fall-line outdoor adventure guide
kayaking / bushcraft / mountaineering / adventure racing scotland / extraordinary saturdays / the south west / cycling
a lifetime of trips
Issue 75 ÂŁ4.50 / US $12.00 / AUS $13.50 / CAN $13.50
issue 75 / 2008
OAG Cover 2008.indd 1
76 things you can do in the
UK this (and every) weekend
from llama trekking through lilo racing to hiking the highlands
britain at its wildest
meet wolves, sharks, and deer-eating birds!
forage for a bush dinner
pick a hedgerow salad, light a ďŹ re, trap your tea
all of the stuff you need... from a family camp to a bivvy in the woods
welcome to the outdoor adventure guide manifesto:
not the trip of a lifetime, but a lifetime of trips! We’re tired of feeling bad. It seems to be a choice between not caring about green issues, or caring and just finding that we feel guilty, naughty or just plain badly informed about quite a lot of stuff. Negative environmentalism is putting us right off caring. Of course, the term positive environmentalism has already been poached, and we’re just a pretty little magazine about having fun, so we’re not about to start fighting over definitions and categorisations. What we want is just plain positivity. While we’re busy feeling bad, it’s largely down to being preached at, and possibly preaching at people in return. It’s also down to not really knowing the answers, and suspecting that there are some answers no one knows yet, that half of the solutions bring more problems (making food crops into biofuel, shipping paper to China for recycling, ‘green’ nuclear power) and the problems we are struggling with are ones that are totally new to the world. One of the favourite topics of the sanctimonious is holiday time. Of course, flying makes holidays an obvious target, but it must also be down to the fact that free time is seen as luxury, extra, unnecessary – nice, but not important, and therefore the first up against the wall when we’re looking to feel bad. Well, we say bobbins to that (only we say it ruder). Free time is the most important. If we’re talking about caring about the world, having a healthier kinship with it and maybe, you know, saving it, the first step, logically, positively, should surely be ENJOYING IT.
That’s not to say there aren’t things that can be tweaked, and this magazine is all about that – tweaking. First of all, we’re very pro doorstep – we reckon that there’s a lot to do here in the UK that is even more fun because it seems like a bit of a surprise. Swimming with sharks, for example, or riding llamas. And if it’s nearby we think it should be done a lot; free time should be a hefty chunk of life, not what’s left over when everything else is done. We also know that we don’t need to have our hands held when it comes to having adventures. Lots of what is so good about travelling is seeing, experiencing and tasting new things, and we know that you can do that on your own street. So we want to make the commute into a voyage, lunch into an experience, a chat at the bus stop into a cultural experience. Well, until we’re tired and it’s raining, but intentions are still worth having. Believe it or not, we’re not exactly anti-flying. Apart from that we don’t want to be fundamentalist anything, and we fly around sometimes, we also think that the world is too amazing not to have a look at, and sometimes that means flying places. We just think that things need to be balanced. If you really really want to go, and the other options are too expensive, too longwinded, or you get train-sick, fly! Have a great time, stay as long as you can, immerse yourself in the time you have and drink it all in. If you want to offset, do, but we believe in this for a carbon economy – pay for your considered and educated carbon extravagance with sheer enjoyment, rather than paying off sins with guilty money.
Windermere, in the Lake District. Photo by David Willis
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Travelling is always going to feature high on the list of oil-eating exercises. This magazine is packed with suggested journeys across and around the UK, but there are also some longer trips – cycling in Transylvania, deserting the UK by ferry in all directions, climbing in Italy. We’ve given the overland options, but sometimes these are going to take days – from London to the Transylvania start point takes 43 hours! It’ll be a stunning 43 hours, but maybe not one you can afford, compared to three hours and ten minutes in the air.
These choices are, of course, up to you. The carbon offsetting practice has problems of its own, but is one way to get up to speed with thinking of carbon as our own responsibility. If you fancy offsetting flights, the best organisation (according to the Ethical Consumer magazine) is Atmosfair (www.atmosfair.de). Another option is to look at your overall carbon use, and decide yourself what has priority in your life. The government target is for each person to reduce their carbon footprint by 4%, and this can be done in a multitude of ways in the home (changing the darn lightbulbs to low energy will hit that 4% in one go! Why is it always the lightbulbs?). Short haul flights are worse for two reasons; firstly because there are more options so it is less defensible, and secondly because it takes considerably more power to get the plane up than to keep it going along. But in overall carbon, long haul flights are way, way thirstier, and are chucking out the emissions at a higher altitude which makes them three times more damaging than the same emissions at short haul height (think 20 tonnes per person to Australia and back, versus two to Spain and back!).
Closer to home
Your options in the UK (we hope you’re not flying to Newquay) are going by train or by car. Based on Defra figures that take into account the average number of people on a train and the average thirstiness of cars, a car with four people in it comes out the same as going by train. All of this very personal carbon maths does irritate people who feel that industry and the government ought to lead by example, not make it into a consumer conscience issue, but industry emissions are lowering, whereas individual emissions are rising. If you are interested to know, have a look at the carbon calculator at www.resurgence.org – you have to put in a lot of details about your whole life, and it tells you how you’re looking. The UK average consumption per person per year is 10 tonnes, and you may well be surprised by how low yours is already. As Mukti Mitchell, the inventor of this calculator, is keen to point out, “Even if you come out at 30 tonnes, it’s not a reason to feel guilty. You have to start where you are.” Thanks to Mukti for these figures! You can download his book on all of these issues from www.lowcarbonlifestyle.org
free time is seen as an unnecessary luxury... we say bobbins to that!
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tips from team oag Helen Milbank (wolf woman, pg46): If you happen to be hanging out with a pack of wolves, don’t lark about and run backwards or accidentally fall over – it brings out their predatory instincts!
Jo Engelkamp (sunburnt powerboater, pg52): I was in Nepal for four weeks, we knew almost nobody escapes tummy bugs, so we tried taking
grapefruitseed extract capsules, three a day, one with each meal. You can get them from www.viridian-nutrition.com Citricidal is another one, a natural anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic and anti-fungal derived from grapefruit seeds that claims to sort out everything from athletes’ foot to dandruff, plus making water safer to drink.
Josie Dew (professional peddler, pg136): A cycling cape makes a perfect instantaneous port-a-loo for those moments when no handy bush makes itself available.
Will Robson (ultralighting pastyeater, pg140): If you have no option but to pitch your shelter on sloping ground, make a dint in the earth to rest your hip in and help anchor you in place. It’s not the most flexible of sleeping positions but better than an all-nighter fighting the slippery slide.
Rachel Devlin (internet surfer, pg36): I always pack a small 2ftx2ft picnic blanket with a waterproof under-surface. It’s light, rolls up small, and I clip it under the straps of my backpack so it’s always ready. It’s often the source of much damp-arsed envy among my friends.
Georgie Horgan (surf chick in training, pg54): Dry shampoo! I wouldn’t travel anywhere without it. For times when you might need to smarten up or just get rid of the persistent itching of dirty hair, spray on this starch based miracle and watch the grease disappear. John Milbank (photographed rubber ducks, pg66): If you’re somewhere cold with your SLR, take a couple of large freezer bags. Before you go into the warm, shove your camera, lenses, flash into the freezer bags and seal them. You don’t need to squeeze the air out, but make sure they’re air tight and you won’t get any condensation upsetting your expensive kit. Same applies for compact cameras, unless you’ve got a funky waterproof one of course... Roisin Finlay (chaser of adventure runners, pg116): A travel smoke alarm for dodgy and even not so dodgy accommodation. The FlareSafe, a pocket-sized travel smoke alarm which doubles as a torch, was developed after the Childers backpacker hostel fire in Australia. Check out www. flarebrands.com Eric Kendall (ruminator on the nature of extremeness, pg74): Dental floss – stronger than a very strong thing, lightweight and with an indefinite shelf life. Apart from the obvious, you can
sew up broken boots, tents and clothes, make clothes lines, cut cheese. Try doing that with a toothpick.
Camilla Stoddart (botherer of Scottish wildlife, pg84): Midges are a problem in Scotland from spring to autumn; they can get so very bad that you cannot stand still. My secret weapon for the menacing nippers is Avon’s Skin So Soft, a spray-on moisturiser that doubles up, just by chance, as the most effective repellent out there. It is certainly less toxic than your average repellent although it doesn’t leave your skin feeling ‘so soft’. Start looking for it early though – the Scots are stockpiling!
Andy Cremin (sardonic bushman, pg111): If ever stranded at sea, make sure that you throw your defecation a long distance from your raft to avoid attracting sharks.
Hannah Engelkamp (amateur statistician, pg22): Write things down. It’s not a creative gene, it’s a habit that you can cultivate. It makes something interesting out of the most boring commute as you notice things – fellow commuters’ conversations, odd things out the window, stuff going through your head – and it also makes a record of times that otherwise could have faded by the next day. Richard Fincher (wholehearted downhiller, pg30): Ever cooked a roast dinner in a carrier bag? Nor have I, but once, peering through the window of the local WI, I watched an ex-para cook up a chicken and veg in a Sainsbury’s bag. Trotting into the office with this info and having spoken to the Nalgene plastic bottle people, it seems that, as long as the flame isn’t directly on the bag/bottle, you can boil water in plastic. Great, I thought, as I handed over my trusty Nalgene bottle to art editor John. It seems I wasn’t quite explicit enough with the instructions... Keep the flame off the bottle and it works. Promise.
Simon Johnson (cyclist and improviser, pg105): Strips of bicycle inner tube will start a fire in any circumstances. Jamie Cameron (folding bike stunt rider, pg153): Smoke fags to keep the midgies away. Silk Cut seem to be extremely effective, and if you can find any dope, that works even better, particularly Nepali black. Also, if you are going somewhere cold grow a beard, they keep your face warm.
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The English Channel was formed 400,000 years ago when a huge glacial lake burst, releasing one million cubic metres of water per second that carved out the channel and the famous white cliffs. Thus was formed the island we now know as Great Britain which, together with Northern Ireland, makes up the United Kingdom, also known as Britain. Got that? These days over
1.34% of the UK is under water and parks
cover 15.3%, 8% of the country is made up of cities, towns or big villages, and 88% of the population lives in them. There are
400 ships go through 66 cities in the UK – 50 six in Scotland, five in Wales and the channel every day, which is infiveEngland, in Northern Ireland. PHOTO: LOCH NESS BY WWW.JASONHAWKES.COM
very shallow – only 30m deep in places.
