Hiking & white-water kayaking in the Peak District

My father, who is 82 years old, still goes white-water kayaking every now and then. Not quite the extreme stuff he used to do when he was in his prime, going down 5m-tall waterfalls and through narrow mountain gorges that had far more rocks than water, but proper white water nonetheless, with rocks, lots of white foam, and all. Childhood Challenges Some of the rivers he and his buddies paddled, can only be descended for a few weeks each year, and only if the weather holds. They would do one-week trips to Italy, France, or Croatia. Often the rivers were so technical that they would only manage to cover 5 or 10km a day, with plenty of sections where they had to climb around waterfalls that were too big to go down on in the kayak. All this while I was at home, revising for year-end middle school exams, or […]

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CityBoxer Boxing Training at The Ring

Earlier tonight I revisited The Ring in Southwark, South London, for a CityBoxer one-on-one taster session (£40). In a way I guess you could say that I was cheating, booking a taster session. I had booked another taster session with them eight years ago and followed up by booking a whole ten-week boxing course. I had done some boxing at different gyms since. However, in terms of my skills I was not cheating at all. I was very much an absolute beginner without any talent or ability. The best way to get rid of frustration I love boxing. It’s the perfect way to get rid of aggression and frustration that inevitably builds up in most of us over time. I’m not more aggressive or more frustrated than the next guy, don’t get me wrong. I’m probably below average in terms of aggression and frustration. But boy does it feel good […]

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Hadleigh Castle and the Saffron Trail – Hiking with ‘Go London’

Ellie & I have been doing walks with Gary Bebb’s fabulous ‘GO London’ hiking group for more than two years now. Ten days ago we joined Gary and 16 other hikers on the “Coastal Hike – Hadleigh Castle and the Saffron Trail.” The 16km (10 mile) walk involves 230m of ascent (all added up). It takes about 4 hours to complete and is classified as “beginners hike.” This was fine with us. Lockdown had just ended and our bones were still a bit rusty. Why ‘Saffron Trail’? Part of this hike is along the Saffron Trail. An Essex hiking group devised this route only 20 years ago. They wanted to have a major north-south long-distance walk in the county of Essex. Until then there had only been two long-distance walks which both went from west to east: The Essex Way and St Peter’s Way. The Saffron Trail starts in nearby […]

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“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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