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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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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Packrafting in Wales with Tirio – Mountains to Sea

Last August, Jason and Marianne from Tirio invited me to join one of their tour groups for a weekend of packrafting in Wales. The two-day tour I took part in is called “Mountains to Sea”, because, as you guessed, you start in the mountains of Snowdonia and you finish at the shore of the Irish Sea.  What is packrafting? I will be frank: I had not heard about packrafting before. Apparently, this new sport developed in the 1980s in Alaska. Packrafting refers to a combination of rafting and hiking, often combined with camping. Each member of the group carries their own light-weight inflatable rubber boat (strictly speaking TPU or “Thermopolyurethene”), paddle and any other hiking gear. This includes camping gear, when staying out in the wilderness for more than one day. Sounds like a hassle? Well, I should mention that the raft, inflatable seat, pump, life jacket, and foldable paddle […]

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Horseback Riding in the New Forest

During our recent visit to the New Forest, Ms B & I did a 60-minute horseback riding session with Brockenhurst Riding Stables. We had done the same two years ago, when they were still located near the Forest Park Hotel, where we usually stay (they moved to the new location just off Balmer Lawn Road, just over five minutes walk from Beresfords restaurant (see our blog post here), walking away from Brockenhurst). Sharon, who runs the yard, is a lovely person and very skilled at what she does. Her sense of humour and way with people can perhaps best be described as a bit rough on the edges, but in a very good way. Just like last time around, she immediately made us feel welcome. As requested, we had arrived half an hour before the start of the session. Five, six other guests had already arrived and the rest of […]

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