Heading to Thailand this summer? Avoid party islands Koh Samui and Koh Pha-Ngan and head instead to Koh Tao, their chilled out white-sand-and-jungle little brother. This tiny weeny (21 sq km) but bountiful island is surrounded by the crystal clear waters of the Gulf, a diving haven stuffed with bright coral and undulating manta rays. Try some gentle snorkelling or get serious and scuba dive with Big Blue Diving.
If the clocks going forward has filled you with as much unmitigated joy as it has me, you’ll love this great new campaign from The North Face. Watch this super-inspiring video and then share your experiences and win shiny prizes with their new Explorer app. Longer days are here – go out and grab them!
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.
Fun, talented and a tiny bit outrageous – Cooler Magazine chats to Brit snowboarder Aimee Fuller, whose coverage of Jenny Jones’ performance on the BBC earned her a lot of love, a handful of complaints and a twitter fan account for her hair.
Feeling a little bit saddle sore? Total Women’s Cycling have just finished a new video series of yoga moves specifically for biking that will show you how to keep flexible and strong – perfect for training during the chilly winter.
Ethereal Canadian lakes? Check. Stunning Mexican scenery? Check. An awesome outdoors girl showing off her talent? Massive check. Videomaker François Guinaudeau presents ‘A kiteracer from the North’, following Québécoise Catherine Dufour‘s training process around the world.
The mucky pups over at Muddy Race asked me to write a little review of my latest foray into cross-country obstacle running – last weekend’s 12k Monster Race. There were cow pats, 10ft walls, ice baths and some delightfully gloopy mud to contend with – heaven.
Last weekend Pete the Younger, Pete the Elder and I went climbing in the gorgeous Mendips, around the corner from Cheddar Gorge. We also made friends with some mountain goats, had a go at vertigo-busting blindfolded climbing and wore some very attractive helmets.
I had a nice chat with Laura of Team Boatylicious. In June 2014, she and three other super-adventurous ladies are aiming to set a new world record, rowing 2,400 miles across the Pacific Ocean from California to Hawaii. The best bit? You could join them.
From bracing cliff hikes to autumn leaf-stomping riverside strolls, there’s no shortage of appealing places ramble about in this autumn. Lace up your boots, whack out the waterproofs and don’t forget some dosh for a well-deserved post-walk pub lunch.
Gorgeous little video interview with Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Everest.
“Throughout my life I have been drawn forcefully to the outdoors, to forests and mountains, seacoasts and oceans, drawn by both a conscious delight in the grandeur and diversity of the planet and an unconscious spiritual yearning to be in the natural world.
It is in the wild places— in the damp, clean air of an ancient forest, on a heaving ocean in unpredictable winds, on a snowy summit at the top of the world— that I enter my own personal cathedral and know where I fit in the vastness of creation.”
Want to give a little outdoors loving back? Sarah Howcroft’s genius initiative, Gift Your Gear, takes your donated old kit and uses it to help kids develop a love of the great outdoors. And as a little reward for being so good, if you have a clear out before the end of September you’ll get 15% off at Rohan, too.
In June I spent a week in Israel discovering the delights of Tel Aviv, biking in the Negev Desert and wandering around the labyrinthine streets of old Jerusalem. Here’s part two of the journey – cycling in the desert. Some photos by the fantastic Mark Stratton.
On Saturday the crack team that was Pete, Pete, Kenny and I completed the Mud Runner Oblivion 10k, a gruelling cross country run dotted with obstacles, monkey bars and peat bogs held at Eastnor Castle in the Malverns. I’m still finding dirt in odd places.
My sports watching partner in crime (Leo) and I spent a delightful Monday at Wimbledon after Leo magically managed to procure us centre court tickets. We watched Serena Williams cry, Sabine Lisicki kick ass, Murray make grunting sounds and Djokovic give good lego hair. Oh, and we ate strawberries and drank far too much pink cava.
If your lovely dad is training hard or your best mate’s in need of some shiny new lycra to motivate her to victory, I’ve found you the perfect way to show you care about their blisters – by nominating them in MandMDirect’s Reward a Runner competition.
National cycling charity CTC have put together a brand new, women-only elite cycling team, to help promote cycling and encourage girls to get on their bikes. The team will be racing both in the UK and abroad, as well as acting as cycling ambassadors, encouraging young women to get on their bikes as part of an active lifestyle. We chatted to girl racer Lydia Boylan about training, competing and chocolate addictions.
I spent last week on the sunny slopes of Verbier shooting a ski and snowboard photography feature for NPhoto magazine with the fantastic Ross Woodhall. Click on the images to see them in all their glory.
Snowsports are definitely the most style conscious sports around, as Dolce and Gabbana are obviously aware, even if their lovely model has forgotten her trousers. Working as a seasonnaire in the Italian Alps, I’m constantly exposed to a fashion parade of girl skiiers and boarders in the latest look-at-me labels.
You don’t need warm pants, extra scarves or photos of your dog. Trust me, I’ve seen enough emergency care packages get delivered to Cadbury’s-starved seasonnaires to know that if you’re off to work a winter, you require:
There’s some spectacular scenery that’s ideal for rock climbing in the United Kingdom, and wherever you live in Britain, you’re sure to have some fantastic cliff faces a reasonable distance away. Rebecca Hall sums up her favourite spots.
As devised by myself and my lovely housemate Jillian whilst we were very hungover and in bed. We’ve been working in the Italian Alps for two months now, in which I have learned that salopettes are perfect for après ski, as they are wipe clean, and that I have the strength in me to clean over 700 toilets. Who knew? I have also learnt that, as a seasonnaire:
Waxing guide! That’s boards and skis, not legs. Snowboard wonderkid and fellow seasonnaire Simon Andrews kindly took time out of shredding the crap out of the Cervinia backcountry to compile this fantastic guide to waxing your snowboard or skis for The Girl Outdoors.
I’m off on a ski season to Cervinia, Italy in December, which I am so excited about that I can’t sleep at night without cuddling my new woolly hat. The fact that I can’t ski very well is clearly immaterial in my night-time fantasies of perfectly executed black runs. I am busy figuring out what gear to take with me to the mountains, so I was very pleased when the lovely people at Gear Zone sent me over some sun creams from French company Annecy to test.
It’s a warm and sunny Indian summer afternoon in Soho and I am sitting in an air conditioned office. This is not ideal. Instead I will fantasise about practising these absolutely amazing bike moves courtesy of film director Ninian Doff. I am particularly enjoying the Royal Wave, the MGM Lion and the Cup of Tea. Lovely.
I absolutely, utterly and completely love surfing. I should quickly make it clear that this does not mean I am GOOD at surfing: I spend most of my time flailing in the shallows or getting hit on the head by my board, but the utter rush of catching a wave makes pain, cold and wee in your wetsuit seem like very minor issues. Whilst I would love to surf the USA, Indo or Oz, living in Cardiff has meant I’ve been able to get out on the green waves of Wales, which offer some very decent surf.
Last weekend I headed to Rest Bay for a surfing session in the cold cold Welsh sea. Besides catching a few waves I also tested out my lovely stripy new pair of Keen Venice sandals (which cost £62.99 from the fab people at Web Togs). I’d worn them around town and on walks, but would they live up to their waterproof, non-slip claims?