Author Archives: sian

Review: Waterproofing down with Nikwax

May 25, 2016 § Leave a reply

They say there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear. But good clothing which can’t stand up to showers is going to kill your outdoors buzz pretty fast. Enter Nikwax, here to waterproof and protect your kit like a boss. And now they’ve turned their waterproofing prowess to Rab’s Continuum jacket, filled with their water-repellent down.

Review: Waterproofing down with Nikwax

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A hike through the Brecon Beacons with JT Expeditions

May 25, 2016 § Leave a reply

Searching for a little adventure inspiration? I joined the awesome Jake Thompsett of JT Expeditions for an expedition training hike through the beautiful hills of the Brecon Beacons and asked him for his five top pieces of advice for multi-day hiking.

A hike through the Brecon Beacons with JT Expeditions - how to go multi day hiking top tips

A hike through the Brecon Beacons with JT Expeditions - how to go multi day hiking top tips

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Spring on the Isles of Scilly

May 19, 2016 § Leave a reply

I’m just back from one of my favourite places in the world – the tiny, otherworldly Isles of Scilly, off the coast of Cornwall. I’ve been rowing gigs, learning the stories of old shipwrecks and fishing for razor clams for BBC Countryfile Magazine – my island stories will be published soon, but in the mean time here are are some snapshots of life on Tresco and Bryher.

Spring on the Isles of Scilly

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COMPETITION: Win a Coleman Bering 4 man tent from Outdoor World Direct

May 11, 2016 § 248 Replies

Balmy summer days call for sleeping out under the stars, so get your mitts on the fantastic Coleman Bering four-man tent from Outdoor World Direct. Easy to assemble and with plenty of room for all your mates, this is the perfect tent to take on your adventures, and I’ve got one worth £199 give away.

COMPETITION: Win a Coleman Bering 4 man tent from Outdoor World Direct
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My festival essentials packing list for Red Bull

May 10, 2016 § Leave a reply

Festival season is almost upon us, and whether you’re planning on moshing at Reading, chilling out at Wilderness or having a little cry to Adele at Glastonbury, there’s one thing you can count on if you’re spending a weekend living in a British field – changeable weather. I rounded up my pick of the kit you absolutely need to pack for Red Bull, so you can get on with the important stuff, like pulling obnoxious dance moves and drinking warm cider.

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Outdoor adventures and #RidiculousPossibilities with TK Maxx

May 6, 2016 § Leave a reply

What are you up to this weekend? Can you squeeze in a last-minute adventure? Whatever you’ve got planned you can get kitted up at TK Maxx‘s fantastic Outdoor World event, which is filling stores with amazing kit at fantastic prices. They set me the challenge of popping in to a store and seeing what #RidiculousPossibilities I could create with what I found.

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My pick of the best surf camps for beginners for The Independent

May 4, 2016 § Leave a reply

They say salt water can cure anything, and a week of catching waves, napping in hammocks and toasting the sunset at a remote surf camp is definitely a salve for the stresses of daily life. Never caught a wave before? No problem. Escape and recharge at one of my pick of the best beginner-friendly camps for the Independent’s travel pages.

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Going solo: how to travel alone and find adventure buddies

May 1, 2016 § 3 Replies

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!
Going solo: travelling alone and finding adventure buddies

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My guide to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

April 25, 2016 § 2 Replies

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.

Here’s the story of my first dive, at a bommie off Heron Island.

And here is my full guide to visiting the Great Barrier Reef.

Read on for a few photos from the trip.

Girl's travel guide to Australia's Great Barrier Reef

Girl's travel guide to Australia's Great Barrier Reef

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Greentraveller’s guide to the protected landscapes of Wales

April 22, 2016 § Leave a reply

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.

Find the full Greentraveller’s Guide and read my guide to where to stay, eat and explore on the Gower Peninsula.

Recipe: No bake protein energy balls

April 20, 2016 § Leave a reply

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.

Recipe: No bake protein energy balls

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How to: survive a festival – the essential packing list

April 19, 2016 § 12 Replies

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).
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Places to stay: Little Holme cottage, Dartmoor

April 7, 2016 § Leave a reply

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.

Places to stay: Little Holme cottage, Dartmoor with English Country Cottages

Places to stay: Little Holme cottage, Dartmoor with English Country Cottages

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Wild camping in Snowdonia and scrambling up Crib Goch

April 5, 2016 § 4 Replies

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.

Wild camping in Snowdonia and scrambling up Crib Goch video

Recipe: brilliant wild garlic bread

April 3, 2016 § 2 Replies

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?

Wild garlic bread recipe

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Climbing Mount Kenya

April 1, 2016 § 2 Replies

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.

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Five of the best Cornish campsites

March 29, 2016 § Leave a reply

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.

Five of the best campsites in Cornwall

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My pick of the best British climbing walls for Red Bull

March 14, 2016 § 1 Reply

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.

10 best UK climbing walls
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12 of the best dog-friendly pubs in the UK

March 13, 2016 § 1 Reply

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.

12 of the best dog-friendly pubs in the UK

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Karina Kold surfs Margaret River, Western Australia

March 11, 2016 § Leave a reply

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.

Surf guide to Margeret River, Australia

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Places to stay: Chapel House, Penzance

March 6, 2016 § 1 Reply

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.

Review of Chapel House, Penzance, Cornwall

Review of Chapel House, Penzance, Cornwall

Review of Chapel House, Penzance, Cornwall

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Snow adventures for non-skiiers

February 23, 2016 § Leave a reply

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?

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Read my full column and other travel articles for The Independent

Review: Aku Tribute II GTX trekking boots in Japan AKU Tribute II GTX and the price is

February 22, 2016 § Leave a reply

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.

Review of Aku Tribute GTX trekking boots

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My Greentraveller’s guide to the Greek islands of Lesvos and Chios

February 18, 2016 § Leave a reply

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.

Greentraveller’s guide to the Greek islands of Lesvos and Chios


Read my Greentraveller’s Guide to Lesvos and Chios in Greece.

Charlie Newman’s pocket-friendly adventures in Iceland

February 16, 2016 § 4 Replies

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.

Iceland on a budget travel guide

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Fantastic fitness kit for winter training

February 11, 2016 § Leave a reply

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.

fitness kit for winter training 2016

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Skiing in St Anton am Arlberg with GO SKI GO BOARD and #ThisGirlCan

February 11, 2016 § Leave a reply

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.

Skiing in St Anton am Arlberg with GO SKI GO BOARD and #ThisGirlCan

Skiing in St Anton am Arlberg with GO SKI GO BOARD and #ThisGirlCan

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Adrenaline in the air

February 8, 2016 § Leave a reply

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.

skydive

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