Laos

August 15, 2012

After leaving Koh Samui we got back on the train, via Bangkok and up into Laos. Here we got our first sight of the Mekong in the capital city Vientiane.


On the banks of the Mekong

Laos is a very beautiful country, the views of the jungle are spectacular along with brightly coloured temples and the people so very friendly.


Looking down on Luang Prabang

We moved north from Vientiane up to Vang Vieng. Here we hired a bike and got out to explore the surroundings. The area is full of caves, which made for some good underground exploring.


Impressive stalactites in one of the caves

We then moved further North up to Luang Prabang, the former capital. It had a very French feeling to it, both the architecture and the availability of baguettes and croissants! It rained a lot whilst we were here so we enrolled on a cooking course, which included a tour of the market and full day in the kitchen learning how to make some delicious Lao food.


Rustling up lunch

Luang Prabang has over 1000 Buddhist monks, so they make up a substantial part of the towns population. I had a great hour long chat with one of the younger ones. It was really interesting and he was keen to learn as much as possible about the western world.

Thailand

August 7, 2012

We flew into Bangkok last week and spent a few days seeing the sights and getting back into the atmosphere of an Asian capital city. It was great, we visited a few temples, ate some street food, haggled with a  few tuk tuk drivers and generally enjoyed ourselves.

The view from the ‘Golden Mount’ temple

With it being the wet season, we invariably got rained on every now and again but were still able to get out and about.

Wat Arun, one of the larger more interesting temples

Just as we got settled in it was time to leave, we got on a sleeper train down south and a ferry out to the island of Koh Samui.

On the beach

We spent four days on the island, lounging around in the sunshine and learning how to scuba dive. It was amazing to see so many fish and colourful coral all in the same place.

Anemone, fish & divers

Under the sea

We completed 4 dives and both passed our PADI Open Water certificate.

Cycling Paris to London

June 24, 2012

After accidentally saying at work that it cant be that hard to cycle from Paris to London, I found myself as the company representative on the forthcoming ride. I cycle to work everyday, but other than that I did very little training – so was a little bit worried on the flight out there hearing about everyone’s training regimes!

At the Eiffel Tower, ready to go

Once we managed to get out of Paris and onto the country roads it was great, friendly drivers and smooth roads, nothing like cycling in the UK. I managed to keep up OK, the road bike I had borrowed made all the difference compared to my usual heavy old mountain bike. We cycled to Dieppe,  got the ferry to Newhaven and then cycled upto London.

It took us three days in total and I absolutely loved it. I need to get out cycling more often.

A week in Val Sesia

June 24, 2012

I spent a week in June in the beautiful valley of Val Sesia. We were a bit late getting our act together and only organised it 2 weeks before we drove out, but it came together nicely and a great week was had. We arrived just in time to catch the end of the kayaking festival, it was great to see some of the events and catch up with old friends but did mean the camp site was a bit busy!

Andy Mason on the top drop of the Egua

The levels were good, varying from day to day due to the overnight rain, but we managed to paddle most of the classics.

Martin Linford on the Sorba Slides

It was nice to be back in a boat on beautifully clear rivers, enjoying tasty European food and drink with good friends.

Maddy in the Semenza’s top gorge

The British boating season has returned

December 15, 2011

Its December and the UK is once again cold and damp.

We’ve been lucky and the wet weather has lined up with a couple of weekends, bringing some of the North West’s finest rivers into condition. At the beginning of the month we got on the upper Swale at 0.82 on the EA gauge, which equated to some great levels.

Tom Hainsworth on the Swale’s Lower Kisdon

Then this weekend the rain came again and we got down the Keswick Greta, Leven, Clough and Lune.

Beth Hume on the upper Clough (Photo Maddy Boddy)[Rawthey gauge 1.9m]

Me on the Clough’s Lemmings Falls (Photo Maddy Boddy)

With frosts and snow on the horizon, let hope this wet weather continues into the new year.

Yorkshire 3 Peaks

October 23, 2011

A group of about 20 of us met at Horton in Ribblesdale at 7am to take on the Yorkshire 3 peaks. Climbing Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Inglebrough.


Dani about to summit Pen-y-ghent

With it being October I was prepared for all weathers, but it turned out to be the hottest October day on record and I was carrying 20Kg! And only 4 of those were water.


On route to Whernside

It took us 11 hours to walk the 26 mile route back to the pub in Horton in Ribblesdale, but it was worth it in the end. The day was organised by Dani Percival, who is trying to raise funds for Raleigh International.

Devon & Cornwall

October 23, 2011

Maddy & I spent a week down in Devon and Cornwall, staying with friends and wild camping here and there. We had a great time and the weather was favourable throughout.


With the ponies on Exmoor


On the Torr

We went walking on Exmoor and Dartmooor and then explored the Cornish coast by bicycle (not recommended) and kayak.


Paddling out of Tintagel (Photo Maddy Boddy)

We set out from Trebarwith Strand, aiming for Boscastle. But due to the swell and Maddy’s stomach, we stopped at Tintagel for lunch before I paddled off to get the car.


Bude

Pastries for breakfast – Cheese for dinner

June 28, 2011

I’ve just come back from a week in L’Argentiere, reliving my student days exploring the Hautes Alps province of France and boating in the sunshine. This was my fourth trip to the area and I was still surprised by how much fun I had.


Part of the team on the banks of the Upper Ubaye

The Durance valley didnt have as much water in it as when I have been previously, but this was no bad thing as it forced us to explore some of the other offerings in the area. In my week I managed quite a few personal firsts, with the Fresquire section of the Ubaye and the Grand Canyon of the Verdon being the most memorable. Beth’s headcam footage of the Fresquire can be seen here.


Tom in the Styx, Verdon

It took us 7 hours to paddle the Verdon, with a 4 hour drive either side it was a full day, but most definitely worth the effort. With towering cliffs on either side and rapids that run through caves and underground its like nothing else I’ve ever paddled.


Beth about to drop into the first cave, Verdon

Later in the week there was a bit of rain and we headed to the Guil valley and had fun on the two upper sections and the classic middle.


Katie on the middle Guil’s staircase

Before I knew it, it was time to drive home. 2769 miles is a lot of driving for a weeks holiday, but I’d do it again any time.

A week in the Highlands

May 13, 2011

I’ve spent a week up in the Scottish highlands enjoying the weather. The sun was shining and at least the dam controlled rivers had water in them. The Garry and the Meig both providing some entertainment.


Beth playing on the Garry


Darragh on the Meig

Other than that we went on a few walks, explored the upper Roy valley, climbed Ben Nevis, had a wander around and float on Loch Etive and cycled some of the Nevis range Witches Trails. A busy fun filled week without one drop of rain!


Maddy and I on the summit of Ben Nevis


Dinner by Loch Etive

Athens

April 11, 2011

Maddy and I escaped the cold and miserable UK for a weekend in the Greek sunshine. We had three nights in Athens and managed to see the main sights and had a really enjoyable weekend.


The changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier

When we arrived there were strikes on the metro, meaning it was hard to get around, but also there was a dearth of tourists. The strikes only lasted one day and we were soon able to get around the city with ease.


Maddy and I at Temple of the Olympian Zeus, with the Parthenon in the background

A highlight for me was the Panathenaic stadium, its an amazing feat of engineering that you can get up close with, sit in the seats and run a lap of the track.


The Panathenaic stadium

And before we knew it, it was time to go home


Traffic passing the Arch of Hadrian