GoApe Aberfoyle

With a beastly winter coming our way I am starting to cram as many outdoor activities I can into Autumn before we are hit with -temperatures. The last few weeks have been very sea/loch based for me so I was keen to stay on dry land for a few days – and yesterday I took that to another level and went sky-high! I don’t know how I have managed to go 5 years in Glasgow without ever visiting GoApe – but if you live in the area, or nearby any of the other GoApe courses you have got to give this a go.

Adele and I got SO lucky with the weather, I booked two weeks prior to our visit and when I woke up yesterday morning it was one of those cold, crisp and sunny autumnal days. SCORE! But if you don’t get so lucky, I would recommend bringing waterproof trousers and a jacket – if you have as much grace as me you’ll be on your backside often and therefore pretty wet and muddy!

While GoApe is a great place for children, you don’t need to be a young flexible whiz kid to enjoy this place. We went for a girly day out and had a blast. I also think it would be such a fun alternative date idea – I’d much rather swing about trees for an afternoon than go for cocktails. Although, cocktails post tree swinging would be nice…

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So what to wear and what to bring
  • Closed toe shoes (trainers were perfect)
  • Trousers/gym leggings – that can get a little mucky
  • Waterproofs if its going to be wet
  • Gloves would be a good idea – I didn’t bring any and my hands were getting sore towards the end (big wimp).
  • Some snacks, or pennies to buy snacks at the end. Tree swinging makes for thirsty work.
What to expect

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On arrival you are given safety rules to read through (pretty important as you are responsible for your own safety on this course). Then given a safety briefing by a team member who then ensures you have your harness on correctly, and shows you exactly how to clip on and off all the wires.

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Thrown into the deep end – the start of this course is a spectacular 426m zip line through the trees to the first landing station where you begin the route.

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With a body pumped with adrenaline you make your way round 5 different aerial assault courses with various challenges on each – my personal favourite being the Tarzan swing. Ahhh ah ahh ahhhhh!

My least favourite being…img_7901.jpg

Always time for a quick selfie (you can take phones/cameras round as long as they zip away in the a pocket).

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And finally at the end – after many Tarzan Jane fails and a very muddy bum we were presented with a certificate of awesomeness. Thanks Go Ape!

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I also thought I’d mention – if the whole family is coming along but only a few people want to participate in the Go Ape course… there is lots more to do. Plenty trails for walking/biking in the surrounding areas, also Ben A’an and Ben Venue are right next door for hill walkers. And for those with tired legs – the cafe is great and has incredible cake!

Go Ape Aberfoyle

Keep up with recent adventures @ronamcmillan

Rona X

 

Kit Review – DRYROBE

A Dryrobe has been on my kit wish list for almost a year. I had a shot of my brothers Dryrobe on Christmas day last year and it was incredible. We had been out on the water and in the water all day and I got very very cold. This isn’t usual for me, I do get cold easily and I’m used to it. However that day I had next level chills; and the Dryrobe got me home without getting dangerously cold.

So, to my delight – a Dryrobe has been added to the kit bag just in time for winter adventures. This piece of kit is for when a towel doesn’t quite cut it anymore, you need more warmth and more protection from the elements – pre swims, post swims and for general use in cold situations.

When would I use it?

Wild swimming – for the last two weeks I’ve not needed to bother with clothes when I jump in the car or on my bike to get to the water. Dry robe before and after every swim, no shivery changing situations and straight into something that will warm me up.

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Competitions – it’s obvious now when I’m at triathlons and open water swims (usually cheering on my mum) that Dryrobe’s are becoming an essential bit of kit. There’s always a lot of standing around before and after a race, and often transport on boats with a lot of exposure to weather. Staying warm and dry in these situations is so important.

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Car park changing – I can say bon voyage to the car park struggle. Trying to get your pants on the right way round without your towel falling down – with numb hands its always a battle. Dryrobe = cosy changing palace!

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Photography – this is a bit of an alternative use, but since the weather is getting colder I’ve used my Dryrobe on a few occasions for photography. If I’m out with my tripod for long periods of time not moving I get really cold, so it has been really handy for that.

