It’s our 30th birthday in August! It’s a great landmark in our history. So, by way of a celebration, we thought we should also celebrate everything that lies at the heart of our company. We asked writer, surfer and camper van adventurer, Martin Dorey, to put together a list of his (and our) favourite 30 things to do in summer. These are the kind of things that you’ll find us doing on our days off (and sometimes during our lunch hours too) and what we think of when we’re designing our clothes.
So grab a towel, put the key in the ignition and hit the road on 30 fantastic, fun filled adventures.
This week we’re looking for fun with some of our favourite activities.
1. WILD SWIMS: River Dart, Sharrah Pool
The River Dart, which rises high among the granite Tors of Dartmoor, is a short but mighty river. It covers less than 50 miles and yet, in its short life it has many characters. It is everything at once: a torrent, a meandering soul, an ebbing estuary, deep and wide, shallow and fast. The Sharrah Pool is one of those legendary places that you have to work to get to: it’s a couple of miles from Newbridge and the walking isn’t always easy. There’s a waterfall and a long, deep pool. Magical, but a word of caution: keep an eye out for rain upstream. She’s a fickle beast that river…
2. PICNIC IN THE WILD: Bodmin Quarries
First you need to find a place called Minions, which is tucked away on Bodmin Moor. Then you need to follow the path to The Cheese Wring but before you get there you need to take a fork in the muddy track that will take you over the barren and windswept remains of Bodmin’s mining industry. It’s a World Heritage Site and it’s lovely, of course, if a little desolate on a winter’s day. In summer, however, when the heather is at its most fragrant and the peaty soil feels spongy underfoot, it’s a feast for the senses. In a while you’ll come to an old, flooded quarry with clear, cool water. Be careful where you jump in, but do jump in. It’s one of the best kept secrets around these parts. Bring a picnic, swim, laugh, enjoy. A gem on the moor.
3. BLUE POOL DREAMING: The Blue Lagoon, Abereiddi
There aren’t many places better than Bodmin for wild swimming. The Blue Pool is definitely one of them. It’s an old slate mine, abandoned, very, very deep and breached by the sea. Now, instead of industry it brings tourism, as it has become a world famous wild swimming and diving spot, thanks to its crystal clear water and the impossible hues of blue that the slate gives it. There are safe jumps and you can go as high as you dare, but be aware that you’ll need to be confident in deep water. It is very deep. Did we say that? So deep, in fact, that you shouldn’t be surprised if you see scuba divers rising from the depths…
4. SUPING: Camel Estuary
SUPs (or paddle boards) have their place for sure. While surfing purists might not like them, they do offer you the opportunity to get out on the water to explore nooks and crannies that you might not otherwise get to see. Blow up SUPS can be inflated anywhere so you can hike with it on your back, pump it up and head out. And the great thing is that mastering the basics is easy. Our favourite place to hit the water is the Camel Estuary. At high tide you can explore all kinds of creeks and inlets. Let the incoming take you upstream then come back down to where you started with the ebb. You could even take a picnic!
First timers can get lessons with Harlyn Surf School.
5. CYCLING: The Bodmin Beast, Cardinham Woods
There are off road blue routes and there are off road blue routes. Then there’s the Bodmin Beast. This is a 12 kilometer whopper with some really great cycling for the average MTBer and their pedal pumping kids. The Beast has some tricky uphill bits but the reward is some flowing downhill single track sections that will make you forget all the pain of the climb. If you’re new to mountain biking be prepared to cast off your inhibitions and feel 10 again as you freewheel round tight berms and over table tops through lovely, Cornish woodland. You will ADORE the feeling.
6. WALKING: Dartmoor Tors
In 1960 the Ten Tors challenge was created by the British Army to encourage kids from scouting groups, schools and youth clubs to get out and enjoy the wildness of Dartmoor national park. Since the first one it has grown into a huge event, with 2400 teenagers taking part each May. You don’t have to do the challenge yourself but it’s something to aim for. Dartmoor has plenty of Tors to choose from which means you can make up your own walk to take in as many of these rocky outcrops as you like. Yes Tor is the highest, at 619m above sea level. There are miles of trails and paths on Dartmoor, so pull on your boots, get a compass and a good map (and maybe some decent supplies) and get walking. It is possible to wild camp legally on Dartmoor so the possibilities for adventure are endless…
7. TIDE SURFING: Severn Estuary
This is one for the more experienced surfers, but don’t let that put you off. Following the surfers upstream – dashing from one spot to another as the tide races up the river - is still very exciting. If you’re surfing you can ride the Severn Bore (a tidal wave that pushes up the River Severn with big spring tides) for minutes at a time, and, if you are lucky, for miles. As with any kind of surfing there is an etiquette and the locals have their secret spots where the wave breaks better, but, on the whole it’s a different vibe from the beach. It’s super friendly and fun. Plus you have no choice but to share the wave – there’s only one per tide!
For tide times and locations click here.
8. CYCLE CRUISING: Tarka Trail and Camel Trail
If you think the Bodmin Beast (number 5) might be a bit much for you and the kids, then there’s a safe, easy way to see Devon and Cornwall by bike. The Tarka Trail starts in Braunton in the north and goes as far as Meeth in the south, with most of it following disused railway lines. The cycling is off road for the entire way, with no steep gradients and nothing in the way of hills. There are cycle hire shops along the way, as well as ice cream stops, cafes and lovely views. Fresh air abounds!
It’s the same with the Camel trail, which follows another disused branch line from Wenford bridge to Padstow. Again there are stops and views and the odd pub lunch to be had along the way. Perfect for the not-so-adventurous cyclists.
9. WAKEBOARDING: North Devon Wake Park
Wakeboarding is a great sport that’s relatively easy to get to grips with (the average person will be standing after one 15 minute session), especially when you try it on a cable tow rather than behind a boat. If at first you don’t succeed, you can try, try, try again until you get it right. And there’s no where better to do it for the first time than at North Devon Wake Park. Joe and his team are expert wakeboarders and are very patient with newbies, so you won’t ever be made to feel silly if it takes you a few goes to get it right. After that they can take you from novice to pro – if you’re hungry enough!
10. SAILING: Stithians Lake, Redruth
Sailing dinghies is fun, really fun. Ok, so you might capsize a couple of times on your journey to Yacht Master, but you’ll have a huge amount of fun. Did we say it is fun? Lessons or taster sessions are the way to get going, then, if you love it, you might have to do a course to be able to hire a boat for yourself, but it’s worth putting in the effort. The watersports centre at Stithians Lake is a great place to learn to sail because you don’t have to be a member or be experienced, plus you can camp at the local pub or on site. Book yourself on a taster course, hire a kayak or SUP, put up your tent, relax and enjoy a great weekend at the waterside. On sunny days there’s not much better.