Cumbria, you’re a bit of all right. Here are my favourite walks, wild swims, campsites and cycle routes in the land of lofty fells and deep blue waters, plus a stay at the Beech Hill Hotel on the banks of Windermere.
My favourite things from a very chilled out week on the Greek island of Santorini, a volcanic haven in the deep blue Aegean Sea (basically a list of all the stuff I did when I wasn’t sitting in the sunshine eating cheese).
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.
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.
Why worry about getting a bikini body when you could go skinny dipping with your mates instead?
“Gower is a very beautiful peninsula, some miles from this blowsy town… As a matter of fact it is one of the loveliest sea-coast stretches in the whole of Britain.”
So wrote Dylan Thomas in letters to his first girlfriend, Pamela Hansford Johnson, and the more I visit the jewel in Wales’ coastal crown, the more I agree with the country’s best-loved poet.
Another year of travels in the outdoors, and it’s fun seeing which of my Instagram pictures you’ve liked the most – they include some of my favourite places from 2015 – snow-capped Kenyan mountains, Australian desert islands, Swiss glaciers and the beautiful Gower peninsula. And me standing on my head a lot!
Thank you so much for reading in 2015. I’ll be celebrating NYE quietly from a Cornish beach tonight and can’t wait for another year of adventures and faraway places.
More of my explorations in the Kenyan highlands, including the most beautiful pool I’ve ever swam in, a climb up Hyena Rock, a flower-filled haven of a farmstay and a REALLY big dog named Colonel Lawrence.
Think making movies takes time, experience or fancy software? Think again. If you own a DSLR, a tripod and a couple of lenses you already have everything you need to find your inner videographer. I headed to the Forest of Dean with mountain biker Jake Ireland to create this beginner-friendly guide for Digitalcameraworld.com
Before autumn arrived in all its colourful glory the Super Rad Climb Team (well, my mates) and I made a late summer trip to the Wye Valley. We spent a weekend tackling some routes and eating many packets of chocolate biscuits.
Abergavenny to Hay on Wye and back with the dream cycling team. We took pony selfies, conquered the Gospel Pass and ate our weight in jelly babies.
A picture from our weekend under canvas on the Isle of Purbeck, taken by Gavin Kennard. Because home is where you pitch it (or something poncy like that).
I’ve got big love for this incredible little island, a cultural and historical hodgepodge of beautiful places to swim, hike and explore. Plus, Sicilians eat ice-cream for breakfast.
Another year, another mad birthday in the woods with my friends. This year we rented the rather wonderful Tanners Hatch in Surrey and played woodland olympics, climbed very tall trees, drank a lot of Fortey’s Homemade Gin (™) and walked up Box Hill with terrible hangovers.
Some snaps from the French Alps, featuring angelic gogo dancers, failed human caterpillars and lots of lovely powder.
Messing about on the Dorset coast with the lovely Lucy. Lyme Regis is a bit of a beauty, all pastel beach huts, glorious fossil-filled beaches and the epic Cobb snaking out to sea. And I successfully ate an oyster for the first time ever *proud*.
My friend Matt has a little bit of woodland tucked away in the Wye valley, complete with tiny cabin kitted out with a stove and a sofa, a very sophisticated stick system for cooking over a campfire and lots of beer.
Getting a serious adrenaline rush climbing the beautiful cliffs and quarries of the Dorset coast. My hands are ruined and I can now tie a nifty figure of eight knot – I must be a proper climber.
A boat ride to the magical Farne Islands, where clownlike puffins potter about by your feet, grey seals loll lazily on the rocks and arctic terns try their best to beat you up.
It was my birthday last week (oh hello middle-to-late twenties!) and a big gang of us went to stay on Dartmoor for sunshine and barbeques. And then it rained a lot, so instead we went walking in bogs, met the Hound of the Baskervilles and drink a lot of gin by the fire.
Last weekend I met the lovely Thom Heald, the photographer behind Bristol By Cyclist. He likes bikes and he likes Bristol, and that and a penchant for taking beautiful photos has led to a wonderful gallery portraying different faces of Britain’s ‘Cycling City’. Oh, and there are some very pretty bikes to lust over, too.
Gee and her Bianchi
Some snaps from the French Alps, featuring jazz bands at 2500m, a bunch of fuzzy animals on skis and making a snowy new friend called Clive.
Taking portrait photos is one of my favourite things about my day job, so I had a very nice time writing this beginner’s guide to reportage-style people pictures for issue 26 of N-Photo magazine and for digitalcameraworld.com. These shots are of the lovely baristas at the Society Cafe in Bath, but environmental portraiture is perfect for the great outdoors too – try shooting surfers with their boards, climbers gearing up or just your mates on a country walk.
A gang of us headed up to Scotland to play at being lords and ladies of the manor for a week, staying at the stunning Auchinleck House, part of the Landmark Trust collection of properties. There was a lot of beach wandering, fireside reading and cuddling of Betty the dog involved and I took some nice snaps to share with you lot.