Experience: the Women's Sea Kayak Festival

events kayaking review Nov 08, 2019

What happens when you put some of the best paddlers in the world in a field with some incredibly keen students? Add some sea kayaks and you’ve got the Women’s Sea Kayak Festival, this year held in South Devon in August. With numerous beaches and estuaries, varied sea conditions and great weather, it made for an eventful and inspiring three days.

My teeth were clenched and my knuckles were white as I gripped my paddle. I peered out from under my helmet at the fierce white waves...

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The Final Exam - Q&A with Lia Ditton

interview q&a rowing Oct 29, 2019

Three months before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Lia Ditton will depart from Choshi, Japan on a mission to row 5,500 miles alone and unsupported across the Pacific Ocean to the west coast of the USA. Nineteen attempts have been made to row this distance. Two were successful. One person was lost at sea.

We caught up with Lia and asked her some questions about her upcoming trip:

 

Q: What initially made you want to attempt a solo crossing of the Pacific?

 

I met a man who had just...

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The Annapurna Diaries

annapurna nepal trekking Oct 14, 2019

Annapurna. The Goddess of the Harvest. This mountain is circumnavigated by the 230km Annapurna Circuit trek which crosses the Thorung La: a 5416m pass teetering on the brink of the Tibetan Plateau. Often voted the best long-distance hike in the world, it is trumped only by the base camp of Everest herself. In March 2019, I set myself on this challenge, alone and unguided.

The journey to the start line is somewhat of an initiation. Amidst the chaos of Kathmandu, people, obscure pieces of...

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World First: Cycling the Great Himalayan Trail

I found myself lost at the foot of the Nepalese Himalayas about 7 hours from Kathmandu by bike. Laxmi, Karen Hill and myself, the three females from the highest MTB stage race in the world, the Yak Attack 2018, had decided to ride back from Pokhara to Kathmandu. However, where organised trips would take eight days and local elite riders took four days, we only had three; we had flights home to catch. The morning of the third day I felt pretty empty and couldn’t quite keep up with the...

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The Big Bang: An Interview with Emma Twyford

climbing interview Oct 03, 2019

Emma Twyford photographed on The Big Bang by John Bunney. 

 

After redpointing The Big Bang at Lower Pen Trywn (North Wales), Emma Twyford has become the first British woman to climb 9a. Known as Wales’ hardest sport climb, Emma’s ascent is only the third of this route. We sent Faye Latham, a member of our blog team, to talk to Emma about her success and any advice she might have for female climbers.

 

Q: What attracted you to the climb, ‘The Big...

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Quarry: a Poem on Slate.

north wales poetry Sep 27, 2019

Title photo: Seams the same: Faye Latham 09.10.19

 

Living back at home in North Wales, I spent my last summer running over to Llanberis every morning and working in a small shop that sold outdoor gear. Wiling away the hours by dreaming up my next big route, I was ready to leave at 4:59 pm with my ropes and bag ready. I thought little at the time of what this landscape means and how it’s used today, excited to spend my evenings on slate. In Wales once again, I find myself...

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Beyond the Maps: Staples in a Fell-Walker’s Bookcase

book review walking Sep 25, 2019

As a keen reader, I am always eager to prove that when fell-walkers, climbers, and orienteers aren’t out on the mountain, we consume more than just OS maps and Cicerone guides.  Here I provide a few recommendations for you to get your teeth into as autumn draws in, to combat the short days and long nights by dreaming up plans for summer adventures.  

 

Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle by Dervla Murphy

- “Despite the heat, today’s was a glorious...

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Taking on the Ring of Steall Skyrace: Managing Excitement and Fear

Do you love belting out to your favourite singer while driving, but only in an empty car? Do you feel a bit sick just thinking about getting up on stage in a room full of strangers? If so, then you know how I feel about hill running: I get hill stage fright!

For me, entering the Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace, a 29km spectacular in the Scottish mountains, feels a bit like picking a Whitney Houston number at a packed-out karaoke. Running in the hills in Scotland can be both...

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Bikes and Bothies: A Microadventure in Scotland

I casually suggested to my work colleague Kate, that maybe one weekend we could cycle to a bothy together.  Bothies are remote buildings that provide shelter, often maintained by the Mountain Bothies Association. They are usually free to use, and open to everyone.  Kate and I are not terribly adventurous (the only time we had previously cycled together, was to the beach for an ice-cream), nor have we spent much time outside of work together.  However, we both commute to work by...

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Anna Buckingham: How Do You Follow Up the Tor Des Geants?

The end was in sight, but I wasn’t ready for it to end. I sat down for a few minutes watching the sky change colour, sobbing. I walked slowly up towards the col and took a photograph of the sun peeking over the horizon and sent it to my coach, Robbie Britton, with a comment “I don’t want to come down!” This was one of the most emotional and memorable moments of my life so far during the final stretch of the Tor Des Geants (TdG); a long distance trail race in the Aosta...

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