Friday, 7 December 2012

hiking, biking and kayaking

You don't have to travel to the Alps to enjoy an active holiday hiking, biking and kayaking. 

The National Trust has put together a glorious outdoors tour around its land and properties in the Surrey Hills, getting off the beaten track, enjoying the rolling landscape - and benefiting from expert insight into the history and nature of the area from National Trust guides.

Using a combination of mountain biking, hiking and canoeing, you'll travel through iconic locations such as Box Hill, site of the exciting Olympic Cycling Road Race (remember Emma Pooley, Nicole Cooke, Lucy Martin and Lizzie Armitstead's epic efforts to win Team GB's first medal?), wild Hindhead Common, the dramatic Devil’s Punch Bowl and the historic River Wey Navigation.

Accommodation is in historic inns in the market town of Dorking and the county town of Guildford. Guests also enjoy exclusive access to National Trust properties such as Polesden Lacey, and sample Surrey Hills' famous wine at Denbies Vineyard. Delicious local and homemade lunches are provided every day.

Sam Bayley, National Trust Head Ranger at Leith Hill and Holmwood Common, leads the tour. He says, 'We have long wanted to be able to really take people into the heart of the Surrey Hills, and by bringing all of the places together we can follow an unbroken trail across this fabulous and diverse landscape.  

I’m particularly looking forward to cycling some of the Olympic road cycle race route, although I’m glad we’ll be going down the zig-zag road at Box Hill and not up!'

There are two departures planned for the tour: a shorter three-day version in April 2013, staying in the National Trust’s Henman Bunkhouse at Leith Hill; and a full seven-day tour in June 2013, starting at the eastern edge of the Surrey Hills estate, ending up some 70 miles further west.

The price for the three-day trip is £499 per person including all meals. The week-long activity holiday costs £899 per person to include breakfast, snacks and lunch, plus dinner on two evenings. 

All equipment for cycling and canoeing is included, so the guests need only bring walking boots/shoes and suitable clothing.

For full details of the itinerary and how to book, visit

The Lake District - Tarn Hows

Opps, it has been a very long time since our last update/blog and a lot of water has gone under the bridge, I mean that literally.

Since mid summer time here in the UK it seems to have done nothing but rain, rain and even more rain. I know we are known for our green and pleasant land but marsh and wet land seems to be taking over with rivers swollen and lakes full to overflow.

Maybe we should take up boating? Actually, thinking about it that is not such a bad idea. 

Wild camping canoe trips!!!! 

What do you reckon, is anyone into that sort of thing over here in the UK? I would love to hear from you.

Right back to hiking: As you know we were to set off for the glorious Lake District, and we did! However the plan did have to take a little change. I have suddenly found out that I am now asthmatic!

Yes I know! ...... WHAT!

Take this brown inhaler attached to a big Perspex tube in the morning, and at night.  Make sure you carry this blue one with you everywhere you go!  Oh my!

As you all well know when you are out for a few days Wild Camping you get rid of everything except the bare essentials, even the kitchen sink.  So where was I going to put all this medical gear?  I am pleased to say that common sense did prevail after talking it through with my doctor and fellow hikers. “Take the caravan and use that as a base”!   

Actually it worked really well we managed to get out into the wilds of the mountains and could return to the caravan if needed.

We found a great little camping field on a lovely farm not far from Broughton in Furnace.

Moss Side Farm allows camping and caravans, great views over the valley, nice facilities, and a some very unusual fowl roaming around the farm.

We spent most of our time up and around the hills just N/E of Coniston in the beautiful hills up and around Tarn Hows. This is a very picturesque lake nowhere near the size of some of its large neighbours, but even more lovely in many ways.

Like all wild camping you have to pick your spot carefully well out of sight and not conspicuous. There are some lovely spot up in the hills, not so high that it is very cold and rocky, but high enough to be secluded with fantastic views. 

If you are anything like us the one thing that you can’t skimp on is food, we do love our food, wild camping or not.  Now that we have a food dryer we can have very healthy meals with plenty of re-constituted vegetables.

So into the Trangia goes water to boil, dried chicken pieces, lots of dried vegetables, noodles and spicy stock to supply the taste.  Of course a reviving cup of tea to finish.

We were very lucky with the weather we had the driest few days that they had for a while, so the ground under sleeping bags was cuddly and soft, and not too wet for walking. The sunshine in the morning was enough to make the most miserable of people smile with absolute joy.

We did have the one day when the wind was so strong it was almost impossible to make headway, it seemed like one step forward and three steps back.  Even the mountain sheep had enough and were hunkered down behind any shelter that they could find. We won’t mention trying to have a wee in these conditions.

But in its own way that is just how we like it too, it is so invigorating.

Roll on the next time J