Showing posts from October, 2015

Blackgang chine is a wonderful day out for all the family

Last time we went camping was to the Isle of Wight, and while it poured with rain pretty much the whole 4 days we were there, there was one day that fun was had by all. We went to Black Gang Chine.

In case you are wondering, a Chine is a narrow gully or gorge normally with a stream that cuts through it and runs into the sea, this is particularly dramatic if the cliff face is made of clay or sand. These are common on The Island around the South East/South West coastline. Many of these Chines date back in history.

The word Chine comes from the Saxon word 'Cinan' which means a gap or yawn.The Blackgang Chine Theme Park is located near to where the chine used to be in Victorian times and before. This has been reclaimed by the sea due to devastating effects of Landslip. This area was some 300 metres further out to sea than it is today. The Blackgang Fantasy Park has long been an attraction to go and see especially with children.

I haven't been there since I was about 10 and so…

Outdoor Food on Friday - snacks when you are walking

October, Halloween approaches and the gorgeous autumnal tints are brightening the woodland. It's a time to put on some warm waterproof clothes and go for a walk. I don't know about you but when I go out walking I like to take a snack or two, it seems appropriate to reward all that healthy outdoor exercise with a nibble, and in the cooler months you need something to keep you warm, all that walking and staying snug takes energy!

My favourite walking food if I'm not out all day is Kendal mint cake, the hiker's friend, it doesn't melt in hot weather, it is practically pure sugar so very good for an energy boost and the added mint makes it easier to eat than. for example, fudge, without feeling sick!

In the autumn and winter of course you can risk some chocolate as long as it's not close to you, but popped in a rucksack it will stay nice for a spot of snacking. (in bear country you may like to avoid Snickers - I've heard stories...)

If I'm out for a full d…

Waterproof Denim? Interactive maps?

Wrangler has teamed up with renowned, award winning explorer Alastair Humphreys  to launch the Born Ready Adventures campaign, designed to get city dwellers  out and enjoying an adventure within and around the city limits. The campaign aims to celebrate Wrangler's new performance denim collection, which features innovative insulating, water resistant and stretch resistant jeans. 
Alastair has curated interactive online maps which show adventures  within an hour of the city limits (London, Manchester and Edinburgh in the UK plus cities in Germany and Poland). Users can also upload their own adventures.  You can check the maps out here  –

The Wrangler brand launched in 1947 on a platform of innovation: to create the best-possible jeans for cowboys. Today, Wrangler continues to create the best-possible jeans, but for the needs of modern consumers. Looking good, working hard: the guiding principle in every Wrangler design is to make you feel Born Read…

Outdoor Food on Friday - 9th October - Sloe Gin

Fabulous foraging! I love free food - who doesn't! Free food tastes better than any other kind except maybe food you grew or picked yourself. So just imagine the joy of free hand picked food!

Foraging is something that can be taken to extremes but I'm a fairly lazy forager. I'm the sort of mum that will pack some empty tupperware on an autumn walk in case we spot black berries, but I'm not usually keen enough to bring the car to a halt on an A road and climb on the car roof to pick apples growing among the trees on the verge (ok I did that once). Sloes are a very British thing to flavour gin with though and while I don't actually make my own gin (there are limits!) it is nice to have something you have (almost) made free. I buy the cheapest gin the supermarket has to offer. And then I pick my sloes.

Don't try this unless you are sure of what you are picking. A sloe is the fruit of the blackthorn, they have white flowers in the spring (spot them then and make a …

Off road cycling in Wales

CTC Cymru, Open MTB, Welsh Cycling and British Cycling have applauded the Welsh Government’s proposal to adopt similar rules on access to the countryside as those enjoyed in Scotland.
Currently in Wales the Rights of Way system is based upon recorded historic use of routes instead of suitability. As a result, cyclists have rights to use just 21% of the network, with permission to ride along narrow rocky sheep tracks on steep ground but denied access to thousands of miles of public footpaths lying on metalled farm and forest roads. As a walker I can see how frustrating this is, some tracks are so wide two cars can pass each other on them! It seems rather silly to deny cyclists access.
In Scotland, following the Land Reform Act 2003, it is very different. Scotland enjoys ‘presumed access’. This means there is a presumption of “responsible access”, subject to exemptions laid out in the Outdoor Access Code (eg forestry operations). Consequently, Scottish off-road and leisure cyc…

Rain at a festival - can you be dry and trendy?

Yesterday's post about waterproof jackets made me think about festivals too. I don't know about you but I try and look a teensy bit cool and quirky (let's face it, weird!) at festivals so a proper hiking jacket while eminently practical is sort of not what I want to be wearing. But if rain strikes (as it did for the whole  of Sam Smith's set at Wilderness) you do get pretty bedraggled.

But what to do? Umbrellas are an option, golf umbrellas are a bit of a no-no though as just SO huge and unwieldy, after a few gins you could easily have someones eye out! I personally favour the option that the Queen loves, the clear dome style umbrella, good in the wind and less likely to remove someones eyeball as the ends of the spokes point down, not out. I saw someone with a gorgeous birdcage style at Wilderness and just had to own one! It's by Lulu Guiness and I adore it - there are other styles in the range too and they are just super, large, robust, beautiful and practical.

Raining and staying dry

Good day tent and festival lovers! Today's appalling weather (raining here in the UK as I type) has reminded me of the horror of our Isle of Wight camping trip this year and the discovery that my (very old) waterproof jacket no longer was, waterproof that is!

Looking around the outdoor type shops in the town I was stunned at the prices, I'm sure that there is lots to said for a £300 water proof jacket but realistically I can't afford that sort of money, and with a Welsh holiday looming for the whole family later this year, and DD needing a new coat too things needed thinking about.

Wales is green and beautiful and it's also very moist. I have holidayed there for many years and love walks along river banks, canals, and mountainsides, but the common factor to most of my holidays is rain.

I wanted a very simple thing, a waterproof coat, with taped seems if possible, and a hood. I did not expect that to cost more that a 2 man tent.

After several days of shop visits I was a…

Outdoor food on Friday - October 2nd - foraging

Autumn is upon us! It’s October and I have fallen behind with my blog posts due to slacking but also time, I seem to be always on the go! Grabbing 5 minutes to tweet is not so hard, but finding a chunk of time, an hour or so to blog seems almost impossible.

The long lazy days of summer festivals seems far away. But I’ve seen a few blogs in the last few weeks where people have been cooking and eating not only food cooked outside but food they have been picking and gathering with their own fair (or muddy) hands.

Earlier in September I picked both apples and pears from the trees in our garden and made some crumble and also some apple pancakes, both delicious. Does hand picked food really taste better or do we imagine that?

I haven’t made sloe gin for several years but that’s another fine foraging food idea (gin is a food right?). I haven’t even managed to pick any blackberries this year, always good to give an apple pie some extra colour and also great in cakes. We have a gooseberry bus…