Van adventures – van dressing gown? The best thing ever. I say van and not tent because the Dryrobe takes up quite a lot of room so it’s not ideal for tent camping, but perfect to have in a van.

Boat journeys – wind chill is something I always forget to consider if we are heading somewhere on a rib/open top boat. Sticking my Dryrobe on over my wetty keeps that wind off, as well as sea spray and rain.

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Features
  • Completely waterproof and windproof
  • Super warm synthetic lambs wool lining
  • Full lengths 2 way reversible zip
  • Fleece lined pockets
  • Lightweight (1.3kg)
  • Waterproof chest pocket
  • Internal zip pocket (phone, wallet, iPod)
  • Huge A4 sized internal pocket
  • Velcro wrists
Key Benefits
  • Fits over clothing/wetsuit
  • Re-use multiple times without it feeling wet
  • Provides protection from the elements
  • The lining draws water away from my skin
  • Dries me instantly and continues to keep me warm
  • Hands kept warm in the insulated pockets
  • Stores my things safely (phone, money, camera, snacks)
  • Lightweight to carry

To sum it up, I can’t fault this product. It great, and truly a lifesaver for someone like me who gets very very cold. It’s something that will always be in the boot of my car ready to use. I also got a Dryrobe drybag with my order (bought separately) which I would recommend as the robe does take up a bit of space if it’s not in a bag.

I’ve had a lot of questions over price, this robe is £110. It is a pricey purchase and something to consider. For me, it came down to safety and how the product would perform keeping me warm and dry in challenging situations. It works – and therefore it is worth it in my opinion!

www.dryrobe.com

Thanks for reading

Keep up with adventures @ronamcmillan

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Afternoon hike – Ben A’an

A sunny morning in Glasgow – so Adele and I decide to go for a wee jolly up Ben A’an. Reasons being – I’ve never been up Ben A’an before, it is small enough to do in a short afternoon and Adele told me she’d never climbed a hill before. Say what!

I’d heard about Ben A’an through a string of people who have told me its the best wee hill in the Trossachs for a short walk with great views, and it’s not far from Glasgow.

Ben A’an has its own car park at the foot of the hill which is just off the A821, you cross the road and are immediately onto the track. The walk begins with a lovely steep incline to ease those seized hips into action, up and out into the open.

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The path is extremely well maintained – and although most surrounding trees have been felled recently (which is kinda ugly) there is a nice breeze the whole way up.

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The rest of the walk provides a fantastic view of Ben A’an’s pointed summit. A good indication of how far you have left to stumble, and gives plenty photo ops!

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Onto the rocky summit of Ben A’aan – and Adele has ticked off her first hill. Wayhay!

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Almost the full length of Loch Katrine is in view from up here with Ben Venue in the distance.

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Overall, Ben A’an – perfect for a short walk, great for beginner hill walkers, ideal for kids and a nice one to ease yourself back into hill walking if you’ve not been out in a while i.e., me!

Thanks for reading – keep up with all my adventures @ronamcmillan

Rona x

KAYAKING & WILD CAMPING IN LOCH KISHORN

It’s happened again – I’m the bearer of bad weather. I arrived in ‘sunny Kishorn’ – a small village in the Scottish Highlands where my mum moved to about two years ago. It’s an incredible place, surrounded by towering mountains, endless horizons, views of Skye – an ideal place for those who love to be outside. But whenever I visit… ‘sunny Kishorn’ loses its title. It’s the day before our trip and it’s dreich, windy and pretty miserable. However, that is a traditional Scottish summer and the addition of the wind means the subtraction of midges, so it’s not all bad.

The optimist in me predicted good weather for our kayaking camping trip, but nope. It’s still blowing a hoolie. With all of our kit stuffed into dry bags and stored inside our kayaks my mum and I headed off into the waves. We originally planned to paddle directly from Kishorn Bay to our destination (in a straight line) – makes sense on a calm day! But with the weather being borderline stormy we stuck to the coastline avoiding the worst of the swell.

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My mum, by the way, is of far higher ability than me in a kayak. She knows her stuff and has done heaps of rescue training. I am an amateur – but always enjoy going out and getting practice in. Thankfully today is not a good day for kayak rolling – so I’m off the hook!

