Video, Wild Swimming Nirvana

Arisaig is sea kayak central.

The reasons for this also make it a superb location for open water swimming.

Those reasons don't need a long explanation, you only have to look at a satellite image of the area (below).

If an Almighty Deity smashed a rock with celestial sledge hammer, scattering the fragments across the sea, it would look like this.  The Arisaig Skerries are spectacular.

The nearest starting point is roughly 1km away, so that would be 2km of swimming before you started on the best bits.
Aquatic maze that's constantly shifting
So we took a couple of kayaks and a canoe across, paddled a tour among the skerries which helped us get our bearings, then made a temporary camp on one of the largest islands to sue as a base from which we'd swim.

Wild swimmers like swimming around and between islands.  Here you are completely spoiled for choice.  Indeed, the route options are overwhelming, and therein lies a potential problem - getting lost.

The number and shape of these myriad islands changes minute by minute with the rise and fall of the tide.  It's like being in a maze with constantly shifting walls.  However, it's worth the effort.  There are seals all around, we saw an eagle being mobbed by gulls, and the shallow sea is crystal clear with light reflected from the sparkling white sand below.

It's an amazing place to swim, and if you want to see what it's like, watch this video.  The map of our swim is linked in the video description.

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Video, Sonder Camino Ti Review at Six Months

The Sonder Camino Ti has helped me re-discover the joy of off-road cycling, so it's no secret I like this bike.

However, there are shortcomings.  Niggles, really.  But let's go back a step.

To learn why I bought the Sonder Camino rather than the Kinesis titanium bike I had as a demonstrator, please check out this video.

My Titanium Test video sets out the comparison between the two and explains why I think the Camino is a good bike and one heck of an astonishingly good price.

Video, Fake Cycling Kit

When something looks too good to be true, it usually is.

So a Rapha brand cycling shirt for £9 plus postage was always going to be slightly dodgy - but how bad could it be?

I bought one to find out.

My parents used to own fashion shops and, back in the day, the factories which made designer dresses would often make extra, tweak a few things, then sell them as their own.  It was called "cabbage" - no idea why.

Video Series, Safety In Wild Places

It's easy to take your own skills for granted and undervalue them.

Acquired over a lifetime of exploring wild places, techniques that are second nature to me might not be to other people.

After a tricky hike-a-bike through woods, where a slip could see me impaled on a branch, I looked at my small collections of safety kit and thought, "I should tell people about this".

Video, Castle Tioram Swim

Castle Tioram is an imposing presence on Loch Moidart and a popular destination for visitors to our area.

This one one of the first lochs in which we sea kayaked, taking our rented vessels out to a lovely beach at the head of the loch.

We also 'enjoyed' more than a little excitement trying to paddle around Riska Island.  I knew a lot less about tidal streams back then and hadn't appreciated how strong they can be.

Buy This Swim Kit For Winter

Through my voluntary work with the local charity Highland Openwater Swim, I'm delighted to have played a small part in helping people to start wild swimming.

Recent converts who hope to keep swimming year-round and ask, "How do I stay warm"?

I usually give a couple of answers; get a good wetsuit that fits tight to the body - Liz and I think the BlueSeventy Thermal Reaction is the warmest we've worn.

Get a good cap too, and again BlueSeventy makes a thermal cap which fits tight to the head.

When it gets particularly chilly - under 10C - I'll add a swimming balaclava.

Video, Dunoon Dirt Dash 2019. 2-day Bikepacking Event

The Surly Dunoon Dirt Dash - what a great event!

Huge congratulations to the organisers Markus Stitz and Charlie Hobbs for delivering a weekend with such an amazing atmosphere and top quality bikepacking.

I'm sure both will have learnt loads and the 2020 event will be even better.

But it was an honour to take part in the first.  The video is below.