24 September 2011

Outdoor Swimming : Farleigh

Most of us have swam outdoors at some point in our lives, for one of many reasons. But it wasn't until I spoke to an acquaintance last year that I truly considered that we could look for places for this purpose. A month or so later there was a programme presented by Alice Roberts that looked at 'Wild Swimming' and followed Alice's journey of becoming an outdoor swimmer.

The idea of swimming in outdoor places really inspired Lucy and myself. We found ourselves of being in the really lucky position of living really close to Farleigh Hungerford, the location of Alice's and our first 'Wild Swim'. Farleigh Hungerford has a weir and is the location of the Farleigh and District Swimming Club.

Upon arrival, as Lucy donned her shiny new wet suit and I, in a very manly manner, cowered at the thought of immersing myself into the water in just my swim shorts, we met some people who were camping at the site in the next field. It was their first time too and we all had a great time tentatively embracing the water before our confidence grew and we were all swimming our seperate ways!

We have since been a further 5 or 6 times to Farleigh and really enjoy the swimming there as there are so many variables, including nature, the amount of water flowing down the river, and the amount of people swimming alongside you. We recently tried 2 new places, of which I'll write about soon. Until then, here's a photo of me swimming in the river at Farleigh...

If you'd like to visit this spot, click here. Already been here? It'd be great to hear your experiences in the comments.

Book Review: The Natural Navigator

When I first found The Natural Navigator, by Tristran Gooley, I expected a short book detailing a few tricks that I'd previously seen on TV programmes about Bushcraft and Survival. This book is so much more than that.

The book does discuss some of the methods shown on these TV programmes, it also goes into depth explaning why some of them can assist you, also why a lot of them cannot. The primary purpose of The Natural Navigator, is to explain to us how to find out which way we are looking. Potentially quite boring, but in fact, an exciting read. We look at how to find our direction from the land, the sun, the firmament, the moon, the sea, and the elements.

It must be said that this isn't a field guide, there is a pocket guide version of this book which I assume is a field guide to navigation. This book does contain all of the practical advise that you need, but it's also layered with a lot of theory. The theory can at time bog the reader down with a lot of information that would need multiple reads (or attendance at Mr. Gooley's Navigation course), but is ultimately worth reading so that when you come across it again you not only have a passing knowledge of the information, but will be able to take on board deeper aspects of it. Most of the theory in the book is also reiterated with helpful diagrams.

The author completes the book with a chapter that contains a few examples of how to bring the concepts of the previous chapters together. This book can really help you not only use natural navigation as part of your navigation tool kit, but can also bring a new level of awareness to your surroundings and what made them the way you see them today. Definitely worth a read!

Own or Loan:         Loan
Read Again:           No
Recommend:         Yes
Overall out of Five:4

15 September 2011

Rights of Way

Just a quick post. I've been a bit busy with a new job. Mark and myself went camping a couple of weekends ago - it was a good and eventful trip. One of us will do a write up shortly.

I receive the online magazine from Ordnance Survey and this time it has an article about Rights of Way, which I thought was worth sharing, especially after a previous post about Rights of Way. The article is available here. It covers the symbols that you'll see on maps regarding rights of way and the signs that you'll see on the trail.