I’m a flipping sucker for #britishadventures, I’ve been and will continue to promote and explore journeys and adventures on our British isles. We’ve so much to do and see packed in to these islands we call home, so today whilst on my walk to the office through the banking district in the heart of our capital city I decided to list out my ten #britishadventures to think about doing in 2016.
They’ll be based on time taken, seeing the most available within the trip and something that I thinks important not only be able to do them on various forms of transport but also be achievable by the masses, and inspiring enough to make people think “maybe I could do that”.
No single one is rated or deemed to be better or tougher than any other, this list is designed to bring inspiration and spark that little something to make you go buy a book or google the idea. Go buy the book though, books are cool, and it helps make the idea real. Loads of friends go buy books or maps about their next trip, it’s a way of confirming and investing in the trip from the outset!
Lands end to John O’Groats, I know I know, but don’t get yourself in a huff I’m starting with a biggie I agree, it’s the UK’s most well-known cycle route at around 950 miles it’s no snip of a challenge but equally achievable by all, I mean dam I’ve scooted this route in three weeks so don’t ever tell yourself you couldn’t cycle it in 16-20 days.
Other ways to travel this route include running, an average time of 6-10 weeks, elliptigo and scoot or like Sean Conway who’s the king of LEJOG with him cycling, running and swimming, yes swimming. He’s setting off to sail it too! It’s also been skate boarded and a woman this year even pushed a bed the 1000 miles too! See this really is a route for all types of transport.
Personally I’ve been a fan of canals for a few years now, the more I use them the more in love I fall with this journey experience. Canals, seriously where do I start, they were build a good few hundred years ago they hold a fabulous amount of British history and were our cities life lines and brought about the industrial revolution in my eyes, or were at least an influential part of its growth.
Adventure, right, we have 2000 miles of canal path/waterway and just take a little look you’ll see they are perfect access to city and countryside alike. I beg of you to do at least one canal challenge in 2016, even if its walk Regents canal in London which stretches from Paddington Basin to Lime house Basin, It allowed waste to be transported out of London and created a link from the grand union canal to the Thames.
These routes are easy walking, running or cycling as they’re pretty flat with most paths being suitable for hybrid bikes. We have routes such as the great previously mentioned Grand union canal over 130 miles of walking and pretty impossible to get lost with no major navigation skills needed! Other routes include my previously scooted Liverpool-Leeds route 127 miles of stunning northern loveliness, and even further north the Lancaster canal which is simply beautiful.
Them being flat, well signed with pubs cafes a plenty on most routes, canal adventures fit right in with accessibility for all, challenges to suit everyone from a quick cycle or run to a three day mammoth trip to cover London to Birmingham and even kayak any number of routes. A perfect building point for any budding adventure nut wanting a challenge to practise skills and enjoy our heritage.
Coast to coast
This is high up on my list of to do’s, and in many different forms. 2016 will see me cross the country 2 possibly three times at least…
This journey is a real achievement and confidence booster, from its narrowest 70 miles in Northern England and also Hadrian’s Wall to The great glen way in Scotland and tag the last bit on to Oban, or for the southerners Weston super mare to Whitstable via Avon canal and the Thames and through London is a epic 280 mile option. Again these routes can be done on foot, fat bike and now even Kayak with the Liverpool-Leeds canal now opening up the final section to the coast through Leeds.
Theres even a widest crossing of the UK to be done, I’ll let you figure it out for yourself, but it’s a first and I’ll be running it starting in May!
This may be a long section as there are many three peaks options, I’ll list them below!
National three peaks (Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike & Snowdon)
National challenge is based on completing climbing all three mountains and traveling via motorised transport (within legal speed limits) in under 24 hours. This can be gruelling with down time and cramped whilst trying to get some rest, also you have to factor in climbing one of the mountains in darkness so not a challenge for a novice, although guides in all areas are available and would be advised! Believe it or not this challenge has also been undertaken on bike, yes bike, cycling between the peaks, it’s a 500 mile ride too which turns up the effort factor to +10. It’s been completed in as short as 3 days but a typical time could see you successful with 6 days. It can also be walked, Kayaked AND sailed.
This is a single day challenge normally done in under 12 hours, within the Yorkshire dales national park. It takes in three peaks above 690 metres Pen-y-Ghent (691M) Whernside (728M) and Ingleborough (723M) This really is a great challenge to use as training prior to attempting the National three peaks and to see this stunning part of the UK.