The UK is 244,820 square kilometres, the 79th largest country in the world, taking up
0.16% of the world’s surface. It’s just
under half the size of France, and is made up of
6,100 islands of which 291 are inhabited.
Our main crop is wheat, covering 8% of the UK and producing about 15.5 million tonnes each year. There are 100 hectares in a square kilometre, and 126 hectares of England is being used to grow mushrooms on.
Trafalgar Square is exactly one hectare.
the Severn at 354km long,
The longest river is
closely followed by the Thames at 338km.
Loch Morar in Scotland is 310m deep – the UK’s deepest water.
Great Britain is just under 1,000km from north to south, and has a coastline of 14,549km. The mean annual temperature in the far north of Scotland is 6°C, and in southwestern England it is 11°C.
It rains one day in three in England, and in December
1890 Westminster got no sun at all, all month. London and Birmingham have thunder on 15 days of the year.
11% of the UK is covered in forest, and 76% is farmland (although only a quarter of this has crops on it – the rest is grazing land).
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earliest human presence in the UK was about 700,000 years ago when they walked over, The
bringing their stone tools with them. In 1400BC there were fewer than one million people in Britain, and the short, dark or redheaded Celts came over from Europe to settle in. Julius Caesar invaded in 55BC, and the
Romans ruled until the 5th century AD.
Tall, blond and blue-eyed Germanic people from Europe – the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes – arrived in Britain between the 5th and 7th centuries AD, in massive numbers, and the Celts and prehistoric folk fled into the hills of the west. Scandinavians came a-raiding in the 7th century and settled in with the Anglo-Saxons, and
in 1066 in came the Normans.
These days 85.67% of us are white British, 6.47% white other, 4% South Asian, 2% black, 1.2% mixed race and 0.8% East Asian and other.
The UK population has increased by 8% since 1971, and the rate of
growth is getting faster. The resident population is 60,587,000, of which 50,763,000 live in England. This makes the UK the
22nd most populous country, with 0.91% of the world’s
population. Our closest neighbours for population are the Democratic Republic of Congo (0.94%) and Italy (0.89%). China has 19.85% of the world’s people!
UK average age is 39 years old. 30,000 animal The
species live in Britain. There are 13 million dogs and cats in our midst, and
4,885,000 pigs in the UK –
The average age of women giving birth is 29.1, while the fertility rate for women aged 40 and over is rising, with 11.4 live births per thousand women aged 40 to 44 – more than double what it was in 1986. Jack is the number one boys’ name and has been for years, while Grace is new in for the girls.
5,803 boys called Thomas were born last year (the second most popular), and 4,355 Rubys took the second place for the girls. Every year since 1901, with the exception of 1976, there have been
more births than deaths in the UK – this is ‘natural
change’. Natural change accounts for 45% of total change, the rest being down to migration. People are on the move within the UK too, mostly moving from south to north – 35,000 people moved north in 2003!
London loses 60,000 people annually
to internal migration.
82% of them live in England. We spend 19 minutes a day on gardening and pet care.
Outdoor adventure guide
the league of
extraordinAry saturdays It’s a scientiﬁc fact that if you do a lot of different things, the novelty makes your life feel longer. Not to mention all that fresh air and moving your limbs around – science suggests that’s pretty good for actual life expectancy too. We’ve got a bunch of ideas for things you can go along and do as a beginner, some tried and tested (there’s a collection of ﬁne bruises in the ofﬁce to prove it!), others on our wish list for this summer. Give one a go, and who knows, you might ﬁnd a new best pastime. In which case it won’t be a novelty anymore...
urban games with Hannah, OAG’s editor
A friend of mine is really involved with running around making a bit of a fool of yourself in public, and I went along to have a go. The excuse is called ‘pervasive games’ (also known as augmented reality games, big games or city games, apparently), and is basically a bunch of adults remembering what it’s like to just play. The games take all sorts of forms – the one I went along to was pretty simple, but some of them are complex, involving digital technology and the like. I went down to London Bridge on a Wednesday evening, to one of a series of nights held by a group called Sandpit. The Shunt Lounge, an amazingly weird venue in the spooky arches under the railway station, was filled with people playing games, the murder-in-the-dark sort of game, lots of fun, some wine and a very good way of meeting new people. I was signed up for the city game of the evening, and we went out in groups of four, led off in different directions, and then each given a card with a noise on it. Then we were off, making our noise, through the streets of old London town, until we found the other people making the same noise. It was amazing how quickly I got into it, despite the many bemused people watching me run past, howling like a wolf and looking for my wolf tribe. When we finally found each other, after ignoring all of the owls, police sirens and seagulls, our cards made the command, ‘go to the bridge’, so we legged it, and found the owls had beat
us to the winning spot. And that was that! If I thought orbing was simple, this really was, but it was great fun running about the city with a bunch of strangers for the sheer hell of it! And I reckon it’s good for the soul to remember how to look silly in public. The blurb sandpit.hideandseekfest.co.uk are the main silly game dealers in the UK, by the time this mag gets printed they will have run their second annual festival of games on London’s Southbank. The nights at Shunt will be on their website: www. shunt.co.uk
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going down into Victorian sewers
PHOTO: REECE THWAITE-JONES
with Hannah’s granny, Annette
with Hannah, OAG’s editor
PHOTO: RHYS THWAITE-JONES
The dandelions have just emerged all over the rolling green South Downs, and now they’re subjected to the disrespect of being squashed by massive bouncy balls. The grass, shorn short by cows and sheep who stand about looking bemused, makes the perfect run, and we climb into the inflatable ball, get strapped in, and roll off into the green. Weird. This is orbing, elsewhere known as zorbing (a tradename for a rival company), and it is actually as simple as it sounds. We turned up to the address we’d been given, which turned out to be a carpark high on the Downs, full of dogwalkers, holiday coaches, people
looking at the view through their windscreens and listening to radio two, and a lot of people streaming by on some kind of fun run. We followed some signs, along a sheep track, and found the orbing field – a smooth hill with a long run-off and no precipices. One of the orbing facilitators tells us they have to comb the field for flints every morning – you wouldn’t want to pop halfway down. Apart from the enormous ball, there’s a Landrover and trailer to bring it back up, an awning with hay bales to sit on, a generator, a fridge of beer and coke, music playing, and deck chairs for spectators. And that’s the lot. It certainly is simple fun. There ball is made of a thick rubber outer and inner layer, attached to each other with bungee ropes and inflated. Inside there are two harnesses, facing each other, so one person is rolling headover-heels and the other is
going heels-over-head, and the ball has an axis so you don’t go down sideways. A couple of guys strap us in and then give us a push, and we roll, flowers-skyflowers-sky-flowers-sky, hair flopping about, swearing merrily. As it slows down towards the bottom it gets squashier and bumpier, and then some guys stop us, unstrap us, and give us a lift to the top. And that’s that. It’s a kind of low-rent fairground ride, and that’s what’s so fun about it, sheer good old-fashioned fun, and a big bouncy ball.
Ever since we came to Leicester, I’ve mourned the fact that the Victorian sewers are no longer open to the public. Then I discovered that the Brighton sewers are still open – an unusual tourist attraction! – and as we now have two granddaughter undergraduates studying there, I thought we could have a great visit and family get together, incorporating the sewer visit. And so it turned out! We had to assemble at Arch 260, down some steps at the side of Brighton Pier, go through a heavy iron door and don hard hats and plastic gloves. Apparently the old Victorian brick tunnels run all along under the beach, and though the system needs modernising it has not yet been much improved since 1860 – I’ll spare you some of the murkier details! We got a lecture about the network of tunnels and how it all works, also told what happens with storm water and flooding, and how the flow is improved with egg shaped tunnels which speed up the water and break down the stuff in it, a brilliant idea of the long ago engineers. And of the huge barrel-shaped chamber to hold the overflow, to save it going straight into the sea. Then we were led through a variety of tunnels, with the chap leading us with a torch and stopping for a brief lecture here and there, and told what was above ground at that point – the Albion Hotel, the fish and chip shop etc. It was amazing to see it all in action! Finally we had to climb a vertical ladder and come out through a manhole – right into the middle of Brighton crowds on the prom, who couldn’t have been more surprised! It was actually the beginning of the month-long Brighton Festival, and I think we came up into the middle of the Children’s Parade. What fun! The sewers certainly came up to expectations – though we saw no rats, which was perhaps for the best. Apparently they run a mile when they hear echoing footsteps. The blurb The tours are an hour long, in groups of 15 to 25. You have to be over 11, and it costs £10 for adults, £7.50 for OAPs and £5 for kids up to 16. Go to www. southernwater.co.uk for info and booking forms.
The blurb It’s not quite old-fashioned prices, at £25 per person and two people in the ball, but it was a jolly good day out. Take sandwiches and hang out there for a while – the people are all really friendly and there’s a kind of festival air to sitting in a field listening to music! It’s at Devil’s Dyke, and a bus goes from Brighton station. www.orb360.co.uk
Outdoor adventure guide
T E G CTIVE A
a i r t s Au ÂŁ379 FREE e c n a r F 8 9 summer 200 e Tauern
Club Active Hoh 7 nights fr
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Club Active Chr 7 nights fr
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3 day bike hire fting White water ra
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3 day bike hire g Hydro speedin
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0870 165 0146
Terms and conditions: Valid on full price holidays to Club Active Mountain units for 7 or more nights. Age restrictions apply on activities and some activities are weather dependent. Prices based on 2 adults sharing a standard twin room departing LGW. Austria price is per person based on 7 nights at the Club Active Hohe Tauern, Kaprun, Austria departing 3rd September 08 and France, at the Club Active Christiania, Les Gets departing 30th August 08. Other regionals are available at a supplement. Room and /or under occupancy supplements may apply. Offer available to new, direct bookings only and is subject to availability. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotion. Age restrictions apply to some activities. Terms and conditions apply as per Crystal Active Mountain, 2008.
