Music to listen to in a field: my top 10 songs about being outdoors

January 27, 2011 § 1 Comment

One of my favourite things in the whole world: cycling along a canal to a field full of clover, lying down and watching the clouds drift, sharing an MP3 player with someone else and listening to any of these. If you have Spotify you can listen.

Ain’t no mountain high enough – Marvin Gaye
Don’t fence me in – Bing Crosby
Underneath the stars – Kate Rusby
Little yellow spider – Devendra Banhart
Here comes the sun- The Beatles (or Belle and Sebastian’s lovely cover)
Vincent (Starry starry night) – Don McLean
Woods – Bon Iver
Moon River – Audrey Hepburn
The Water – Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling
The White Hare – Seth Lakeman

Where to listen to them by The Observer.

Glorious mud: British Military Fitness

January 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

I really really really want to do this:

It may look like a bunch of slightly crazed people running around in a muddy field but it’s actually a hardcore British Military Fitness run. In which you, erm, well you run round a muddy field. There are obstacles too. The website promises that “All of our courses are wet, muddy and challenging. Along the way you’ll find ditches, water, mud, trees and plenty of hills! You will get dirty, and your trainers will never look the same again!”

Sounds like a challenge. Anyone want to join me?

The March runs are happening in unconfirmed locations in the north of England (5th March) and London (26th March) and cost £20.

You can find out more on their website.

There’s a video too, if you don’t believe me about the mud.

Brecon Beacons: The movie. An epic drama

January 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

This is what happens when you take three mates (one of whom has IMovie and a great desire to avoid doing revision) and go on this walk to the waterfalls at Ystradfellte in the Brecon Beacons national park.

An epic tale of drama, hope, love and wilderness.

REVIEW: Do Hiker Heavy Crew Icebreakers have socks appeal?

January 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

It is very very cold in our house, as we are poor students who skimp on electricity bills and we live in Wales, not best known for its sunshiney weather. For this reason, I spend most of my time in industrial-strength socks, and thus am a bit of a sock expert. So I was pretty excited to get my hands on a pair of fluffy black and silver Hiker Heavy Crew socks by Icebreaker. They sell for £14.95 so you’d expect toasty feet. As with all my journalistic endeavours, I did not approach my review half-heartedly.

The product description: “The Icebreaker Hiker Heavy Crew has heavy cushioning throughout, whilst strategic reinforcement zones ensure maximum support, warmth and moisture management”.

Test 1: Hiking
The socks behaved themselves very well. My boots generally pinch a bit, but the Icebreakers kept me toasty warm and acted as good padding. Ideal.

Test 2: The gym
I wore my socks to the gym to see if they could cope with sweaty trainers (nice), and cope they did. I did a pretty arduous 30 minutes on the treadmill and the socks wicked away moisture efficiently. Although they felt damp when I took them off afterwards, my feet felt perfectly comfortable. Nice one.

Test 3: In bed
Toasty warm, possibly a little too much. However, whilst the socks are a size medium and I have normal sized-legs I woke up with grooves in my calves where the socks had dug in. Possibly they’ll loosen up with a few washes but they were uncomfortably tight in the morning.

Test 4: In the rain/being washed/drying
It took my thin cotton socks about two seconds to be completely soaked in water standing in a puddle. It took the Icebreakers about four seconds, so you do have a two-second window in which to step out of the puddle. They washed well but take quite a while to dry (radiators are best).

Verdict: Good quality and worth the money if you’re off trekking or hiking. I wouldn’t buy them for light walking or anything that won’t make you sweat, as that is when they work best and you’d be fine with something thinner. My only mild criticism would be that the tops are too tight – but perhaps I just have fat calves. All in all, happy feet.

The Urban Outdoors

January 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Being in the middle of New York doesn’t mean you can’t get into the outdoors spirit, as one of my favourite fashion photographers, The Sartorialist, has captured.
This photo makes me happy.

Photo by Scott Schuman, taken on Broome St, NYC

Photography – Hunting fossils on the Jurassic Coast

January 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

A few weeks ago a friend and I drove down to Kimmerage to do some David Attenborough-style exploring, collect fossils and get some (very chilly) sea air. Photos by Gregory Jones.

BBC – Great British Outdoors

January 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Great British Outdoors - BBC 4

The BBC’s Great British Outdoors was billed by Iplayer as “Mud, midges, barbed wire – just why do us Brits love the great outdoors? In this nostalgic look at life for campers, twitchers, ramblers and metal detectors, Mark Benton examines the history of the British fresh air freak.” and RamblingJack on the Live for the Outdoors forum said it was “a very light hearted look at some of the strange things we get up to in the outdoors” so I was pretty excited about watching it (because I’m cool like that). However, I found the whole thing rather too nostalgic. It was a sweet look at rather naff camping in the 1970s narrated by a mildly irritating guy poking fun at anoraked caravanners trying to fry bacon on gas cookers, and nothing to do with practical, realistic camping or hiking, and ignoring anything along the lines of mountain climbing. Probably only a good shout if you actually did go camping in the 70s and want to laugh at how awful it looked.

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