Welsh(Snowdon, Cadir Idris & Penny Fan)
This is the most un known of the Three Peaks trips. Personally the best way to experience this is by cycling between the peaks, its around 180 miles all in. I’d throw down the gauntlet and say its possible in 36 hours but 2-3 days would be much more suitable. Theirs hostals and camps sites pretty close by to stop and re fuel and rest. It’s on my list for 2016 as a nonstop beasting trip!
Gang, the sea, our coast line. Mostly looked upon as uninspiring and not the golden sandy beaches that other countries offer, but let me tell you our beaches and coastal walking rocks in with the best!
We’ve over 5000 MILES, yes miles of coast line and no one lives more than 70 or so miles from the sea (not sure that’s entirely accurate!) there’s nothing more special than flipping through a OS map and find a cheeky cove google mapping it to check its spanking and heading off. I’ve done this so many times and found some utterly breath-taking places, and stumbled upon a few too! And to sleep on a beach with friends and wake up with the sea sunrise is a must do, but always check the tide and the weather things can get pretty wild on the coast.
Oh crumbs that wasn’t what I wanted to say, it was about traveling and exploring the coast line! Well, from town to town or city to city, be it a day, a weekend warrior or like Elise EIGHT month run around our coast there are so many beautiful strange crazy places to visit, AND, Ice cream, fish and chips and you’ll ALWAYS find a random crazy knocking around a coast path, just start worrying the day you question if it’s you or not!
Travel by river
This is on my personal list, whether it’s by Kayak, canoe or Stand up paddle board 2016 will see me get on the water to experience the feeling of that different view point to life. The life on the water, it’s at a much slower uninterrupted and simpler idea. Start where the river does and follow the flow from source to sea, of course you don’t have to be so crazy there’s plenty of day & weekend options to hire boats and a guide you can even get camping and dinner thrown in too! And a great option for kids with the UK full of rivers and lakes it’s a easy way to get out and do something they’ll love, kids love a splash around in water right?
Swimming, Swimming, Swimming. My personal weak spot. It seems to be a cool thing to do again. Outdoor or “wild swimming” as it’s called is like a whole thing!! Whether you’re doing it in a local swimming lake or researching rivers and safe spots to take a dip its one great way to add a little happiness and twist to a adventure, pack some trunks and goggles and let loose on a sunset swim. Many people pack gear up in a cheap dingy and swim drag it to a remote island on a lake for a weekend of peace and quiet. Its ever more becoming a form of transport for adventures, and when you thing about it with not only the uk but the world so covered by water it has to be a strong option for that summer adventure.
This is where it’s at for me, pack a 20L bag with a few bits my KIT LIST IS HERE, dive out the office and find a hill top or water side location to share food, giggles and stories with friends both new and old. Watch the sun set get some shut eye and the world wakes you with a bright and Cherrie slap around the chops! Share a coffee and wonder at that sunrise before jumping back on the commuter train to annoy everyone else with your adventure tank topped right back to 100%. If your aware of these but haven’t taken the plunge seriously you are missing out, its life changing. It maximises every second out of your life, warms your soul with the views, people met and tales told AND, AND, builds skills seriously it does. One mid-week night under the stars and getting up and functioning again is the tough bit of an bigger adventure once you’ve that nailed the rest falls into place.
I will mention, keep it hush hush, leave no trace, keep it to a small group and no tents, bivvi bags, tarps if you must and hammocks for in woodland. Yes you should ask permission and yes it’s illegal/frowned upon, but personally the only issue I’ve had is not sleeping because of excitement and my breakfast being eaten by dogs. I have been caught by the police on the beach but they woke us to ask, seriously “are you guys having an illegal rave” the two of us grunted “does it look like we’re having a rave” they turned and left us alone. Be careful, if possible scope out the site prior to going to get a feel for the footfall. My last piece of advice on the matter is unless its remote don’t start a fire, it’s not your land and will raise attention.
We’ve 15 of the blighters in the UK ranging from Dartmoor in the south west to Avimore in the Scottish highlands never mind the other 13 in-between. Many are mountainous and some in Wales on the Pembrokeshire coast and Norfolk broads cover vast areas of coast line. These area’s are great British institutions and the type of thing our country is famous for. You’ll usually find camp sites, YHA’s and a plethora of outdoor adventure type activities to try from mountain biking, geocaching to hiring a boat on Lake Windermere and Snowdonia even has its own zip wire and in shore surf centre!
AHHH man, I’m so excited to get outside and start clearing some of these off my list of to do’s. Please let me know if you have any other questions about these places or challenges, I’ve tried to keep the blog as short as possible!