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PHOTOS: JOHN MILBANK
d l i w britain
walking with wolves Fancy an afternoon trekking through woodland with a pack of wolves? It might sound roughly as appealing as scratching your back with a hacksaw, and we did have our reservations when the UK Wolf Conservation Trust invited us to meet them in the carpark of an isolated Berkshire wood. But our ‘wolf walk’ turned out to be rather special. Far from being big, bad and scary, the wolves were no more terrifying than your average Alsatian (though we wouldn’t have been quite so blasé had each of the three wolves not been attached by a chain to two handlers!). The walks are part of the Trust’s drive to dispel the myths and misconceptions surrounding these animals. It’s a non-profit organisation run largely by volunteers, and its nine wolves act as ‘ambassadors’ to help raise funds to support projects throughout Europe. It doesn’t breed wolves for captivity, but rather fights to keep them in the wild, conserve their habitat and educate farmers who live alongside them in places such as Russia and Croatia. While none of the Trust’s wolves are
trained, they have been socialised with humans, allowing us the rare opportunity to be able to interact with them – even give them a pat. Socialised they may be, cuddly Labradors they’re not, and there’s a technique to this. You keep one hand free (near your face) at all times, should the wolf take exception to your aftershave, hold out your fist so he can give you a cursory sniff, then rub his tummy. It’s incredible – and that’s the thing about this walk. Two hours fly by, you get chatting to the handlers, the wolves mingle with their two-legged ‘pack’ and you forget where you are for a second. Then you look down and wow
– there’s a wolf nonchalantly sniffing at a patch of grass just inches away. • If you want to regale your mates with tales of your wolf-handling skills, you’ll need to become a ‘walking’ member of the Trust. This costs £60 a year, and entitles you and a guest to join one of the regular walks. It must be a health and safety nightmare keeping this venture going, so enjoy it quick before it becomes engulfed in red tape. • Safety advice: You’ll be told how to interact with the wolves – but for your own safety it’s probably best to avoid carrying a hunk of beef in your pocket or going dressed in a red-hooded cloak.
Where is it? Englefield Estate Forest, near Reading, Berkshire What’s it cost? £60 for a year’s membership Time taken? About two hours As sampled by Helen Milbank Contact: www. ukwolf.org or 0118 971 3330
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This is certainly a green and pleasant land – just look at the cover if you need reminding! But, as we all know too well, there’s no green without rain. So it’s no surprise that our creative and adaptive countrymen and women have devised about a million different ways of having a ball while getting wet. Here are a few to try from all over the UK
PHOTO: CAMILLA STODDART
Sea kayaking with Hannah
We fell in love with Plockton, a little village in a cove on the west coast of Scotland, close to Skye. A single row of fish’n’chip shops, pubs and brightly coloured houses, with women in galoshes looking for edible creatures in the sand, became the hopping off point for my first shot at sea kayaking. We launched next to a tiny ‘no seal, no fee’ pleasure boat with an impressively stocked bar, feeling a bit serious in comparison. The boats are much longer than inland kayaks, and felt much tippier until I got used to it. Luckily the water was glassy and still, and so – apart from the seals and the salt – I don’t feel like I’ve sea kayaked at all. The area is ideal for gentle island-hopping trips like ours but also some really extreme stuff, and our brilliant instructor Willie told us about friends of his who
paddle out to remote St Kilda, a trip that takes 12 solid hours. St Kilda is often too wild to land on, in which case they have no choice but to turn tail and paddle 12 hours home again. That’s not for me, but our gentle cruise about was addictive. Eight seals followed us out and back, noses above the water like attentive dogs, and waiting for us when we stopped on an uninhabited island to eat our sandwiches. Bliss. The blurb We went with the National Trust for Scotland. They are running taster days, call 0844 493 2231 or email email@example.com for details, or check out the general www.nts.org.uk for all sorts of activity holiday ideas.
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A beginners’ guide to all things paddling It is likely that there will be a local canoe or kayak club near you so try googling it with your town or area name (or see the directory on page 72-3). Paddlers tend to be friendly and eager to help others learn and enjoy the sport, and clubs will have regular pool sessions and organise river trips as well, so once you’ve mastered the basics they’ll help you with your first bit of moving water where you’ll learn to read the river ahead and point your boat precisely where you want it to go! National mountain centres such as Plas y Brenin in Wales (www.pyb.co.uk) and Glenmore Lodge in Scotland, (www.glenmorelodge.org.uk), have courses for all skill levels. Paddle sports are great for taking you to parts of the country that you wouldn’t normally think of, and you experience a closeness to nature that you don’t get with any other sport, as you quietly cruise on by, unnoticed by the wildlife. Here’s a bit more on the different kinds of paddling you can get into: Tourers Touring can mean anything from a single day tour across a bay to a multi-day trip. The kayaks are closed (you can choose whether or not to wear a spraydeck though), with waterproof hatches in front and behind you for camping and cooking gear, plus elastic ropes outside to hold your map, water, lunch etc. They can have backrests for comfort, and some have fishing rod and GPS holders too! Check www.venturekayaks.com – the Easky range come highly recommended. These cost from £620 for a beginner boat, to £950 for a seafaring one.
Canoes Canoeing, sometimes referred to as open boating, can be a great way to slow down on a weekend. Explore one of our inland waterway networks with a partner and take it easy.
Canoes are so spacious you can fit a vast amount of gear inside with you, so if you want to pack up and head out for a long period of time you can fit in a week’s worth of supplies and camping equipment no problem. You can get oneperson, two person or family-sized boats. You don’t have to slow down as canoes can tackle white water once you learn to control them, so look forward to some of that! Check out www.venturecanoes. com – boats cost £619 for going solo, to £874 for a family tub.
Kayaks It’s this top-end level that usually catches the eye, with riders navigating the white water. At the other end of the scale, the same boats can generally be used for having a day out with a picnic by your local lake. There are various specialist kayaks tailored to each discipline of kayaking. White water kayaking can be split into ‘freestyle’ (doing tricks and spins), ‘freeride’ (using the whole river, spinning, swiping, running rapids and finding playwaves) and river running (like freeride, but boats are stabler for bigger rapids, and less nippy for tricks). Check out www.pyranha. com and www.teampyranha.com to see some ridiculous stunts.
Sea kayaks These kayaks are the longest you’ll come across and usually made of rigid, composite materials like glass-fibre and kevlar carbon to give them both strength and lightweight properties. To help the paddler track or keep in a straight line they tend to come fitted with skegs as standard or optional rudders, which allow you to turn in and out of little nooks and crannies with ease.
P&H are good for sea kayaks, from about £1,100 for a beginner boat to £2,400 for a top-end one.
Sit-on-tops As mentioned, sit-on-tops are the easiest form of kayaking to just turn up to and try for a day. More shapes and sizes with varying degrees of add-ons are becoming more readily available to cater for fitness platforms, or for those that go fishing or taking photos. Two-seaters cost around £400, three-seaters go up to £470, or you can add extras like rudders which put the price between £500 and £600; check out www. feelfreekayak.com
Other useful resources for the aspiring paddler are www. ukriversguidebook.co.uk – with very useful information about UK rivers – and www.bcu.org.uk, which will help with finding a local club more kayak/canoe related information. Where do I do it? Wherever there is water, there is the potential for kayaking. Obviously, as an island country, the coastline provides ample opportunities for sea kayaking, the Scottish islands being a particular highlight. The UK also has some beautiful touring along its longer rivers and on the lochs and lakes of Scotland and the Lake District, while the country’s upland rivers hold a plethora of whitewater gems. Particular centres for white kayaking in the UK include Fort William, Snowdonia and Dartmoor. For freestyle fans, the big volume weir of the Thames, to the west of London, create some of the country’s finest spots for big airtime. Worldwide, the possibilities are practically limitless.
And if it all goes well, consider becoming a pro. David Fairweather, expedition paddler and part of Team Pyranha, on a lifestyle that sounds OK to us “My personal passion is for multi-day, self-supported kayaking adventures and steep white water. Kayaking takes me to incredible places; in the past year I have been lucky enough to fit in big trips to Nepal and Morocco for multiday white water adventures as well as shorter trips to Italy, Austria and a relaxed threeday touring journey across Scotland along the Great Glen. My highlight was a five-day descent of the Thuli Bheri river in Nepal, a true journey, flying into a small village high in the Nepalese Himalayas, descending down through some of the most stunning scenery I have ever experienced and finishing in the lowlands, with over 100km of hard and committing white water along the way. This must rank as one of the most rewarding experiences I have encountered and I was glad to be part of a strong four-man team. On a journey like this planning is vital. Local knowledge is always useful and correctly judging river levels can be the difference between a great trip and an epic one...
Did someone pull the chain?
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geot out f
From Amersham: A five minute taxi ride from the tube you will find the Shardeloes Farm, an equestrian enthusiast’s drea m. With access to over 500 acres of privately owned off-road horse ridin g terrain, this is probably one of the best places in London to ride. For mor e information and bookings see www. shardeloesfarm.com
No need to join the qu eues of trafﬁc pouring out of London every Fr iday; turn up at any of these undergro und stations wearing your activity sandals (or trunks, or Great outdoors climbing shoes, or...). From Uxbridge: Just outs ide of London lies the Colne vall Here are the OAG team ey, pretty ’s much the nearest bit of cou ntryside to our tube-connected fresh capital. A mixture of woo dland, farmland, air rivers, canals and lakes, this is an outdoor ﬁxes, compiled by enthusiast’s dream. Ang ling, walking, cycling, and more is pos sible here. From Jamie Cameron Uxbridge the Colne Valley Park centre is a 3km walk, or from West Ruislip it’s a short taxi ride
From Hammersmith: Believe it or not there is a place in London abundant in wildlife, and we’re not talking urban foxes and Trafalgar Square pigeons. The London Wet lands centre is one of the best places to catc h some nature in action. From Hammersmi th tube catch a 10 minute ride on the 283 ‘duc k bus’ from stand K. www.wwt.org.u k.
