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Event Reviews

The English Lake District – The Mosedale Horseshoe (17km Walk and Wild Swim)

Canoeing & Swimming, Hiking Posted on Wed, December 04, 2019 07:55PM

This is a circular route, and some would say one of the very best in the Lake District. I used the Ordnance Survey Map 0L6 (The English Lakes, South Western Area) to guide me, it only shows the start and finish points of the walk but once you’re up there, the route is very clear.

I set off from the Ravenglass Camping and Caravanning Club campsite where I was staying for a week and drove to Wastwater, and the free car park at Overbeck Bridge. It was a 20 minute drive at most. From here the path begins, and climbs immediately up the steep slopes of Yewbarrow. As you near the top of Yewbarrow there is some lively scrambling to be done, not for those a little scared of heights or unsure of their ability on rock. It’s not full on climbing, not at all, but the path is unclear in many places and there is no choice but to go up, and once you’re up you look back and wonder how on earth you made it. Here are some photos of the lake, and the initial climb.

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Above is the view of Sca Fell (right) and Sca Fell Pike (left) from the top of Yewbarrow. From this point you are going to head north, the path is easy to follow, once you get down from Yewbarrow, which entails another difficult scramble. At the bottom I had another one of those moments when I looked back and thought, how on earth did I get down that?

Basically, your route from Yewbarrow takes you on a very well trodden path to Dore Head, then Red Pike (826 mts), Black Crag (828 mts) and Pillar (892 mts), all on the same path that curls around to your right.

Below are some snaps of views en route to Pillar.

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From the summit of Pillar, the route heads back in the direction of Sca Fell. It’s steep here, you keep the metal chain/railing on your left. Actually, no chance of getting lost here, the path is very well trodden and if you go too far left you’ll fall off the edge! The path will take you down, eventually, to a saddle, from where another path goes on straight up to Kirk Fell, whilst the one I took goes down to Wasdale Head. Here are some snaps of the route…

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From Wasdale Head its a half hour walk along the road to the Overbeck Bridge car park. No hassle, the views are nice and the road isn’t that busy. Some people park at Wasdale Head and do the walk the other way round, but I think my way is better as there is a nice beach at Overbeck so you can have a decent swim at the end of this very long, and strenuous (at least, the scramble up Yewbarrow is) walk. The water of Wastwater is very cold, but also very soothing for achey muscles.

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The English Lake District – Loughrigg Fell (9km Walk and Grassmere Swim)

Canoeing & Swimming, Hiking Posted on Wed, December 04, 2019 07:49PM

This is a full day walk or run, offering excellent views of Rydal Water and Grassmere, and the chance to swim safely in both the lakes. I used the Ordnance Survey Map 0L7 (The English Lakes, South Eastern Area), and its best to take that map; I think it might be frustrating to try to find your way without it.

Leave the Windermere Marina Village and drive up the main A591 to Ambleside. Pass through the village and head on towards Rydal, but just before you turn the bend into the village, look for the old stone bridge on your left. This is marked up as Pelter Bridge on your map. If you drive over this bridge, then take the right turn, you’ll come to a car park.

It used to be free to park here but in 2013 the local toerags, sorry, council, put a pay and display machine in. Shame.

The car park gets full quickly, so arrive early in the day to be sure of a space. It’s an ideal place to park though, just 10 minutes walk from your car and you’ll start getting views of Rydal Water.

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When you first see the lake, you’ll have the choice of 2 pathways, the upper path and the lower. I chose to take the upper path on the way in, and the lower path on the way out, later in the day, after my swims. I came to a cave after about 15 minutes walk and then the path led on, always very clear and easy to follow all the way to Grassmere, which was a further 15 minutes walk.

If you walk this path on a clear day, as I did, you’ll be rewarded with one of the finest views, anywhere. That’s my opinion, anyway, Grassmere is a beautiful lake, no doubt about it. The path keeps level here, it’s known as the Loughrigg Terrace; you can walk for a while longer, enjoying the lake as it reveals more and more of itself.

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As you approach the forest, a path climbs up on your left, if you follow it, this will take you to the summit of Loughrigg. It’s a stiff climb, always on a clear to follow path though.

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The view above from the summit of Loughrigg. It’s a large summit, and from the central, highest point, marked with a cairn, you can see Lake Windermere very clearly.

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From the peak I headed back down towards the shore of Grassmere, to a point on the map that is marked ‘Landing Stages’ between ‘Dale End’ and ‘The Lea’. It took me about half hour to descend.

