite breakfast when you know you’re having an epic adventure day? On many a trip I have done I have eaten instant noodles for breakfast! Often, I’m afraid, the answer is porridge. But when I cycled round the world I loved being able to eat different breakfasts in different countries – steaming soup in icy pavement cafes in China, pancakes and syrup in America, a croissant in France, fuul (mashed beans) in the noisy streets of Sudan.
Joke: Knock knock? Who’s there? Woo. Woo Who? Don’t get excited, it’s only me!
There you have it. Straight from the horses mouths. Well, adventurers mouths. Oh you know what we mean! So next time any little adventurer you know is kicking off about not having the right breakfast, you can point them in this direction. I’m very happy pancakes, chocolate and pastries were mentioned so I’m going to see what we can rustle up for our next adventure! What about you?
All bio info and photos were taken straight from each of their websites. Click on their names to read more and give them a follow on social media to see what they’re up to!