From Heathrow: A 20 minute taxi ride from Hea throw airport lies JB Waterski Club. Alternatively, you can take an over land train from Waterloo to Chertsey (approx 50 min). With wire pulleys, boat tows, ramps, and slalo m courses, this place caters for everyon e from the beginner through to the experts. www.jbski.com
From Putney: London has numerous rowing clubs, however, many do not cater for beg inners. The Putney Town Rowing Clu b is one of the few that has the facilities and patience to teach anyone. If you fanc y a serious workout as part of a team whilst floating down a river this is the perfect solution. www. putneytownrc.co.uk
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From Wimbledon: As well as being home to some of the nation’s favourite rubbish collecto rs, the Wombles, Wimbledon Common is also an excellent place to get away from the hectic pace of city life. Trails throughout the common offer excellent walking/jogging routes. The park is made up of scrubland, woodland, and heathland and there are nine or so ponds spre ad about the area, also making this a good place to look out for wildlife in its many different habitats. See www.wpcc.org.uk for mor e info.
From Clapham Commo n: There are two ponds ava ilable to anglers on the Common ; Eagle Pond and Mount Pond. Anyone with a coarse fishing licence is allowed to cast a line, and it’s possible to night fish. The ponds are open all week, but check the web site to ensure there are no competition s going on. For more info see www.claphamangling.c o.uk
From Watford Junctio n: What better way to spen d the weekend than wandering around a field with a bird of prey sitti ng on your arm, ready to swoop off and catch your supper. Go and learn the ancient art of falconry at Impact-Falconr y. … For more info see www.impact-falconry.co.uk
From Hampstead: Ham pstead Heath’s mighty 791 acres make up one of Lon don’s finest green spaces. But it’s more than just a gentle stro ll that brings people here ; because the Heath also houses ponds that are open to the public for swimming. With a ladies’, men’s and mixed pond, this is the perf ect place to get away from the big smoke and pretend you’re swimmin g in a lake in a wood – no wait, you really are. Win dy days see a most esoteric collection of kiteflyers arrive. For information on the Hea th go to www.cityoflondon.gov.uk and type Hampstead Heath in the search menu.
From Southwark:For skating and bmx, this is the plac e to see and be seen. There is no offic ial organised group here; you just turn up and battle it out with the concrete. If you don’t fancy trying it yourself, this is the perfect place to chill with a drink and wat ch death defying stunts and painful crashes. From Southwark tube wal k to the river and hang a left.
From Manor House: Eve n though the name clearly states the purpose, it is still a surprise, as you set foot in the impressive castle, to find a large num ber of people hanging off the walls and ceilings . The Castle Climbing Centre is one of London ’s finest. You’ll certainly get a work out here, and the variation of routes available will set you up with the ability to tackle any face anywhere. A five minute walk from Manor House tube stop. For more info see www.castl eclimbing.co.uk
From Loughton: One of London’s greatest woodland area s, Epping Forest is the perfect place to try out that new mountain bike. With trail s in abundance there are endless possibilities here for a two wheeler, just watch out for rambler s. For info on Epping Forest and events see www. eppingforestdc.gov.uk, for info on mountain bike clubs in the area see www.mtbbritain.co.uk
Wetland Centre. P hoto don Lon by T Ch W ris W & t a An , y ne a d r
From Upminster: It’s an outdoor centre so get you r camo outf it on and massacre you r mates. Conveniently within wal king distance from Upminster tube; best get dressed when you’re there... www.paintballgames.co.uk
Aw ate rv ol e, ye st e
From Crossharbour: To most people the Docklands Ligh t Railway either takes them to wor k or possibly to a Spice Girls concert at the O2 arena. Not any more; a short walk from Crossharbour station you will find the Docklan ds Sailing and Waterspor t Centre, focal point of all things boat-related in our capital. Whether it be saili ng a yacht, learning to eskimo roll a kayak, mas tering carve gybes on your windsurfer, or just thrashing the hell out of a power boat, you can do it here. For more information go to www.dswc.org or www. visitthames.co.uk
From Hyde Park Corner : The Friday Night Skate is a mas s roll around central London, letting the world know that Fame, legwarmers and the 70s haven’t passed in vain. Rollerskating also happens to be one of the best excercises going; efficient , low-impact on joints and great for an all-over wor kout especially for the core . Total beginners will need to practice before joining this regular event; try the Eas y Peasy in Battersea Par k. All info, including gear and other venues, from www.easypeasyskate.com and www.thefns.com
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With 652 people per square mile on this small island, it can feel like a good place to ﬂy away from when hunting down peace and quiet. But thankfully the island’s population is badly distributed, and Scotland has a third of the UK’s space, but only eight per cent of its people. Camilla Stoddart (camera) and Hannah Engelkamp (map) took a tour through the population graph, getting away from everybody and looking for nobody
Outdoor adventure guide
The Applecross warnings before ascending into a fat cloud
Applecross Peninsulaâ€™s school, makeyour-own-fun
Applecross Pass with a welcome dawn reprieve from the fat cloud
The fierce French Scotophile Post dawn walk, Hannah left, Camilla right
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Population of Edinburgh: 448,624 Vehicles: 180,000 Two lanes of traffic motor out of Edinburgh, due north, going bush. The land is flat, the light even flatter, not even slightly moody or interesting. Some idiots are waving at us from their car as we overtake. It’s taking some faith to believe that we’re heading for fertile, photo-taking lands, remote and lonely lochs, islands and mountains of proud, brave, stubborn people. The same idiots wave again, mouths open, as they overtake. We’re going remote! Leave us alone! Possibly they are coveting our fancy Mini Clubman, chocolate brown and stuffed to the gills with camping gear? Well, we’re not surprised. We turn up the music. Then, “Oh!” says Camilla. “That’s my cousin!” We overtake them again, waving and grinning back. We’re going to have to get away from family related coincidences.
Population of Braemar: 500 Pipers piping: 12 We’ve made it to Royal Deeside, just down the road from Balmoral. The landscape is big and bold, but Braemar castle is small and in need of saving, it seems. Frivolous bunting and ‘Save Braemar Castle!’ banners are wrapped all around it. It’s a textbook summer fete, tombolas and stalls of honey and mothballs and shortbread. We meet a couple from Normandy who’ve retired to Scotland and make traditional Scottish weaponry (him) and clothing (her) to exhibit at just such an event. They’re fiercely Scottish now, she says, translating everything into French for him. “What does Braemar need saving from?” we ask, but our question is met with blank looks. It seems that the castle has been saved, bought by the community, and today is the grand opening. We assume that they’re either recycling old banners from before the purchase, or they’re not feeling safe enough yet to let down the guard. Kids rattle down the hill on grass sledges, ‘Braemar’s Got Talent’ kicks off under a canopy as a girl does ‘tricks’ with her guinea-pig, Craigybibs, and a band of pipers march past, belting out the classics. This is a healthy turnout, plus TV references, and our remoteness awaits elsewhere.
As well as accommodation, Mar Lodge also runs a series of guided walks. Look at www.marlodgeestate.org. uk for all the details. Canna and Mar Lodge are owned by the National Trust for Scotland (a separate trust entirely to the National Trust, which covers the rest of the UK), along with heaps of other interesting places. The Mini was a new diesel Clubman, and commanded admiring looks wherever we went. I don’t know much about cars, but I know what it feels like when a coach party of teenage boys stop to nod appreciatively at you, and I know how often I filled up (not much).
Population of Mar Lodge and cottages (stalkers and housekeepers): 30 Ap Live deer in the estate: 1,650 ple cro ss Dead deer in the lodge and ballroom: 2,800 Pen ins Mar Lodge, a rebuilt Victorian hunting lodge, is where ula we’ll lay our hats tonight. Not very old in the first place, its reconstruction is a puzzling mixture of rescued things, new things in an old style and new things with no style. Ca nn It’s comfy though, and makes for a very educational stroll. aI sla nd Poor stags’ heads thrust out of the walls of the narrow curved corridors, eyeballing each other at close quarters with their glass eyes. A ‘killed by’ plaque is nailed beneath each one, all shot by lairds and lords, earls and princes, most from the first decade of the last century. Their stuffed expressions are all different, tragicomic and cartoon-like, with their lips and eyelids carefully outlined in black taxidermist’s paint.
When the lodge first burned down in 1895, the resident Duke of Fife’s first order was to salvage the antler collection. What a strange relationship – to revere them, stalk them, conquer them, kill them, stuff them, archive them, then revere them some more. I feel sort of sad... and sort of hungry – it’s local beef for dinner, delicious, and I try not to imagine the heads of all the cows I’ve ever eaten, staring at me with googly glass eyes.
Population of the rest of Mar Lodge Estate: 0 Black cocks: 150 Capercaillie: 10 Tents: 4 Getting up at the same time as amorous grouse is good, because of, in equal measures, the quality of the crisp air and rosy dawn light, and the deep seated smugness. Whatever else happens today, we were up and cycling at 5am. Camilla’s career as a wildlife photographer gets off to a shaky start as we scare off the first two gatherings that we come to. We’re looking for a black cock leck – the males shimmying about, making a gobble-obble-obble noise and waving their white frilly backsides in the air to impress the ladies. We finally get the hang of sneaking and peep at some from behind a knoll, where we’re lying prostrate and no doubt gathering tics on our bare bits. The birds look like big black chickens, but more pleased with themselves, and capable of flight and perching in the Caledonian pines. One is a Capercaillie, the biggest type of grouse and an endangered species. I wonder if he minds that he’s flirting with mere commoner grouse. Beyond them are a herd of deer, so perfectly matched to the blonde grass of the valley floor that they’re impossible to count. Further on some spring about, flashing their white backsides too – is this a theme? We’re at the end of the Lairig Ghru – visitors are supposed to get to the lodge via the ‘long walk in’, not the short drive up the back way. Where the road disappears there’s a smattering of tents, one inhabitant up, stretching and yawning, the others sleep on, oblivious to the leck going on right outside. It feels like frontier country, an undiscovered valley opening before us as the mists rise and fellow cowboys break camp, but it’s an artificial emptiness – before the clearances in the early 19th century there had been around 20 townships on the Mar Estate. Tenants and sub-tenants were evicted to make attractive parkland around the lodge, and hunting or grazing grounds further afield. We get back, smugness firing our appetites, and after breakfast check out the lodge’s Stag Ballroom – a separate te sta wooden building, original, and coated on rE a M the inside with 2,500 pairs of antlers, so dense that they tangle together high above us, pointing down at the banquet tables set up below. Staring up I lose my bearings, it feels a bit like being underwater, looking up at a coral cathedral, living and not living, and it’s really chilly and spookily out of reach h g r u b Edin of the warm morning sun coming up outside. Enough of this dead and cleared population! We hit the road again.