Grassmere is a warm lake, it’s shallow so the sun can heat the water quickly. I could splash about in it for a good 10 minutes before I felt cold enough to get out. It really was lovely swimming, although not secluded. On any clear day, this route is packed with hikers, and for good reason, the scenery is terrific.

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After the swim I walked back along the lakeshore, towards Rydal. This time I was taking the lower path.

Rydal Water beach is shingle, and easy to walk on. Rydal is warmer than Grassmere, and a real delight to swim in. The entry and exit point was firm and easy to walk on (no sharp stones here). The spot I liked was the bit of beach nearest to Little Isle, which is the island shown below, shrouded with trees. Out of all the lakes and rivers I swam in during my 6 weeks in the Lake District, I’d say that Rydal was definitely the warmest lake, and the easiest to swim in.

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And then you’re back on the path, heading away from Rydal, stopping one last time perhaps for a final look at this magnificent scenery, before descending to Pelter Bridge car park.

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Canoeing the River Medway, in Kent, England.

Canoeing & Swimming Posted on Sat, November 16, 2019 06:57PM

A 3 part canoe journey up the River Medway in Kent, England.

Part 1 – At the estuary mouth.
Part 2 – From the estuary mouth to Maidstone, via Darnet Island.
Part 3 – From Maidstone to Tonbridge, via Oak Weir Island.


Scuba and Snorkeling with Life Planet Project, Costa Rica

Canoeing & Swimming, Tours & Experiences Posted on Tue, August 27, 2019 02:32PM

We went on a scuba and snorkeling day tour with Carolina and Davide of Life Planet Project and consider them among the most ethically sound, caring tour guides we’ve ever experienced, anywhere in the world. We also saw more sharks than ever before out at Cano Island (even compared to when we went on a 2 week liveabord diving tour with the MV Sharkwater), and also learned so much about the ocean, the mangroves, and Costa Rican culture. If you’re looking for an honest, ethical company offering great land and sea tour experiences, you’ve found them.

We started our day with a transfer to Sierpe, from where we took a boat downriver and out into the Pacific, heading for Cano Island. The images and film below tell the story of our day.

Davide telling us about what was to come, as we sat on the boat in Sierpe.
The views as we motored downriver were spectacular.
The Sierpe River really is beautiful.
We stopped frequently to see monkeys, birds and sloths in the jungle that fringed the river.
Approaching the river mouth. Between the two headlands is the opening into the Pacific.
En route to Cano Island. We saw dolphins as we went, you can see them in the film at the end of this article.
Whilst some of us snorkeled, some of us went diving.
There were plenty of fish, and also sharks.
We didn’t get too close. The company is as ethical as they come and close interaction with wild animals is not encouraged. We agree with this wholeheartedly.
More sharks.
Fish and sharks. I love being underwater!
We even saw a hammerhead shark! It was too deep for my camera to work (nearly 30 metres) but I got a shot of us celebrating when we surfaced.
Then it was lunchtime.
Excellent pasta served up in a coconut shell.
Lunch with good friends. Tastes even better after you’ve just swum with sharks!
After another dive we went ashore to Cano Island, this is the rangers station and museum.
The view from a point about 10 minute walk inland.
Enjoying a stroll on the beach.
Then it was time to leave Cano Island and head back to the Sierpe River via a different route.
Enjoying the coastline as we motor back.
Davide explains how the mangrove forests are being destroyed and what that means for the oceans. The mangroves are the nursery for many species of animal and fish.
Another view of the Sierpe as we neared the town.

The emphasis all day was on showing us why it’s important to preserve the environment. It was a great tour, and this educational aspect was the icing on the cake. It’s worth re-printing a piece from their website here, we wish all tour companies thought like this!

“We aim at sharing the natural beauties of our planet, on land and underwater, promoting exciting activities merged with environmental awareness and collaboration with the key figures of today’s environmental conservation movement.

We have a desire to help nature, to give back. We want tourism to stop leeching our planet. We want to raise consciousness and give you the experience of a lifetime in the meanwhile. We want you to learn. To see with your own eyes. And we want you to have fun, lots of it!!!”

We recommend you look Life Planet Project up if you are in the Manuel Antonio/Dominical/Uvita area and want an ethically sound, fun day tour.

Check out what they offer on their website – https://www.lifeplanetproject.com/

Here’s a short video we made showing highlights of our day.