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We had a good idea of where we could camp, but getting there was proving to be tricky. At this point I found paddling along to the beat of ‘another one bites the dust’ very motivational. However the further we got, the bigger the swell was… so instead of being numpties and having to call in the coast guard to be rescued we beached ourselves early and walked the rest of the route. Leaving the kayaks up high on a grassy bank.

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We clambered through thick bracken – getting mauled by ticks, and along the shoreline to a small bay with a stoney beach and large flat grassy area ideal for an overnighter… pretty certain this is the one we had in mind, and if not… it would do! Bonus, there were even two strong trees so I could try out the hammock.

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With views of the infamous Cuillin mountains on Skye and west facing (meaning sunsets) this beach should have been the perfect spot for a night under the stars. Except, when we got there the cloud cover was so thick I couldn’t even see the small island less than a km away, so no chance of a sunset OR stars… and the wind was chopping away at the sea so much my dream of a sea swim quickly went out the window. I also spotted enough large red jellyfish on our paddle to put me off a dip that day.

So – we set up camp, boiled up some water for cups of tea, changed into dry kit and had a wander around our highland residence of paradise. We found lots of small caves hidden among the vegetation that were piled with remains of old camping kit; sleeping bags, tanks of gas, glass bottles and clothing. Strange and creepy, and enough to stop me entering the caves for further investigation.

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So what happened for the rest of the night? Not very much – read books, scribbled in my sketchbook, heated up some soup for dinner… got cosy! I played with my camera for a while hoping that I would spot an otter on night watch… but that didn’t happen. My mum and I had a good catch up since we don’t get to see each other that often anymore, which was really nice because if we were in the house we would probably be watching a box set or something instead. I wrote some short stories in my notebook and eventually fell asleep (kind of).

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When I woke up, I was cold, damp and desperate to get home. My frustration with Scottish weather consumed me for about an hour until I got back into the kayak and started to paddle home; and it all disappeared. I felt so happy, grinning from ear to ear – I felt like I’d been on the biggest adventure with my mum.

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We didn’t wait for good weather, or let the depressing appearance of dark cloud put us off. I think every single time I go off to do something a little bit wild, there is always a moment when I think I’d rather be at home nice and warm. But these wild and crazy experiences are the best, they’re the days I never forget and I can tell everyone about that time I thought sleeping in a hammock in strong winds and torrential rain was a good idea. Well, I ALWAYS come home happy, and am very appreciative of a mug of tea and a good sleep. I think that speaks wonders.

Thanks for reading – keep up with all my recent adventures @ronamcmillan

Rona x

 

TMF more than just a festival

Hands down, Tiree is my favourite of the Hebridean islands and also home to my favourite event of the year. Tiree Music Festival is a haven for Scottish trad music, supporting both new and established bands from all around the country. What’s really magical about this festival is the location; Tiree is a paradise of white sandy beaches with incredible surf, lush green fields and meadows of wild flowers. I heard so many people this year describe it as the ‘Hawaii of the North,’ and it’s true – Tiree really is an idyllic location whether festival-ing or not.

It is also a known fact that Tiree, along with its neighbouring island Coll receive more sunshine than anywhere else in the UK. Which I can vouch for 98% of the time – although with the sun comes immense wind, and since Tiree is extremely flat… temperatures don’t quite reach those of Hawaii. IMG_8766The adventure of TMF begins in Oban harbour, where hundreds of festival go-ers catch the 6.15am boat… only this year Callum and I missed the service update and turned up at 7.15am for the normal sailing (which was obviously canceled for the festival timetable) DOH! Luckily CalMac were running two boats that day, and we caught the second. IMG_2079Unlike most years, we are without the adventure camper van… so we hired a car from MacLennan Motors which worked out cheaper than taking our own car over… somehow! Tiree is deceivingly bigger than it looks on a map, so having either a bike or a car/van is really handy if you want to explore all its endless hidden gems.

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RIP Rusty – we miss you

Thursday night

We arrived on the late boat, pitched our tent and headed to Balevullin for some sunset steaks cooked on our super high-tech BBQ.