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love Sophia. A city of parks. A city of animated pedestrian crossings. A city in boom. It’s a great place to gather yourself before a big trip. Finding time to locate the esprit de corps on a few few bag-free city rides. Winding our way down broad avenues of walnut trees, around torturous one-way systems (always the wrong way) and through an impassable maze of coffee shops, inexpensive restaurants and interesting themed bars and nightclubs. The massive communist era central station left its peculiar atmospheric music in our ears as we pulled our bikes up from ground level platforms. There’s no place on these trains to put a bike even though we’d gone to the trouble of securing a bike ticket. The train guard was theatrically flummoxed, but we eventually found just the right place to block all the aisles and our guard left us alone without even a bribe... We had no common language but Frank and Ivan, who I shared a table seat with, managed to give me a whole history of their lives, the region, the migration of the Cyrillic alphabet and then set us up with some local girls. We had time to share a coffee with them before catching our boat across the Danube and into Romania. The north side of the Danube greeted us with great aplomb. There were thunderclouds, flocks of screaming ravens at dusk and Adams Family architecture. But this wasn’t Transylvania yet. The way to Transylvania, which translates literally as ‘beyond the forest’, lay across the southern Carpathians. We found our way into the mountains on a trail built to access the high monasteries. We found the monks too, and their kindness. But the trail became too steep for us and our laden bikes, so after a night camped in the forest in Ben’s ‘experimental’ tent (it fell down), we had to return to the truck road in the valley. These roads are terrifying. We always try to find a back road to travel by, even if it means a dog leg of a journey, but some days the truck road is all you can find. So you put on your brightest clothes, sup an extra mouthful of Go and leave the dogs barking as you fly by the coffee huts and hooker stops.
I love the experience of riding into a town through its ugly industrial belt. Watching it change. But Sibiu’s centre was too much of a contrast. I feared for the fate of the absent street dogs in this sanitised city. Not the Transylvania we had been looking for. Still some bug found its way through and Owen spent two or three days in our hotel room on a diet of live yoghurt as we made day rides out of town. One of these was up a road built by Ceausescu so he could take the mountain air without the rigour of climbing to its 2,200m peak. The top and back in a day was our mission. Beyond a certain point on a big climb like that I think fitness becomes irrelevant and it’s stubbornness that counts. Arlo disagreed with this idea and turned back just two hairpins from the top, thus earning himself the handle old man mountain for the rest of the trip. A sharp turn from a truck road out of Sibiu found the four of us back in the saddle again. Owen, who should have been taking it easy, sat at the front of out petit peloton, setting a neat pace as we glided along parallel to the Faragas peaks, part of the Southern Carpaths. There is a mania for miles when cycle touring, it’s got us into trouble in the past. After a couple of days without gaining any distance we were all pretty keen to make up some distance and these roads were beautiful. Walnut trees and hawthorns along the way supplemented our trail snacks. The light in September had that golden tint like a super 8 movie. There were stretches where we’d pass more donkeys and carts than cars and these back roads led through all the villages. Most of the villages in southern Transylvania have a similar layout, often just a handful of houses. Faded now from their brightly coloured past, the houses have a standard vernacular. Two storeys, a regular front door and a giant courtyard entrance to the side of
the house with huge wooden doors to match. But even at close inspection these houses kept their secret. The reason Transylvania has been touted as a model for sustainable living in Europe is behind this simple facade. Land. Not acres of it, but each house has a garden that stretches out beyond it for up to 80m or so. This is growing land, enough to grow most of your own veg. There are fields around the villages too, but they seem mostly turned over to potato production. Several times we encountered groups of fantastically old men and women in these fields, each older than the last, still collecting their own crops with an impressive vigour. Kicking up the dust of the villages were a collection of free range chickens, children, horses and cattle, all ranging happily under the collective eye. It was sunset before we started making camp. That hunger for miles had its way again. We found a wood some way off the road where the light from our fire would be less visible; not that we were expecting anyone to trouble us but seclusion makes for a sounder night’s sleep. Romania has most of Europe’s wild bear and wolf populations. When camping off piste in these conditions there are several precautions you must take. The main ones are to have your cooking fire at least 200m from your camp and to store all your food at the same distance and keep it about four metres off the ground. These kinds of tasks make you feel great, like you’re Lord Mears or Shackleton, though the likelihood of there actually being any bears in these low hills was pretty small. I slept out that night in a hammock slung near the last embers of the fire. We had brought hammocks as a Transylvanian friend of mine told me tales of him and his brother sleeping in the forest in
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hammocks slung high in trees, out of the reach of the bears. When it came time to install mine, four metres seemed like a lot of altitude. I went for more like 40cm. The threat of real danger in the night clears the mind. I’ve slept in the woods many times but still my mind insists on fretting over the cause of that unknown noise in the middle distance. The thought of a bear out there stopped all that; the internal discussion went like this: “What’s that noise?... Was it a bear?... No... Night then”. The seeming idyll of the villages was not equalled by the towns and cities. We rode into Zarnesti after a long day in the saddle. The last climb of the evening terminated in a cool woodland with that soft pine needle air, but I was anything but pine fresh. The problem of the mania for miles is that you end up not having enough down time. It’s really important to rest properly. With that in mind we set to looking for a pension to stay in for the night. We passed one on the way into town and I was good to stop but we had the inkling that there was another better place to stay on the other side of town. We actually found a weapons factory and three tower blocks, one of which was simultaneously unfinished, burned out and occupied. This meat hook reality was made all the more sharp by the conditions in the pension 700m back on the other side of town. “Feel free to use the jacuzzi,” our patron said as we sat on the alpine-style veranda, sipping his homemade schnapps. The openness and hospitality we received made me warm to our hosts but this kind of affluence in the face of such poverty made me uncomfortable, even as I passed out in my king-size bed. The next morn saw us on a day trip to Bran, home of Dracula branding. The castle itself was nice but unfittingly tame. We didn’t
stay long, just long enough to ogle at the mix of hand carved Dracula dolls, Vlad Tepes fridge magnets, vampire teeth, Scary Movie masks and Batman dolls. Breaking one of our hard learned principals we had bad maps of the area we now cycled through. This simply means you take bad roads. We bought some roadmaps from a garage and headed into the hills above Rasnov. These were some good steep hills, and the forest was silent around us as we sweated our way towards Brasov. At the top of the first climb we paused to put on some waterproofs, the sky looked black ahead. Arlo got chatting to a shepherd and shared some of his tobacco. The next bend was one of those peculiar feats of the weather. Those black clouds seemed stuck against the lee of the hill and, as we descended straight into the gloom, they drenched us. The rest of the day was spent in this downpour. I may be alone here but I love cycling in these conditions. When things get bad you just have to grit your teeth and go for it. Exhausted and elated I pulled over the top of the final climb of the day to a misty view of the city from what seemed like Mulholland Drive in LA. Out in the distance was a huge glowing Hollywood-style sign that read BRASOV. Owen caught up with me on the descent and we paused at the edge of town to allow Ben and Old Man Mountain time to catch up. Brasov is a European city. Much of Transylvania felt like travelling through a different age but in Brasov you will find the same shops and services as in any other city. This made for a good spot to unwind. We were due to fly home from Bucharest in a few days and we chose to spend that time in Brasov rather than Bucharest. The tales of the capital were gloomy and grey, whereas this city was
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packing the boat
PHOTO: MARTINA CROSS
Colin and Julie Angus use petrol in their multifuel stove to cook their dinner, but apart from that their expeditions are human powered. They’re currently halfway along their journey from John O’Groats, Scotland, to Aleppo, Syria, either rowing with their bikes in the hatch, or cycling with the boats on tow Wellies
The cold and storms of north Scotland are indelibly lodged in our minds. Our Helly wellies have been brilliant – we camped in bogs a lot, where you couldn’t keep your feet dry for 20 minutes at a time! It’s been warm and sunny since Calais. It took a couple of months to get through Britain; from John O’Groats to Inverness, through the Caledonian canal, across to Glasgow, cycling a lot through England, the Trent, then the Oxford canal and out along the Thames. We were probably doing 50/50 rowing and cycling, and the GPS says that our average speed is 10km an hour. The bikes get some good momentum from the weight of the boats behind – it can be scary on the downhills! Going by bike and boat gives us real flexibility and a different perspective – we get to a
little fishing village that would usually be the end of the road, but instead that’s the place we take off from.
We designed and made them in our backyard. They are plywood and fibreglass, closed rowboats with hatches for our gear. Full size bikes fit inside, but the ones we’ve got are foldable. The boats weigh about 100lbs each, and fully loaded they’re about 200 or 250lbs. We’ve named them Tantalum and Niobium after the two elements mined by a local mining company who sponsor us. Our oars are by an Australian company called Croker, all along the way we’ve seen that everyone seems to be using them.
Two weeks ago we got a trailer stolen,
just after we took the picture. Nothing else – they just took the first thing they saw. We spent a year designing our trailers so that they’d take all of the weight, but still be small enough to fit inside the boats; it was such a pain in the ass getting them stolen, we were bummed that morning. What will someone else do with it? They might sell the wheels for $5 each, but they are rusty by now. We built a primitive replacement out of two-by-four which works well but doesn’t fit inside the boat – it’s fine, but it leaves things a bit messy, and the boat is less stable as the weight is higher. After the initial shock it was quite fun – we were in an industrial area, and found ourselves a builders’ merchant, bought some cheap hand tools and got cutting and sawing in a parking lot. We were forced to stop
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although sometimes she falls asleep and sleeps on the bike for an extra hour afterwards too. I just bungee her to the wall out here so the bike doesn’t fall over. I can’t travel without bungees. If I need a pee on the way now I find a farm gate and bungee her to it. Bungees have so many uses, washing lines, or mending flapping doors in campsites that are banging in the wind; I always take a few spares.
I like boats. With so much stuff it’s easier than trying to get your bicycle on the plane. I’m always overweight with the bike. I pick up things on the way but I send them on to the city I’m going to fly back from, like to a friend’s house in Halifax. Once I’d packed my bike and knew it was going to be too heavy because I’d already weighed it at his house, so I held the back of the bike up on the airport scales and the woman didn’t even notice. You have to cycle to the airport so it’s a pain to carry an extra bag for the bike. That’s why I like boats; I like cycling to the end of a land and getting a boat. The boat to New Zealand took two months and that makes you appreciate how far away it is.
