If you’re itching to get outdoors within the guidance set by the government but want to avoid the crowds, there are many unsung hikes around the country that are likely to stay quiet and calm as people start to venture out again.
For the February 2020 edition of Coast magazine, I travelled to the small island of Eilean Shona in Scotland, spending time in the down-season reflecting on time by the sea and its mental restorative benefits. I walked, swam and went out in the water in a Canadian canoe to experience the best of what small island life in Scotland can bring.
Sitting at the end of the train line and acting as the gateway to the ‘wild west’ of Cornwall, Penzance has seen its share of changing times over the years. But the town is modernising at a pace, with the recent announcement that it will be receiving a share of the Government’s £655 million high street fund to help regeneration.
My writing as an author for iBuys, the outdoor and travel gear reviews section of the iNews newspaper. Click through for more for examples of my work, from best waterproof trousers, walking shoes and backpacking tents to more niche areas like photography tripods, backpacks and entry level DSLR cameras.
The start of the year is the perfect time to cultivate a fresh desire to contribute to society and put back into the community. It’s a great time to reflect on the previous year, appreciate what you’ve got around you and look for new opportunities to explore and learn more about your immediate surroundings.
It’s winter. The Cornish wind whips around the crooks and crevices of the county’s boundaries, infiltrating all the empty spaces, where there are no people. From the tops of the desolate moors in Bodmin to the far reaches of Sennen beach in the very west, the whistling replaces the laughter of the millions of excitable holidaymakers that travel here each summer.
The Scottish islands have enchanted and enthralled us for millenia. They have provided escape from class and convention, inspired writers and poets, provoked volatile emotional intensity in songwriters and have provided explorers and adventurers with the opportunity to ‘contemplate a system of life almost totally different from what we were accustomed – to find simplicity and wildness and the circumstances of remote time or place.’
Surf B&Bs and hostels have flourished along the Portuguese coast in recent years – journalist Veerle Helsen celebrates their laid back charm and cool design in her book Surf and Stay – but we were making our way through the countryside to the Truck Surf Hotel, which offers something different and not just because it was parked on a hillside surrounded by cows and donkeys.
Loch Lomond is the largest stretch of inland water in the United Kingdom, and the second largest by water volume, second only to its perhaps more famous sister, Loch Ness. At 23 miles long, it also spans 3 counties just 14 miles northwest of Glasgow, making its unique landscape, location, history and heritage as the Lowlands meet the Scottish Highlands a draw for visitors worldwide.
It’s dark, early and rainy at Gatwick airport on a mid April morning. As with many passengers, the banality of the start of my journey belies the nature of my destination. I am travelling what feels like a world away, to the Arctic Circle and the bright, vast landscapes of north Sweden. I’m joining a group to hike a portion of the famous Kungsleden, ‘The King’s Trail,’ an epic hiking route that passes through some of the wildest and most protected areas of Europe.
Down an unassuming lane between Brentor and Mary Tavy, a small, hand-painted sign points the way to a clearing and some surprisingly well hidden buildings. It’s only when you get a little closer that you realise these relatively industrial looking structures doesn’t belong to any of the number of farms that surround the area. It’s early morning on a sunny Saturday, and members of the local Gliding Society are putting plans in place for a day of soaring above the Dartmoor countryside.