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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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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Rollerskiing in Hyde Park, London – Loving it!

We have tried out rollerskiing in Hyde Park, London, for the first time last summer. We’ve already been back, since, and were about to book more sessions when London was placed under the current lockdown. Prior Experience Inline Skating and Cross-Country Skiing Both Ellie and I have done a fair bit of inline skating. For Ellie it’s been several years since she last put on her skates, I usually go inline skating several times a year. As a kid, growing up close to the Bavarian Alps in Germany, my parents regularly took me cross-country skiing. One popular track started just behind our backyard. As a result of our different backgrounds, I found it a lot easier than Ellie to learn the basics of rollerskiing. I am still very much a beginner, but I feel comfortable on the rollerskis and can easily and safely get from A to B. Two Techniques: […]

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Jetski Safari in Poole – Proper Adrenaline Rush

During Ms B’s and my recent weekend stay at the New Forest, we only spent the first day (and night) in the New Forest, and took the train to Poole on the following day, because we had booked ourselves into a jetski adventure with Jetski Safaris. We had initially planned on doing the jetski ride together, but the water outside the harbour area was partially fairly rough that morning and many of the activities on offer had already been cancelled, so Ms B gave it a miss and did a cake and muffin safari instead. The instruction video was followed by a few more bits of guidance from our instructor, and then we were on our way walking the 5mins from the boat shack to the jetskis. I was slightly nervous, because it had been so long since I last rode a jetski (in the Maldives in 2010, where the […]

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