Made to measure
I use a frame builder in South London and they made my bike to measure. Before I used to ride these bikes that were too big and having a small one that fits me made such a difference.
Staying in touch
I’ve never been into all these special shoes, because then if you get stuck you’ve got funny pedals. I only take one pair of shoes with me to keep it light, and then if you want to suddenly climb up a mountain or something you can.
It was law in New Zealand to wear a helmet and before that I’d rarely wear one, it used to just be strapped to the back of my bike. I’d wear it at night and on really busy roads in the rain, I’d think, ‘I might die on this road, I’ll put my helmet on’. It’s important to try and show up as well, to flash and look bright.
I always take a spare inner tube and puncture repair kit, tyre levers and things. Occasionally I take a spare pump with me in case one
breaks, and it doubles up for hitting dogs. You get these massive scary dogs that chase you on the bike, out in Mexico. I’ve also come across black bears on Vancouver Island and in Japan; they come tumbling across the road and you just hope they will keep going.
Dodging the terrabyte towers
I never take a laptop, I’ve always had a little notebook, and just write notes as I go along. Notebooks are much easier, you don’t need to charge things up, and when I finish one I can send it home. When I was away for a year I used quite big notebooks and got through 10 of them, and that was with really small writing.
My average mileage used to be about 60 miles, but in various countries it goes down. In Japan it was so mountainous it went down to about 30 or 40 miles. Cycling across America was between 80 and 100 miles a day because you had to get places. I’ve kept tabs on my mileage, it’s standing at about 340,000 miles now.
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s n o i t c e r e y r a r o p m e t
monsters, g n li w a r p s , t ll ones to giannd we can now reveal all a m s , t a e n m o Fr with the lot, a o g a d a h e ’v e w NT PHOTOS: JAMES BRYA
& JOHN MILBANK
Outwell Idaho XL
Sleeps 8 Website www.outwell.com This thing’s massive. We’re pretty sure it comes with its own postcode. The first time we put this behemoth up, it took an age and caused more than several cursed words, but the instructions attached to the handy wheelie bag were pretty succinct, and we’d imagine that after a couple of goes you would have your erection technique dialled, a fun game for the whole family. Actually, in the midst of a great canvas fight with the Idaho, a passing dog walker stopped to
cheerfully tell us that his family had one and they love it and the fact that, once up, it will stay up in any weather. Inside it’s pretty cavernous with a couple of sleeping areas, a kiddies playroom complete with a ball game played against the roof, and a walk-in wardrobe (no really!). The Idaho was indeed solid. It’s probably best used somewhere you’re staying for a good while. You really wouldn’t want to have to lug this beast in it’s wheelie bag about too much.
Khyam Freelander De Luxe
Sleeps 4 Website www.khyam.co.uk We’ve all seen those quick erect numbers – built for expeditions up in the kind of places that if you don’t get under cover within 90 seconds your face falls off. Well, this uses that kind of idea in a bigger fourman design. The poles are already attached to the flysheet, and the main load bearing ones use a spring loaded mechanism to lock into the upright position. In principle, this seems to make sense, although if you haven’t managed to get your head around opening a
concertina umbrella, things tend to fall down a bit (quite literally). They were quite tricky to lock into position too, with a genuine risk of some serious blood blister action from the spring-loaded clasps. Once up, the Freelander was, for want of a better cliché, Tardis like. The main dome was big enough for an adult to stand up in and the two sleeping compartments leading off were equally capacious enough to fit a couple of adults in each.
144 Outdoor adventure guide
Vango Force 10 Spindrift
Sleeps 3 Website www.vango.co.uk An all-weather, all terrain tent from the guys at Vango. One of our test favourites, with its expedition style construction and ease of erection, although you’d expect this at the price. The inner tent and flysheet are all attached which speeds things up a fair bit, and removes the risk of having to chase the billowing inner through the fields. The five-pole design means that it should stay sturdy in some pretty violent weather and keep you nice and toasty too.
We also liked the guy-ropes that have a slide mechanism poached from some of the higher end expedition pieces out there. Although reasonably lightweight, it was by no means the lightest on test, its ruggedness did more than make up for things. Actually, if we’re being honest, you could almost say that this is a kind of reverse engineered expedition tent. It shares quite a few elements with some of the higher end bits on the market.
Nemo Morpho AR
Sleeps 2 Website www.nemoequipment.com The people over at Nemo have decided to scrap the idea of poles completely and have opted to use air as the main support. It actually works pretty well, even if it does take a bit of effort to get the thing pumped up. Once you’re lying down asleep, you’d be hard pushed to notice any difference between this and a traditional pole frame. It felt firm enough and we reckon you’d only struggle a bit in some stronger winds. There’s enough room to fit a couple of campers in a fair
amount of comfort, in fact, aside from the unorthodox poles, everything about this number looks totally straightforward. A little gripe when packing the thing up. Trying to put away an airbed is a pain a the best of times, imagine combining that with the painful experience of cramming a tent into a bag fractionally smaller than it was when you took it out... Visit www.apexdistribution.co.uk for UK stockists.
Outdoor adventure guide
Helly Han Duro Treksen
Light and comf pants y, with tough er panels on kn ees and bum – these will be hardwe ari look like they’v ng, even if they e come from another set of trousers. Ideal for hot, rough ter rain, we recko n, and fast drying wi th a wicking waistband. www.hellyha nsen.com
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The Nor Face Venture th ja
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156 Outdoor adventure guide
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the oag directory Loads of places to play in the UK
¤ Axis PARAMOTORING/PARAGLIDING
www.paraglide.co.uk Offers tandem flights or courses 35 Mount Street, Abergavenny, NP7 7DT 01873 850111
¤ Sea Kayaking UK KAYAKING www.seakayakinguk.com
Offers sea kayaking courses as well as being a kayak retail and rental centre. Newry Beach Road, Holyhead, Anglesey, LL65 1YD 01407 762425
¤ Hadrian’s Cycleway CYCLING www.sustrans.org.uk
Sustainable transport charity offering advice on cycle and walking routes 2 Cathedral Sq, College Green, Bristol, BS1 5DD 08451 130065
¤ South Lake Ski School WATERSPORTS
www.southlake.co.uk Waterski, jet ski, wakeboard and more 01480 216966 Bodyflight WIND TUNNEL www.bodyflight.co.uk Skydive training in a wind tunnel 0845 2002960
¤ Wokingham Canoe Club CANOEING
www wokinghamcanoeclub.co.uk Canoe centre Thames Valley Park Drive, Reading, RG6 1PQ 01189 268280 UK Wolf Conservation Trust WOLF CONSERVATION www.ukwolf.org Wolf visiting and walking Butlers Farm, Reading, Berkshire RG7 5NT 0118 9713330
WakeMK WAKEBOARDING www.wakemk.com Wakeboard and water ski centre with a cable tow, Milton Keynes Willen Lake, V10 Brickhill Street, Milton Keynes, MK15 9HQ 01908 670197 Shardeloes Farm EQUESTRIAN www.shardeloesfarm. com Horse riding school and stable Cherry Lane, Amersham, Buckinghamshire, HB7 0QF 01494 433333
¤ Lakeside Leisure DINGHY SAILING
www.lakesideleisure.com Watersports venue just outside of Peterborough Nene Park, Ham Lane, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE2 5UU 01733 234418
¤ Cambridge Climbing & Caving Club CLIMBING
www.thecccc.org.uk The Cambridge climbing and caving club See website for meet details 07810 366537 The Cambridge Dive and Watersports Centre DIVING www.cambridgediveandwatersports.co.uk Diving, sailing, kayak club 252 Cherry Hinton Road, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB1 7AU 01223 240818
Morfa Bay Adventure OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES www.morfabay.co.uk Various activities West Park, Pendine, Carmarthenshire, SA33 4PQ 01994 453588
¤ Chester Mountaineering Club MOUNTAINEERING
www.chestermc.org Mountain climbing club Blue Planet Aquarium AQUARIUM/DIVING www.blueplanetaquarium.com Aquarium with shark diving Cheshire Oaks, Cheshire, CH65 9LF 0151 3578804
¤ Clearsky Adventure Centre ADVENTURES
www.clearsky-adventure.com Co.Down, BT30 7LT 028 43723933
¤ Carrick-a-Rede to Giant’s Causeway WALKING
www.causewaycoastandglens.com Comprehensive list of coastal walking routes 11 Lodge Road, Coleraine, BT52 1LU 02870 327720
British Surfing association SURFING www.britsurf. co.uk Surf School, surf clubs, competitions Interntional surfing centre, Fistral Beach, Newquay, Cornwall, TR7 1HY 01637 876474 Camel Ski School WATER SKIING www.camelskischool.com Wakeboarding and water ski tuition Camel Ski School, The Pontoon, Rock, North Cornwall, PL27 6PD 01208 862727 Experience West ADVENTURE ACTIVITIES www.experiencewest.co.uk Sells adventure activity vouchers for all kinds of activity Cornwall/devon 08459 000316 Outdoor Adventure ADVENTURE WEEKENDS www.outdooradventure.co.uk Widemouth Bay, Bude, Cornwall, EX23 0DF 01288 362900 West Coast Surfari SURF SCHOOL www.westcoastsurfari.com Surf School and holiday organiser Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8SL 01841 520052 Richard Peirce Shark Conservation SHARK CONSERVATION/CAGE DIVING www.peirceshark.com Cage diving with sharks in the UK Dulverton House, Bude, Cornwall, EX23 8NE 01288 352608 Sea Kayaking Cornwall SEA KAYAKING www.seakayakingcornwall.com Sea kayking courses, guided tours and expeditions Falmouth, Cornwall 07768 382010
