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.
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.
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.
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.
Chilly weather and long dark nights can make you feel a bit tetchy, especially when you’re saving all your dosh for Christmas/just a little bit broke. Conquer your cold weather blues with these three seasonal ideas that’ll cost you very little indeed and you’ll have more money left for important stuff. Like chocolate santas.
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.
Itching to get out into the wilderness? Some of the finest scenery in the whole of the UK is only a couple of hours away from Edinburgh’s city centre. Hire a car in Edinburgh and take an epic road trip to the outdoors paradise of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.
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.
While London may an awesome city to set up camp in, those living in the Big Smoke’s urban sprawl may sometimes find they yearn for the opportunity to escape to the country, if only for a hipster-free afternoon of mud and cheaper beer in country pubs. Here’s a quick guide to 10 walks that are easily accessible from the capital:
No matter where I live in the world, I’ll always have a huge soft spot for Spain. It’s a treasure trove of unspoilt beauty spots and offers an amazing range of outdoor activities to suit all seasons, from gentle walks in summer to extreme skiing in winter. Here’s my favourite destinations for a year of outdoor love.
I like post. Especially when it’s a box containing a lovely new pair of Hi-Tec Lynx trail hiking boots (£54.00) from the very nice people at Go Outdoors. My new boots are a pretty dove grey and they are all soft and suedey. But are they as comfy as they look?
Urban paradises are made all the more beautiful by their incongruous surroundings. When I’m in London I can’t go more than a few days without feeling like I need a break from traffic, people, and air so dirty it makes your snot black, so I’m a big fan of allotments, parks and any place green in general. Do you have a secret rooftop haven or grassy getaway in The Big Smoke? I’d love to hear about it -let me know and I’ll feature your photos, favourites and tips on the blog!
It doesn’t get much more authentically Finnish than waking up in Lapland in a cosy log cabin overlooking a misty lake in the middle of nowhere, having a breakfast of rye porridge, salmon and cheese and heading off for a walk along the attractively named Small Bear’s trail, the 12km Pieni Karhunkierros.
Shoe company Cushe sent me a gorgeous fuzzy pair of IT boot cuffs for me to kick about in. As the company is big on sustainability, comfort, and a chilled-out surf vibe, all stuff I like, I was more then happy to test them out and about.
Last weekend a gang of 13 of us packed into some small, unreliable cars and drove from Cardiff to Snowdon. Watch out for a proper post on how much my buttocks ached after scaling the peak, coming soon! However the mountain was also the perfect place to give my pretty new Keen boots (which cost £76.49 on Web Togs) a real work out, and to see if they could go the distance without giving me blisters.
It is very very cold in our house, as we are poor students who skimp on electricity bills and we live in Wales, not best known for its sunshiney weather. For this reason, I spend most of my time in industrial-strength socks, and thus am a bit of a sock expert. So I was pretty excited to get my hands on a pair of fluffy black and silver Hiker Heavy Crew socks by Icebreaker. They sell for £14.95 so you’d expect toasty feet. As with all my journalistic endeavours, I did not approach my review half-heartedly.
The Brecon Beacons is branded as ‘one of Britain’s breathing spaces’. As the Park Authority releases its new plan to promote the sustainable management of resources over the next 20 years, The Girl Outdoors looks at how the Park, which relies on visitors for much of its income, keeps a good balance between conservation and consumerism.
The first in a series of posts on the beautiful Brecon Beacons, here’s Countryfile’s fantastic guide to the stunning waterfalls at Ystradfellte. My friends and I walked them all last month – a perfect Sunday trek through mossy woods and past indifferent sheep. We only saw four or five other walkers during the day. Take waterproofs if you want to walk directly under the falls (an amazing experience!).
This weekend I decided to practise what I preached earlier on in this blog by going out foraging, also known as ‘seeing what wild goodies I can collect to feed myself with’. Foraging scares a lot of people – it sounds difficult, time-consuming and frankly, dull. To these people I say, you are incorrect, sirs.
Obviously if you’re a ready-meal enthusiast, picking your own is not for you. It does require going out, finding some tasty leaves, gathering them up and bringing them home. However, as well as usually getting to go on a nice walk, it’s surprising how much you can gather in a small amount of time. In a ninety-minute walk from Combe Down in Bath to the charming Tucking Mill (victim of many a name-alteration), on Sunday, I collected a huge bag of green things to take home, including these beauties below.
My housemate Leo and I went on a little impromptu cycle ride last week along the Taff Trail, which runs from Cardiff Bay to Brecon for 55miles. After a more paltry 8 miles, we ended up at Castle Coch, a stunning, fairy-tale castle near the village of Tongwynlais, which I can’t say and am not completely sure I can spell. The trail is very pretty, hugging the river and passing a huge weir on its way to the castle. The whole thing is traffic free and perfect for cyclists. It was getting late by the time we had biked up the steepest hill I have ever seen to Castle Coch (Leo biked, I walked/biked/pushed/complained), so we had a well-deserved pint in the The Lewis Arms and cycled home. Next time we’re going to do it all (Leo doesn’t know this yet).
Simply my favourite fashion blogger, Alix at The Cherry Blossom Girl posted these stunning photos of her weekend in Scotland. Proof that you can go mushroom-picking in Miu Miu. Also proof that French girls are so effortlessly beautiful the rest of us should just give up now.
Smart kids don’t go to the supermarket when they can go old-school (pre-industrial school?) and collect goodies from their nearest friendly forest (parks/patches of grass on laybys/windowboxes accepted also).