Author Archives: sian

At home with Olympic cyclist Laura Trott and DFS

July 14, 2016 § Leave a reply

It takes a gruelling training regime and a whole lot of passion to prep for the Olympics, even if you’re as talented as gold medallist Laura Trott. DFS, sponsors of Team GB, have been working with the team’s rising stars to look at the importance of rest and relaxation in the run up to Rio 2016.

This is a paid advertorial for DFS


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Lake Titicaca and the Incan sun

July 6, 2016 § 2 Replies

One of the most magical places I have visited in the world is the Island of the Sun on Lake Titicaca. The Incas knew it as the birthplace of the sun, and it’s easy to see why – the sunset over the Chicana ruins, which look over to the border of Peru across the lake is the most breathtaking sight, a seamless transition from pink sky to merging layers of clouds, mountains and sea, dotted with black islands.

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

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Review: Fjallraven Kanken rucksack from Blackleaf

July 5, 2016 § Leave a reply

I doubt I have to introduce you to the coolest backback on the block – Fjallraven’s iconic Kanken design. I’ve been wanting one of these dinky-yet-durable rucksacks for ages, so I have been very happy reviewing this oxblood beauty from the Fjallraven Kanken rucksack range at Blackleaf (from £47.95). On Saturday it came to meet ponies in the New Forest with me.

14kanken fjallraven kanken review

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Interview: how to quit your day job and head to the mountains

June 14, 2016 § 2 Replies

Ever felt the urge to swap city life for snowy hills, chalet living and skiing in your lunch break? Kat and Al Judge did too, and in 2010 they upped sticks to the beautiful snow-clad mountains of Morzine to start up their luxury chalet company, AliKats (get it?). Kat told me the inspiring story of creating her dream in Morzine and explains how keen seasonnaires could join the AliKats team for the 2016/17 winter season.

Interview: how to quit your day job and head to the mountains, Kat Judge

Interview: how to quit your day job and head to the mountains, Kat Judge

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10 summer evening adventures to take this week

June 13, 2016 § 2 Replies

Long summer evenings were made for little adventures. It’s time to stop seeing the working week as something to get through, (‘Hump Day’: ICK) and learn to savour hours of balmy sunshine. Tick off some of my favourite outdoor escapes and I promise you you’ll see week days in a whole new light.

Summer evening adventures - ten micro adventure ideas

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Going solo: how to travel alone and find adventure buddies

June 3, 2016 § 5 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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Amazing active road trips for The Independent

June 1, 2016 § Leave a reply

Dreaming of the road less travelled? Roaring down a ribbon of Tarmac through wild open spaces is one of life’s great pleasures, and exploring by car is the perfect way to combine discovering a new place with active adventure. Try one of my favourite active road trips, from buzzing round Ibiza in a hippy campervan to island-hopping in Sweden and exploring Nova Scotia on four wheels.


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Catch up on all my active travel articles for The Independent

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 § 1 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 § 261 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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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 § 13 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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Wild swimming at the Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye

March 30, 2016 § 3 Replies

Take a dip somewhere a little bit magic – the Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye. Crystal clear icy water flows from the foot of the Cuillin mountains, forming lagoons and waterfalls that’ll both enchant you and give you serious brain freeze.

fairy13new Fairy Pools Isle of Skye

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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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