wakeboarding Fremington training, Camp, Fremington, Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 3BJ 0800 9548854 Big Blue Surf School SURFING www.bigbluesurfschool.co.uk Courses in how to surf, and how to teach to surf Mead Farm Cottage, Welcombe, Nr Bideford and Bude, North Devon, EX39 6HQ 01288 331764 Avalon Adventure KAYAKING www.outdoorpursuits. co.uk Outdoor pursuits centre 127 East street, Newton Abbot, Devon, TQ12 2LD 07966 176577 South West Coast Path WALKING www.southwestcoastpath.com Walking guide for the south west coast Devon County Council, Matford Lane Offices, Exeter, Devon, EX2 4QW 01392 383560 Exeter Canoe Club CANOEING www.exetercanoeclub. org.uk Canoeing Club 62 Haven Rd, Exeter 01392 433811
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Forest of Dean FOREST/GENERAL www.visitforestofdean.co.uk Forest of Dean information Colford Tourist Info, High Street, Coleford, Gloucestershire, GL16 8HG 01594 812388 Tipi Adventures TIPI/CANOEING www.tipiadventure. co.uk Kayak holidays and tipi specialist Doberhill Lodge, Joyford, Coleford, Gloucestershire, GL16 7AJ 01594 861666 Yeehaa Outdoors GENERAL www.yeehaaoutdoor.co.uk Various activities Forest of Dean 01531 820565
¤ Walk Eryri WALKING www.walkeryri.org.uk Site
showing routes and information on walking trails in Eryri
¤ Adrenalin Antics CANYONING/CLIFF JUMPING
Bundoran Surf Company SURF SCHOOL www.bundoransurfco.com Surf School Main Street, Bundoran, Co.Donegal, Ireland 071 9841968
www.adrenalinantics.com Various activities 6 New Street, Aberdovey, Gwynedd, LL35 0EH 01645 767655
¤ Adrenaline Sailing School SAILING
¤ Lakeland Experience WALKING
www.lakelandexperience.co.uk Offers guided walks in the Lake District 07876 346215 The KMC ROCK CLIMBING www.thekmc.org Climbing club in the Lake District Pleasure in Leisure AQUASEILING www.pleasureinleisure.co.uk Agency organising adventure activities in the Lake District Seatle Farm, Field Broughton, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria, LA11 6HT 01539 535999 Keswick Climbing Wall CLIMBING www.keswickclimbingwall.co.uk Climbing school and wall Southey Hill, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 5NR 01768 772000 Cycle Active MOUNTAIN BIKING www.cycleactive. co.uk A cycle holiday and mountain bike training company. Brougham Hall, Brougham, Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2DE 01768 840402 River Deep Mountain High ADVENTURES www.riverdeepmountainhigh.co.uk Various activities Low Wood, Haverthwaite, Cumbria, LA12 8LY 01539 531116 Go Higher MOUNTAINEERING www.gohigher.co.uk Mountain guiding and climbing Distington, Cumbria, CA14 4QQ 01946 830476 Honister Slate Mine MINE EXPLORATION www.honister-slate-mine.co.uk Climbing/abseil/ underground exploration Honister Pass, Lake District 017687 77230
¤ Acclimbatize (Derbyshire Outdoors) CANOEING
www.derbyshireoutdoors.co.uk Rock climbing, caving, abseiling and more 148 Starkholmes Rd, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 5JA 01629 820268
S2AS KITE SURFING www.s2as.com Surfing, windsurfing, kiting and snowboarding, retail and tuition 01202 738448 Poole Sailing YACHT SAILING www.poolesailing.co.uk Sailing club offering courses etc. 85 Moriconium Quay, Lake Avenue, Poole, Dorset, BH 15 4QP 07770 781235 Zorb South UK ZORBING www.zorbsouth.co.uk Get in an inflatable ball and roll down a hill! Pine Lodge Farm, Bockhampton, Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 8QL 01929 426595 Dorset Scuba Diving DIVING www.divedorset.com South West dive centre Based at Aqua Hotel, Casletown, Portland, Dorset, DT5 1BD The Paracademy Extreme KITING www.paracademyextreme.co.uk Kite courses Victoria Sq., Portland, Dorset, DT5 1AL 01305 824797 Skim Board UK SKIMMING www.skimuk.org.uk Skim Boarding asscociation 51 Henbury Close, Poole, Dorset, BH17 8AU 0845 2037546
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www.sailing-courses.co.uk RYA Sailing and powerboat courses 18 Cooperage Green, Royal Clarence Yard, Weevil Lane, Gosport, Hampshire, PO12 1FY 02392 587755 Woodmill Outdoor Centre SEA KAYAKING www.woodmill.co.uk Kayak and canoe courses Woodmill Lane, Swaythling, Southampton, SO18 2JR 02380 915740 Calshot Activities VARIED www.calshot.com Various activities Calshot Spit, Fawley, Southampton, Hamps., SO45 1BR 023 80892077
¤ Rambling Holidays WALKING cw.ramblersholidays.co.uk
Rambling holiday agency Lemsford Mill, Herts, AL8 7TR 01707 386800 Impact Falconry FALCONRY www.impact-falconry.co.uk Falconry demos + courses Blackbird Farm, Aldenham, Herts, WD25 8BS 020 84210970
¤ Highland Activities White Water Canoeing
¤ Stubbers JET SKI www.stubbers.co.uk Various activities
Ockendon Road, Upminster, Essex RM14 2TY 01708 224753 Essex Outdoor Activity CLAY PIGEON SHOOTING www.essexoutdooractivity.co.uk Various activities Hedingham Rd, Halstead, Essex, CO9 2QN 01368 711630 Greenman Bushcraft Ltd. BUSHCRAFT www.greenmanbushcraft.co.uk Bushcraft skills course PO Box 9137, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 9FY 0845 6036255
¤ Outdoor Training Team ADVENTURE EVENTS
www.ott-ltd.co.uk Outdoor events organiser/Adventure race organiser 0141 9404313 Cloudbusters PARAGLIDING www.cloudbusters.co.uk Paragliding and motorgliding Glasgow 07899 878509
Forest Adeventure outdoor centre OUTDOOR CENTRE www.forestadventure.co.uk Adventure activities in the forest of Dean. Anything from climbing to kayaking Doberhill Lodge, The Lonk, Joyford, Coleford. GL16 7AJ 01594 834661 Questars ADVENTURE RACES www.questars.co.uk Adventure race organisers Stokes Marsh, Coulston, Westbury, BA13 4NZ 01380 831388 Wyedean Canoe and Adventure Centre KAYAK AND CANOEING www.wyedean.co.uk Various activities 01594 833238
www.highlandactivities.co.uk Various activities Keepers Cottage, Tulloch, Highlands of Scotland, PH31 4AR 08450 945513 No Fuss Events ADVENTURE www.nofussevents.co.uk Outdoor events organiser/Adventure race organiser Nationwide 01397 772899 Ace Adventures GENERAL www.aceadventures.co.uk Various activities Grampian Rd, Aviemore, PH22 1PT 01479 810510
Isle of Man
¤ Adventurous Experiences ADVENTURE
www.adventurousexperiences.com Various activities Ballabrooie, Patrick Rd, St. Johns, Isle of Man, IM4 3BR 01624 843034
Isle of Wight
¤ Aqua Diving School DIVING www.aquadivingschool.
co.uk Scuba diving school 22 Sandy Lane, Shanklin, Isle of Wight, PO37 7DT 01983 863359 IoW Surf SURF SCHOOL www.iowsurf.com Mobile surf school around the Isle of Wight Isle of Wight 07968 609169
¤ Adventures Unimited GENERAL www.jerseyadventures.
com Various activities 11 Jardin de la Fontaine, St Martin, JE3 6JD 01534 873074
¤ EBO Adventure OUTDOOR ACTIVITY CENTRE www.
fremingtonadventure.com Canoe, kayaking, dinghy sailing, kite surfing, power kiting, sailing, scuba diving, water skiing,
72 Outdoor adventure guide
¤ Transition Kiteboarding KITE LANDBOARDING
www.transitionkiteboarding.com Offers courses in kiteboarding and power kiting Beach Walk, Whitstable, Kent, CT5 2BP 02032 395501 Bewl Water WATER SPORTS www.bewl.co.uk Various watersports and fishing Bewlbridge Lane, Lamberhurst, Kent, TN3 8JH 01892 890661 Joss Bay Surf SURF SCHOOL www.jossbay.co.uk Surf School N.Foreland Hill, Broadstairs, Kent 07812 991195
Black Knights PARACHUTING www.totaltravel.co.uk Travel Agency with listings for outdoor adventure companies 43 Garstone Croft, Preston, Lancashire, PR2 3WY 01772 717624 Outdoor Elements GENERAL www.outdoorelements. co.uk Various activities 42 Sylvan Drive, Lancashire, BB11 5PY 01282 416396 West Coast Kite Boarding KITING www.westcoastkiteboarding.co.uk Kite courses Lancashire 07913 017925
¤ British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association HANG
& PARAGLIDING www.bhpa.co.uk Sets training standards for all courses and qualifications, and has a list of registered schools The Old Schoolroom, Loughborough Road, Leicester, LE4 5PJ 0116 2611322
¤ Tallington Lakes Water sports www.tallington.com
Dry ski slope, waterski, wakeboard and more Barholm Road, Tallington, Stamford, Lincs, PE9 4RJ 01778 347000
Sno Zone SNOWSPORTS www.snozone.co.uk Indoor ski, ice climbing 0871 2225670 Visit North East England TOURIST INFO www.visitnortheastengland.com Tourist information for the North East of England Women Go Wild WOMEN’S ADVENTURE www.womengowildoutdoors.com Women specific outdoor adventure specialists The Date Outdoors DATING AGENCY www.thedateoutdoors.com Date agency for outdoor enthusiasts Firefight Combat Situations AIRSOFT www.firefight. co.uk Airsoft event organiser Nationwide 07900 906281 Mountain Bike Britain MOUNTAIN BIKE www.mtbbritain.co.uk Website offering info on bike routes and clubs around the uk Nationwide n/a Delta Force Paintball PAINTBALL www.paintballgames. co.uk Paintballing events Nationwide 0844 4775050
Splash Whitewater Rafting Duckies www.rafting.co.uk Abseil, canyoning, bridge swinging, white water rafting and more Dunkeld Road, Aberfeldy, Perthshire, PH15 2AQ 01887 820303
¤ Black Mountain Activities MULTI-ACTIVITY
www.blackmountain.co.uk Rock Climbing, high level ropes, white water rafting, kayaking, gorge and hill walking and land carting Three Cocks, Brecon, Powys, LD3 OSD 01497 847897
¤ Green Events Events www.green-events.co.uk Outdoor
Call of the wild CANYONING www.callofthewild.co.uk Adventure activities agent 83 Church Road, Seven Sisters, Neaths, SA10 9DT 01639 700388
¤ Eastern Extreme Kiting www.eastern-extreme.com
Kite courses The Ravine, Gorleston-On-Sea, Norfolk, NR31 6DX 01502 735725
Nene Whitewater Centre White Water Rafting www.nenewhitewatercentre.co.uk Canoe, kayak, white water rafting centre Bedford Rd, Northampton, NN4 7AA 01604 634040
events organiser/Adventure race organiser Wales 01591 610850
¤ Wet and Wild ADVENTURE SPORTS www.wetwild.co.uk
Various events 10 Redrose Hill, Ystrad, Rhondda, CF41 7PU 01443 439000
¤ Anglian Water Leisure CYCLING www.
