I had a blast helping Greentraveller to create these beautiful new video guides to each of Wales’ eight protected landscapes (that’s Anglesey, Gower, the Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia, Llyn Peninsula, Wye Valley, Pembrokeshire and the Clwydian Range). Celebrate Visit Wales’ Year of Adventure by using the guides to explore the mountains and coastline of this magical land. Here’s a taste of the beautiful landscapes we filmed in.
These nutritious little oatmeal, coconut and chocolate chip energy balls are packed with protein. Make a bath over the weekend and take them on your travels – they are perfect for stuffing in your cycling jersey on a ride or keeping in your CamelBak on a long-distance trail runs. Or just scoff them on the sofa, I won’t tell anyone.
Lucky enough to have a Glasto ticket? Planning on moshing at Reading or Leeds? Taking the sedate path at a family-friendly shindig? Wherever you are heading, take heed of my definitive festival packing guide which I have compiled from the front line (a muddy field).
If you conjured up the perfect cottage it couldn’t be much more charming than Little Holme, one of English Country Cottage‘s properties nestled in the heart of Dartmoor. Take a thatch, roaring fire and roses round the door and add the wild beauty of the moors and you’ve got a pretty special escape.
I’m trying to film more of my adventures this year, and while it’s hard to lug my D-SLR along on a bike packing trip or a gallop on horseback, I hope these iPhone video snaps make for a nice taste of how it feels to wake up and go walking in one of the most beautiful places in Britain.
In deepest darkest February I headed to Snowdonia to climb Crib Goch. My mountain-goat mates Gavin, Chris and I set up camp in the darkness and woke by the side of a tarn in a peaceful valley at the foot of Snowdon. Bleary-eyed, we packed up and set off along the Pyg track, past various ominous signs warning that the narrow grade 1 scramble we had in mind was ‘for expert climbers only’. Hmm. Whilst technically not difficult, the ridge definitely isn’t a walk in the park – I was glad of my years of bouldering and often had nothing but a wobbly grip on icy rocks with sheer drops to either side.
The wind buffeted us as we stopped for essential sustenance (pork pies) and then clambered up to the highest ridge. And there the wind suddenly dropped and all around us were silent, snow-clad peaks, green valleys and mirror-like lakes. I could have looked at the view forever but daylight was precious, so we strapped on crampons for the slick, icy path back down, where we promptly headed to Llanberis to thaw out in a warm pub. The perfect weekend.
In my quest for outdoors-ready gear that you can wear down the pub I review the fully waterproof Berghaus Ancroft parka, stocked by GO Outdoors. Stormproof, furry-hooded and a bit of a looker, it’s now reduced to only £140.
I noticed on a cycle a few days ago that the wild garlic is starting to spring up. It’s the perfect find for a foraging newbie as it’s easy to spot in woodlands (look for the wide leaves, small white flowers and the smell of garlic!) and easy to cook with. Why not dig up some bulbs, pick a handful of the leaves and make my wild garlic soda bread this weekend?
Sunny meadows, secret coves, sleepy fishing villages, pasties to stuff in your face – Cornwall was made for proper summer camping adventures, just like the ones you went on as a little’un. Pack a tent and a surfboard and spend your days exploring Kernow’s loveliest places and your nights kipping under a sky full of stars at one of these brilliant campsites.
Ever wondered what explorers and athletes have squirrelled away in their rucksacks? I picked ten classics must-haves for the Red Bull Adventure blog – they’re the first thing to chuck in your kit bag for any adventure.
I’m totally addicted to sweaty-faced, jelly-legged, all-weather running. From massive mental health benefits and city mapping to living out Taylor Swift fantasies, these are all the reasons you should lace up your trainers and hit the city streets or woodland trails.
If you’re dreaming of a summer spent getting to grips with granite or just fancy giving climbing a try, now’s the time to get training at Britain’s best indoor walls and bouldering centres. From rad bouldering warehouses to UV climbing walls, I rounded up my ten favourites for Red Bull’s Adventure blog.
Here’s how to have a stellar spring weekend. Stick on wellies. Fill car with friends of the two and four-legged varieties. Go on a windswept walk somewhere suitably bucolic and then warm up with a cider by the fire in one of these lovely pubs, which are all very happy to have your mutt mates come too.
Three hours south of Perth you’ll find the beautiful winery and surf mecca of Margaret River. Wave-chaser Karina Kold explored the rolling breaks and hidden vineyards of this Western Australian gem and wrote a little guide to her favourite places for The Girl Outdoors. Because surfing + wine: an excellent idea.
Need a dose of sea and serious calm? Head to Chapel House, a light-filled sanctuary in pretty Penzance that feels more stylish home from home than stuffy hotel. This lovely place to stay is the perfect base for hunting out my favourite places to eat, surf and explore along the Cornish coast. And you’ll have an excellent bath.
Last Autumn I went on an epic walk with Exodus to the summit of Mount Kenya. It took five days to reach the top, where I had a little cry. Let’s blame that on the altitude.
Here’s my pretty much verbatim diary of a trek through some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet whilst wearing dodgy socks and eating ginger biscuits on a tactical basis.