Pineapple Tours Whales Tail Tour, Costa Rica

Canoeing & Swimming Posted on Wed, June 12, 2019 12:30PM

We took 2 kayak tours with Pineapple Tours, this second one was to the Whale’s Tail in Uvita and involved kayaking off the beach to a snorkeling spot, snorkeling around a coral reef inhabited by plenty of fish for almost an hour, taking a break at the end of the Whales Tail sandy peninsula, then kayaking back for a walk in the mangroves. Both tours are within the activity abilities of most people, all gear is supplied (including sun hats, bug spray and sun cream if you need them) and end with offerings of fresh fruits.

Pineapple Tours have great guides and the tours deliver exactly as promised. Here are some images we took whilst on the 3 hour Whales Tail tour. We understand that the internet is rife will misleading info and ‘independent’ articles that are little more than promotional material and that you may have more questions about this tour or Dominical that you’d rather direct at a real human being who’s not associated with the town or this business. If so, get in touch with Dave – dave@trekandrun.com

We were transferred by minibus from Dominical to Uvita, then we walked onto the beach where our sit on top kayaks were waiting for us.
We each dragged our own kayak through the surf – they’re quite light and manageable – and then got into it once we were beyond the waves and into the calm of the bay. This meant in reality we waded out to about knee deep, which was easily achieved by all.
It was a beautiful day. The Whales Tail reef protects the bay from strong currents and the sea is often calm as a result. It made for easy, stress free paddling.
What a great view, looking back at the hills that rise behind the town of Uvita.
There were a lot of pelicans in the bay.
We tied our canoes up together and onto a central buoy and then enjoyed about 50 minutes of snorkeling. This was a photo I snapped soon after I put my head underwater.
Here was another fish I saw several times.
And here’s a puffer fish, we saw several of these as well.
After snorkeling we paddled the kayaks to the tip of the Whales Tail beach and had a drink and a walk around.
The Whales Tail really is a beautiful area, you get a great sense of freedom here, and fine views all around.
We paddled back to the beach, enjoyed surfing our kayaks in on the small waves, then followed our guide into the mangrove forest for a brief tour.
Our tour ended with a lunch of fresh fruits laid out right by the sea.
This was a brilliant tour, we really recommend it. If you’ve any questions about what you might expect from the tour that you can’t find answers for on the company website here – http://www.pineapplekayaktours.com/ – feel free to get in touch – dave@trekandrun.com


Pineapple Tours Mangrove Tour, Costa Rica

Canoeing & Swimming Posted on Wed, May 08, 2019 11:42AM

We took 2 kayak tours with Pineapple Tours, the first was to the mangroves where we saw sloths, monkeys and birds and a fascinating mix of scenery – some lush, some a tangled mix of bare roots. Both tours are within the activity abilities of most people, all gear is supplied (including sun hats, bug spray and sun cream if you need them) and end with offerings of fresh fruits.

Pineapple Tours have great guides and the tours deliver exactly as promised. Here are some images we took whilst on the 3 hour mangrove tour. We understand that the internet is rife will misleading info and ‘independent’ articles that are little more than promotional material and that you may have more questions about this tour or Dominical that you’d rather direct at a real human being who’s not associated with the town or this business. If so, get in touch with Dave – dave@trekandrun.com

We arrived at the Pineapple Tours office in the centre of Dominical about 15 minutes before the tour was due to leave so we could sign a safety waiver. The office is about 10 minutes walk maximum from ‘Cool Vibes’, where we stay when in Dominical.
The drive to the mangrove swamp put-in point is scenic, and gave us a chance to see the long, deserted beaches that are a feature of this part of the Pacific coast, and also 3 sloths high up in the palm trees.
Nita hadn’t been in a kayak for years, and even back then had minimal experience on the water. However, this paddle trip was suitable for most abilities. The water was calm, the sit on top kayaks stable, the pace easy going.
There were 8 of us on the tour but there was plenty of space in the river to head off and do your own thing if you wanted to soak up the peace and quiet of the mangroves.
Heading to the river estuary mouth.
We swam and looked back at this lush interior. A flock of pelicans soared overhead, clacking their beaks, you can see them in this photo.
Paddling onwards, heading back to the start point via a circular route.
Resting in the shade.
We got fantastic views as we paddled. This was the turnaround point. We’d been on the water for a couple of hours and we were pleased with what we’d seen and were ready to head back to land for some fresh fruit, and then an afternoon on Dominical beach.

This was a brilliant tour, we really recommend it. If you’ve any questions about what you might expect from the tour that you can’t find answers for on the company website here – http://www.pineapplekayaktours.com/ – feel free to get in touch – dave@trekandrun.com