anglianwaterleisure.co.uk Resevoirs with water sports Empingham, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 8PX 01572 653026 Anglian Water Leisure WATER SPORTS www.anglianwaterleisure.co.uk Watersports centre Empingham, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 8PX 01572 653026
¤ MB7.com MOUNTAIN BIKING www.mb7.com
Mountain bike guiding and courses Scottish Borders, EH45 8JF 0870 6093096
¤ The Edge Mountain Boarding www.ridetheedge.co.uk
Abseiling. Clamddwr Cottage, Llandegla Road, Llanarmon Yn lal, CH7 4QX 07950 103872
¤ Northern Freestyle Kite Landboarding
www.northernfreestyle.co.uk Kite facility with instruction Unit 8A, Coquetdale Ent Park, NE65 0PE 01665 714777
Quad, mountain bike, mountain board, archery, and more Walton Grange, Much Wenlock, Shropshire, TF13 6PP 01952 727491
¤ Bomere WAKEBOARDING/WATER SKIING www.
¤ AbseilUK ABSEILING www.abseiluk.com Courses in
¤ Skyline WHITE WATER RAFTING www.skylinerafting.
co.uk White water rafting across the UK Skyline, 31 Corsica Street, London, N5 1JT 08703 451000 Outdoor Swimming Society Swimming www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com Outdoor swim club Milk Studios, 34 Southern Row, London, W10 5AN Castle Climbing CLIMBING www.castle-climbing.co.uk Climbing wall with instruction and equipment hire London, N4 2HA 020 82117000 Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre SAILING www.dswc.org Sailing and Watersports club London, E14 3QS 020 75372626 Clapham Angling Preservation Society ANGLING www. claphamangling.co.uk Angling pools and angling club London, SW19 020 85427792
National Water Sports Centre WATER SPORTS www.nationalwatersportsevents.co.uk White water rafting, water skiing, powerboat courses, sailing courses, kayak courses and more in the Nottingham area Adbolton Lane, Holme, Pierrepont, Nottingham, NG12 2LU 0115 9455213
bomere.co.uk Waterski, wakeboard centre Apartment A, The Hunting Lodge, Bomere Pool, Condover, SY5 7AP 01743 872122
mbruk.co.uk Site offering maps of cycle routes across the UK 59 Stooham, South Pethertom, Somerset TA13 5AS 01460 242788 Cobbs Cross Activity Centre ARCHERY www.cobbscrossactivitycentre.co.uk Offers a range of outdoor adventure activities Cobbs Cross Farm, Goathurst, Bridgewater, Somerset, TA5 2DN 01278 671945 Weston Speedsail School SPEEDSAILING www.speedsail.com Windsurfing and skating combine to make speedsail 103 Mead Vale, Worle, Weston-super-Mare, North somerset, BS22 8XE 01934 511780
Hardwick Parks WATERSPORTS www.hardwickparks. co.uk Watersports centre Downs Road, Standlake, Oxfordshire, OX29 7PZ 01865 300501
¤ West Wales Wind, Surf and Sailing Wind Surfing
¤ Red Point climbing CLIMBING
www.redpointclimbingcentre.co.uk Climbing wall with instruction and equipment hire Birmingham, B19 3SU 0121 3591777
¤ Black Mountain Activities GENERAL www.
blackmountain.co.uk Varied adventure activities Brecon Beacons, Wales 01497 847897
¤ Paracademy PARAKARTING www.kitesports.co.uk
Courses and instructor courses in parakiting, land boarding, power kiting and kite surfing. 020 83782138 Go Ape HIGH ROPES www.goape.co.uk Nationwide tree-top adventure course Nationwide Nationwide 08456 439215 South Downs Way WALKING www.nationaltrail.co.uk Offers advice on cycle and walking routes around the UK 01243 558716
www.surfdale.co.uk Windsurfing and sailing tuition and courses Surf and Sailing, Dale, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, SA62 3RB 01646 636642
¤ TYF COASTEERING www.tyf.com Coasteering, sea
kayaking, surfing, and rock climbing 1 High Street, St. Davids, Pembrokeshire, SA62 6SA 01437 721611 Quadra Boats POWER BOATS www.quadraboats.co.uk Power boat courses Neyland, Pembrokeshire, Wales, SA73 1SE 01646 602999 TYF ADVENTURE HOLIDAYS www.tyf.com Adventure Holidays and varied activities Freshwater Bay, Pembrokeshire, SA71 5LW 01646 672764
Nae Limits ADVENTURE SPORTS www.naelimits.co.uk Canyoning, white water rafting, cliff jumping, duckies, river dugs, adventure tubing, freefall abseiling, paintall etc Ballinluig, Pitlochry, Perthshire, PH9 0LG 08450 178177 National Kayak School KAYAKING www.nationalkayakschool.com Kayak guiding service as well as offering courses in all forms of kayaking Sunny Weem, Aberfeldy, Perthshire, PH15 2LD 01887 820498
¤ Mountain Bike Routes UK MOUNTAIN BIKING www. ¤ ¤
¤ Walking Britain WALKING www.walkingbritain.co.uk
The encycleopedia of walking routes in the UK PO Box 2805, Stafford, ST16 9ES, UK
¤ Suffolk Water Sports Association WATER SPORTS
www.suffolkwatersports.co.uk Watersports centre Woodbridge Youth Centre, The Aavenue, Kingston Road, Woodbridge, IP12 4BA 01394 382007 Suffolk Shooting School ARCHERY, QUADS & SHOOTING www.suffolkshootingschool.co.uk Shooting school, quad, archery and more Wildtracks offroad activity park, Chippenham Rd, Kennett, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 7QJ 01638 750496
¤ Element BUNGEE JUMPING www.exelement.co.uk
Playboys paradise, organises extreme activity events Unit 5, Fonthill Road, Hove Business Centre, BN3 6HA 08458 629900 Air Works PARAGLIDING www.airworks.co.uk Paragliding/hang gliding The Old Station, Glynde, E.Sussex, BN8 6SS 01273 858108 Sussex Mountainbiking MOUNTAIN BIKING www. sussex-mtb.com Mountain bike club Sussex Scuba SCUBA DIVING www.sussexscuba.co.uk Scuba diving club Waterfront Warehouse, 122 Queens Rd., E.Grinstead, W.Sussex, RH19 1BD 01342 312622 Orb 360 ZORBING www.orb360.co.uk Zorbing Devils Dyke Farm, Devils Dyke Rd, BN1 8YJ 01273 880045
¤ ¤ ¤
¤ Gower Kite Riders KITING/PADDLE SURF
www.gowerkiteriders.com Kite surfing, windsurfing gower peninsula 11 Clifton Terrace, Mumbles, Swansea, SA3 4EJ 01792 367453 Gower Surfing Surf School www.gowersurfing.co.uk Surf School PO Box 83, Swansea, SA3 4XX 01792 360370
¤ Walking Guide WALKING www.shepherdswalks.co.uk
Online guide to walking routes in the North of England and Scotland Newcastle, NE19 2PE 01830 540453 Serac Outdoor Sports CLIMBING/WALKING www. seracoutdoorsports.co.uk Walking and rock climbing courses St Georges Old Vicarage, 2 Ashleigh Villas, Tyne & Wear, NE36 0LA 0191 5194495
¤ UK Skydiving SKYDIVING www.ukskydiving.co.uk
Skydive/parachute school Netheravon, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP4 9SF 0845 3301676 Par Avion PARAGLIDING www.par-avion.co.uk Paragliding/hang gliding Elm Tree Park, Marlborough, Wiltshire, SN8 1PS 01672 861380
¤ Humber Parascending PARASAILING
www.humberparascending.co.uk Offers parasailing (flying behind a boat with a parachute) on the river Humber 8 Langdale Drive, Keyingham, Hull HU12 9TG 01964 603018 Guy Wilson Mountaineering MOUNTAINEERING www.navtraining.co.uk Provides navigation and orienteering courses 19 Red Scar Lane, Newby, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO12 5RH 07894 213548 Yorkshire Dales Guides OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES www.yorkshiredalesguides.co.uk Provides hiking and walking guides in the Yorkshire Dales and beyond Barrel Sykes, Langcliffe, Settle, North Yorkshire, BD24 9LP 01729 824455 Dales Mountain Biking MOUNTAIN BIKING www.dalesmountainbiking.co.uk Mountain bike guiding, skills training and holiday packages in the Swaledale are all available here West Hagg, Richmond, North Yorkshire DL11 6AU 01748 884356 Another World MOUNTAIN BOARDING www.mountainboarding.co.uk Mountain board centre with different level slopes, jumps and even lifts Keighley Road, Ogden, Halifax HX2 8XD 01422 245196 Yorkshire QUADNATION Quad Biking www.quadnation. co.uk Quad trekking and guiding, also rents quads with guide Go Ballistic House, Chatsworth Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 5HS 08706 260714 Parson House SCRAMBLING www.parsonhouse.co.uk Outdoor pursuits centre Longshaw, Sheffield, S11 7TZ 01433 631017 BTCV CONSERVATION www2.btcv.org.uk Volunteer conservation Doncaster, DN4 8DB 01302 388883 Sheffield Ski Village SKI www.sheffieldskivillage.co.uk Dry Ski Slope Sheffield, S3 9SJ 0114 2526511
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¤ John Battleday Waterski WATERSPORTS www.jbski.
com Watersports centre Thorpe Rd, Chertsey, Surrey KT16 8PH 0870 6061270
Outdoor adventure guide