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Coasteering with the Guys

Myself and Denzil Guy, I'm using the Aqua Pac 90 ltr Upano Duffel Bag. 

Making the long walk down to Dancing Ledge, Via the a bridal path and through a farm, you have to walk down an incredibly steep section of land which drops down towards the quarry. 


Getting kitted up on the lowest ledge, broke me into a sweat just doing this, could'nt wait to get in the water and cool off. 


 Ben Schofield

Ben Schofield

Floating around at the bottom of a jump, this was a warm up jump from the ledge in front of me to help the guys understand the correct the jumping technique before throwing them off the larger jump. 


So, there's a jump, a really high jump... Here's me walking out, and walking around to head up to the high jump which shouldn't be done without absolute commitment and knowledge of the landing zone. 


So this is the jump, around 60 feet high, you have to jump out and over a ledge clearing a sunken rock that is under the surface of the water about the size of a car. This jump is only accessible when there is a spring high tide to give you that extra depth of water to jump into. 

From this height, you don't normally want to wear a BA as the force of the impact into the water can rip your BA off your body, which nearly happened on this occasion. 

As I hit the water, the force of water ripped my BA up and into my face, smashing me in the nose, My first thought was I had broken my nose but upon checking it, it was OK. 

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Project 30 - Cycling St Malo to Santander - Day 1

It's been over a year since our little trip, so I decided it was time to get the old videos and photos out and start pulling together a series of documentaries about our trip.

It's put together pretty quickly, since I didn't have much time, but hope you enjoy it - I know we did...

Kayaking on the River Stour - my back yard

Isn't it incredible when you see something you weren't expecting, something so peaceful and natural that you find yourself still, motionless and desperate for the moment not to end. Isn't it incredible when you find those moments on your own doorstep. It's rare, or it has been, for me to find such occurences without travelling for hours to the mountains of Scotland, the Welsh Valleys or even the Alpes - all places that I frequent.

So this morning, I went for a paddle on the Stour, from Bryanston School, headed downstream to the Blandord Weir. What started off looking like a thouroughly miserable actually turned out pretty well, the rain held off, it wasn't overly cold and there was plenty of water in the river.

En route to the weir, we must drop down over the Bryanston Weir, a 6ft drop into a great churn of water. Some of our group got out went round it, others over the edge. It's an exilerating decision to make, gaining the momentum and commiting to drop. Once on the lower level, there's time for a quick surf in the weir and is we did, came a sight not often witnessed in this neck of the woods. Leaping from the lower level, trying desperately to make the distance, were wild salmon. This is the kind of the thing you see on a Ray Mears or David Attenborough documentary, and here they were just on the tip of this lovely Georgian town.

After a few minutes of watching the action, we continued to make our way down to the weir, passing cormorants and kingfishers going about their daily busines. A few hours of surfing, edging and general playboating, we made for home.

Heading back up the river, a heron stood proud on some old reeds that had gathered. It took flight as we approached and stuck close to the water, making a distinct call as it passed low a quick as if acknowledge our presence and amount of distain for our untimely interruption.

Getting close to the Bryantson weir once again, a couple of us were ahead of the rest up stream. We heard some distinctive squeeky noises from the far side of the river and made our way over, somewhat curious as to who was leading this high pitched conversation. We nestled next to some reeds and just watched, as not one, not two, but three large otters gradually appeared. One was on the bank keeping watch, as the other two dived and resurfaced, their highly distinguished heads breaking the glistening water as they searched out the salmon we witnessed earlier.

The group of otters looked at us closely to begin with, edging slightly closer to get an idea of what we were about. As the rest of our party arrived, the otters obviously felt a little outnumbered and made for the bushes that lined the river bank. The others departed and I stayed, quiet and still hoping that they'd return.

A couple of squeeks and some splashing at the base of the weir and I was priviledged to be the only member of the audience at this special show of playful interaction and industrious workmanship. Before I realised, the others were gone and me and my new buddies were all alone, having lost track of the time I spent observing and listening in this peaceful place. And so, I too made for home leaving the otters to their games and work.

I kicked myself that I left my house without my camera, but at the same time, feel that beyond the rawness of my presence in such a traditional watercraft (OK, so it's made of plastic, but you know what I mean) that my experience would have been less spiritual if my main concern was how good my shots were going to turn out.

So as I right this, the smile on my face suggests a new and envigorated appreciation for my local town and the pleasant surprises it still has up its sleeve.

Outdoor Capital of the UK is closed in November

I just got back from a trip to Scotland, it's a trip we make at least once a year simply because parts of Scotland are the most delightful places on earth to be. We generally stay at a beautiful highland estate, called Kingairloch, which has so captured my heart, sould and imagination - so much so, I married my wife there in April this year.

So, as is the norm for me, when I'm in Scotland, I go looking for things to do, extreme things. Things like long kayaking expeditions or canyoning down beautifully crafted waterfalls, evidence of mother nature's nack for the masterpiece.

As always, the first place I look (being a jack of all adventure sports and master of, well none, but I hope a few maybe close...) is the commercial activity providers of the area. Now I appreciate that this is the week after half term, and the weather was pretty crappy, but that week we had 3 good solid days of blue sky sunshine. Could I find any company who would humour my intention to get outside and get active? Could I heck.

So I phoned at least half a dozen, maybe more, companies when I was there, every day, multiple times per day. I even had the gaul to predict it may be tricky to organize, and so to help out, emailed the companies a couple of weeks in advance.

So, of those I called, only Rockhopper Kayaking actually came back to me. Highland Activities, G2 Outdoor and Vertical Descents didn't even though I left multiple messages. Snowgoose Mountain Centre was closed and the Ice Factor was shut for refurbishments. Monster activities answered and were honest that they couldn't accomodate. So, overall, not very impressive in my opinion, particularly where there was no response, not even a voicemail message saying they were closed for business which is quite unprofessional, in my opinion.

So, Archie and I were forced to go and find a mountain to climb on our own. Nay bother, we had a great time, but I can say that next time I'm in the area, I will think hard before deciding who I ask to take my money.

BUILD AN IGLOO, CANADA AND THE GOOD LIFE

After watching the Ray Mears World of Survival repeat on the BBC this week, my mind has been captivated once again by the wilderness of Northern Canada. Mrs S and I are now planning to go on a wilderness and survival trip next year. I found a cool trip on www.woodsmoke.uk.com, especially this trip into the Maine Woods. Ideally, I think I'd prefer the Yukon so will be scouring the web for the best expedition packages, let me know if you know of any you'd recommend.

Personally, I'd love nothing more than to live a life of basic survival, but unfortunately, there aren't many log cabin plots in the Yukon with decent WiFi access. So let's start with a trip and see where the urge takes us.

It really didn't help that I just finished reading "The Good Life - Up the Yukon without a paddle" by Dorian Amos. It is a wonderful tale of how a couple with an urge for a different life make the big leap and head out into the Canadian wilderness in search of fullfillment of a non-materialistic kind. They settle in (or just outside) Dawson City with their dog, a cross between a German Shepard and a BASSET HOUND! I don't know how that dog managed to survive it! Must get the sequel now - "The Good Life Gets Better".

Anyway, not wanting this to turn into a book review, I'd definitely recommend this witty and inspiring read about a life journey that we all secretly long to for, but few have the balls to carry forward.