A few things have inspired me to put this post together. Firstly, lots of you are searching for topics like ‘how can I be more adventurous?’. Ah, the eternal question! Secondly, I had a lovely Facebook message from a reader, thus: “Hey! Inspired by your blog and want to do the same thing as you. I don’t know anyone who is like me and I’ve been too nervous to get out and travel alone. What would you suggest I do?”. I feel ya, sister. So I asked lots of adventurous women for you and thought up some of my own advice. Here we go!
There are plenty of ways to explore spotless winter landscapes that don’t involve hurtling downhill on skis or a snowboard. In my latest column for The Independent’s travel pages I’ve got some great ideas for adventuring in snow – how about elk-spotting safaris in Norway or snowshoeing in Whistler?
Is your cycling getting a little tyred (sorry)? My brilliant and bike-mad mate Mary Spender shows you how to revamp old kit with a few cans of spray paint. Because colour coodination definitely makes you go faster.
How to best test out the new Tribute II GTX trekking boots, £139.95 from Aku? Give them to your awesome travel writer bestie before she heads off to Japan on a winter adventure. Lucy Thackray tries the Tributes out whilst temple-hopping in Tokyo.
I travelled to the Aegean islands of Lesvos and Chios for Greentraveller to put together a travel guide to these magical communities, and discovered a treasure trove of history and natural beauty, of untouched landscapes, azure waters and a very friendly welcome in ancient stone villages. Check out the video we made whilst on the islands, filmed by the fantastic Alex Cantouris.
My fantastic mate Charlie is one of my adventure inspirations – she’s always just back from amazing places (Ethiopia’s up next) and she’s super travel savvy. She recently set out to prove that you can explore some of the most incredible parts of Iceland’s surreal glacial landscape in just three days. On a budget. With your mum.
Testing out Arcteryx’s new Atom SL Hoody (£170). Super light at just 235 grams and compact enough to fit in a pocket, this is an efficient and reliably warm mid layer. But is it worth the hefty price tag?
If you’re lacking motivation to get out and exercise in the cold and rain, I hear you – I’m currently mainlining chocolate digestives and watching another storm approaching on the horizon. However help is to hand! Try togging yourself up in my favourite warm and wonderful pieces of sport wear – they’ll cheer up any workout.
An all-girl ski trip to St Anton Am Arlberg in the gorgeous Tirol region of Austria to celebrate Snowsport England’s fantastic GO SKI GO BOARD initiative, encouraging everyone to give snowsports a try in partnership with the #ThisGirlCan campaign. We took to the pistes during St Anton’s Ladies First weeks for a few days of exploring in the forests, falling over in deep powder and eating our bodyweight in potatoes.
If your weekly 10k around the park is starting to feel a little repetitive try an adrenaline-fuelled airborne adventure. Air Charter Service recently put together an Air Adrenaline Guide which is guaranteed to have you itching to soar through the skies in a plane, hang off cliff faces or float away in a hot air balloon.
I’ve been tearing around the Austrian pistes and the Welsh mountains in Odlo’s Blackcomb Evolution range of winter sport underwear, partly made from recyclable materials. I tested out the long baselayer pants (£65) and baselayer shirt (£65). Cosy, comfy and saving the planet – I’m a big fan.
Bouldering, sport climbing and general scrabbling around on rock faces is great fun, but it’s not very kind on your mitts. You’ll have to say goodbye to nice fingernails, but you can still keep your hands in reasonable shape with a bit of care.
In 2015 veterinary surgeon Sophie Wilford took on the toughest horse race in the world. Modelled on Chinggis Khaan’s postal route across the Mongolian steppes, the Mongol Derby, run by the crazy cats at The Adventurists, involves navigating 1000km of wild grassland with no set route and spending nights with local families in traditional gers. She tells me about the incredible people, epic landscapes and painful nether regions that made up her race.
Captivated by David Attenborough’s explorations of the place he calls “the most magical thing I ever saw in my life”? I was too. The Great Barrier Reef, a 2,000km stretch of coral that hugs almost the whole length of Queensland’s shore is, after all, nature on an epic scale. I spent a week there in November for The Independent, flying high above the reef in a seaplane and diving deep below the water in a magical underwater world.
If one of your New Year resolutions is to dust off your bike and go exploring country lanes, woodland trails and shining mountain roads on two wheels then Halford’s fantastic new cycling essentials guide will help you kit yourself and your trusty steed up in style with kit checklists and handy tips.
Crackling logs, the smell of canvas, charcoal-like marshmallows burning your fingers… camping is pretty great, isn’t it? If the weather’s looking on the clement side and you’re itching to run for the hills and set up a tent in the wilderness, here’s a handy camping packing list of all the essentials you need to stay warm and dry. Plus whisky. Don’t forget the whisky.
It ain’t easy looking good in a blizzard, but help is at hand! These wonder products will help you ski, surf and have slightly blue hair all winter long, without the cracked lips and chapped face. All together now: “the cold never bothered me anyway!”.
Another summer, another awesome climbing weekend on the stunning Dorset coast. Gavin, Beren, Pete and I headed to the Isle of Purbeck to conquer some rock, indulge in some salty sea swims and try some mental local cider.