Sunday, November 1, 2015

Medieval Hike & Picnic

A few weeks ago, some photos crossed my Facebook news feed of a small group doing a medieval trip into the woods for a meal. I've seen these sorts of trips from several European groups over the years, but I'd never done anything similar, nor had I ever heard of anyone I knew doing it. So, for the rest of the day, I day dreamed about it, thinking about how fun a medieval hike might be. Then, that evening, my household sister sent me a message, linking to the same pictures. She too had spent the day thinking about doing a medieval picnic in the woods. We knew at that point that it had to happen, even if it was just the two of us.

Our intrepid group, loaded up with our gear and ready to go.

Luckily, we were able to gain a few more participants, making us a group of five, which was a really great number. Not too many people to keep track of, or to start having too many mini-conversations, but enough to not feel sort of weird about what we were doing- sort of a safety in numbers idea. We asked that the participants do as close to late 14th century as their kit could do, mainly to help hone the atmosphere, and we organized a lunch.

Our walk ended up being about 6.5 miles (we got a bit turned around on the unmarked trails), and though it sprinkled just a little at one point, the weather was surprisingly accommodating, even a little warm.

The trail we had taken brought us to a beautiful wooded area, were yellow leaves carpeted the forest floor. It was a great spot to take a break. We found a log, passed the water and some salami, and we pulled out the gaming bags for a few rounds of Hazard.

Later on, as we came closer to the lake, we spotted what looked like a deer trail. We decided to follow it, and found a small beach where we could have our lunch. It was wonderfully scenic and calm, and totally private from the trail.

For lunch we had bread, hard salami and sausage, cheese, grapes, and hand pies filled with garlic chicken. We would have liked to have beer with our meal, but we made do with water so as not to break the law of the land we were visiting. We sat there for some time, eating and talking, and looking out over the lake. It was relaxing. Nothing brings people together like food, no matter what era they are living in.

After our meal, we packed back up with a much lighter load. We were happy to see that we'd made very little impact on the beach that had been our dining area. After a while, we came to a vine growing right up through the middle of the trail. After a few tugs, we decided it was probably fairly stable, and proceeded to attempt to climb it. Because, why not?

A short time later, we encountered a makeshift bridge, and what jokingly started out as a silly quarterstaff duel ended up being quite the match. Luckily, no one was seriously injured, and it was a moment in which, dressed as we were, with only our surroundings to entertain us, we caught a tiny glimpse into the way medieval people may have viewed horseplay and healthy competition among friends.

When we were all done, and back in the modern world in our mundane clothes, we knew it had been worth it, and we knew we would do it again.

So if you see those pictures of medieval groups having adventures outside of events crossing your news feed, and you like the idea and wish you could do something similar, I encourage you to bring it up with your friends. It took very little planning, and a willingness to just give it a try and roll with it, however it went.

(You may notice that I'm wearing a new hood. Next week, I'll share more about that and how I made it)


  1. How fun! I wish I had people to do that with!

  2. Wow! I am quite envious! Will have to pester my group to do the same! And thanks for the link to the German group. :)

  3. This is brilliant! I've dreamt of doing something like this for years. Maybe I'll have to get off my butt and actually do it! :-)

  4. Such 'expeditions' re really great both as a way of period accurate activity (with all the people travelling, going on pilgrimage etc. in the Middle Ages in mind) as well as a great group activity helping to integrate and get together. And they are fun too! With my group it's our tradition to do that at least once a year. In fact, we're going for a lovely all day woodland hike this Saturday :)

  5. I really love this idea! Can't wait to give it a try!