“Secret Berkshire” – 19km Goring Circular Walk with ‘Go London’

Ellie & I have been doing walks with Gary Bebb’s fabulous ‘Go London’ hiking group for more than two years now. Yesterday we joined Neil (Neil Froggitt) and 20 other hiking enthusiasts for the “Secret Berkshire – The Hollies and the North Wessex Downs” walk. It is my understanding that this walk is also being referred to as Goring Circular Walk, even though it was slightly amended by Go London. This blog post does not include any maps or specific instructions. It is not aimed at enabling you to do the walk on your own. It is instead intended to give you an idea for what to do on London weekends or – even if you don’t live nearby – show you some of the beauty that one can find near The Big Smoke. Even if you’re an experienced navigator we’d still highly recommend the tours offered by Go London, […]

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Kitesurfing (well, for now: kiting) near London with The Kitesurf Centre

I had been wanting to learn how to kitesurf for quite a while. So as soon as the last lockdown was over and it was possible to book training sessions again, I booked one of the first sessions available near London, a two-hour personal training session. The Kitesurf Centre There are quite a few options of learning how to kitesurf within a doable distance from the Big Smoke. I picked The Kitesurf Centre in Camber Sands near Rye, about 95km to the southeast of London (135km by car or train), roughly two thirds of the way from Brighton to Dover on a beautiful beach. A Family Business The kitesurfing school has been founded by two brothers, Thomas and Tristan, in 2007. Both of them had run a number of watersports companies around the world until then. They were joined by brother #3, Rupert, a few years later. All three men […]

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Open Water Swimming at West Reservoir Centre, Stoke Newington

A few weeks ago, I’ve decided to pick up open water long-distance swimming. This is why I started to check out open water swimming venues in and around London. When I grew up in Germany, my buddies and I would always go wild swimming in rivers and lakes, often several times a week, twice a day during summer. My parents, who grew up in the Bavarian town of Passau, at the confluence of the mighty Danube, the Inn, and the Ilz rivers, when they were 8 or 9 years old, they swam across the Danube zigzagging between the mighty freight ships heading towards the Atlantic Ocean from the Black Sea or vice versa. Here in the UK in the 21st Century visiting a lido as a grown-up is already considered to be quite adventurous. Wild-swimming has the sound of anarchy and is about as reputable as wing-suiting or base-jumping.   […]

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Bad Hofgastein – this skiing paradise 1h from Salzburg sports the Eastern Alps’ longest slope

To me Bad Hofgastein is synonymous with winter fun. My parents first came here with four of my uncles and aunts and one of my grandmothers in the late 1960s. From the time my sister and I were born in the mid-1970s my parents took us to the same B&B for a week every winter. The owners’ son, who now runs the hotel with his wife and oldest kid, and I engaged in snowball fights and built snowmen 40 years ago. This year round, my parents met up with Ms B & me for just an extended weekend (4 days and 4 nights). While my parents brought all of their own gear, we borrowed ours at Ski-Verleih Service Irausek (pre-ordered via Alpinresorts.com, both of which I’d recommend, even though if you can get a decent deal for ski rental at Angertal valley station then go for that, as much more […]

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Kayaking with ‘New Forest Activities’ – Fair bit of exercise, fabulous fun, and you get to see jellyfish!

Last summer Ms B & I decided to venture to the New Forest again as it was the start of the pannage season when local farmers have permission for two months to let their pigs roam free around the woodlands. The idea is that the pigs eat all the acorns that are harmful for other animals like the free-roaming ponies, horses, and donkeys (in principle the acorns are harmful to pigs too, but these smart badasses simply spit out those bits). Anyhoooo.. didn’t see a single pig, so resorted to other activities. Besides horseback riding (post here), the most fun activity was our 3h kayaking trip with New Forest Activities (£39.90 per person). The starting point is at the beautiful Buckler’s Hard Maritime Museum (open air, admission included) on the banks of the Beaulieu river.     At the start of the 18th century a highly ambitious and (following his […]

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