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Friday

Began with some coffees and cakes for breakfast from Yellow Hare on Scarnish Pier.IMG_2070Followed by half an hour of faffing with sim cards – incase you didn’t know signal is pants on the west coast… so we thought we’d swap to Vodafone for the weekend. Which worked well for signal, but 3G/4G was really just fakeG. IMG_2096We then ditched the car at Caolas and walked down to the beach that meets the Gunna Sound, as we were yet again in search of basking sharks… and the sound is known to be a hot spot for the sharks at this time of year.IMG_2100Our luck doesn’t seem to change with b sharks, so we were unsuccessful AGAIN. Even after sitting perched on a small rocky island between Coll and Tiree for an hour shark watching… or wave watching it turned out to be! IMG_7892IMG_2214So – in the afternoon we packed up the boards and drove back to west side of the island to our favourite free diving/snorkeling spot… this one is remaining unnamed im afraid since not many people seem to know about it… yet. Processed with VSCO with c7 presetThat evening we headed back to the festival, stalling to have some predrinks in the boot of our car… if that’s allowed? If not, this isn’t us… IMG_7639And that night we had tunes from Beinn Lee, Ho-RO and Trail West – among many many others. IMG_7659

Saturday

A wee bit hungover, so some animal therapy to cure the sore heads and a wander at a few beaches before a prolonged snooze in the car at Balevullin.IMG_7618_Facetune_13-07-2018-11-17-06IMG_7614IMG_7891IMG_7533IMG_8754SHOWERED and back in time for tunes from Rura and Skerryvore. S/O to Kirsty, Louisa, Rowen and Katherine for having us round to their house for bacon rolls and a shower – nothing like west coast hospitality! IMG_7746IMG_7727

Sunday

We drove down to Hynish for a wee swim and picnic before the madness of Sunday night began, and met a few bonnie coos on the way… IMG_7859IMG_8755…round three beginsIMG_7771_Facetune_15-07-2018-17-53-24IMG_7800Also, did I mention the food at TMF? What other festival serves champagne and oysters from Loch Fyne? SO GOOD!  IMG_8756And for our Sunday sesh we had tunes from, Elephant Sessions and Skipinnish. What an incredible final night. IMG_7179

It gets better every year, and whatever the weather… we will see you next summer!

Rona and Callum X

@ronamcmillan

@ahoycallum

 

 

Traveling Sardinia

Summer seems to have totally caught up with me this year, I feel like I’m still just getting into the swing of this sunshine and I am NOT ready for it to leave. Last minute frantic planning for our Sardinian adventure comes as no surprise, as most of our trips are spontaneous… or just unorganised. We booked flights to the island after a bit of googling research ‘where can I do lots of fun stuff in the sun, eat good food and not get ripped off?’ was the basis of my search. And after scrolling through breathtaking pictures of Sardinia on Lonely Planet, flights were bought and the decision was made. I make that sound a lot simpler than it was – Callum and I are both  faffers, and we totally faffed over where to go for a little longer than that! But a large mediterranean island, with spectacular mountains, cliffs and caves accompanied by crystal clear turquoise water for snorkelling and free diving? How could we say no…

IMG_7233So basically – post holiday I’ll cut to the chase and totally recommend Sardinia (especially the northern part of the island) as a place to visit… and double especially if you are outdoorsy and up for a bit of exploring.

Before you go

How to get around – 100% you’ve got to rent a car, the island is large, everything is spread out… and there isn’t really much going on with public transport – I didn’t see a single bus or train the whole time we were there. But we found this such a great way to get around. (Just double-check your accommodation has parking).

Best time to go – June & September, we read a lot online about prices surging in July/August and all the lovely quiet areas we visited would most likely be hoaching during these months.

How to get there – unfortunately there are no direct flights from Scotland, so we had to get a connection via London (but that was actually straight forward and not too much hassle). We flew into Olbia which is ideal for exploring the northern part of the island.

Where to stay

Cala Gonone – is where the limestone peaked mountains meet the sea via sheer cliffs with incredible caves and white beaches. We absolutely loved staying in Cala Gonone, it had a very low-key friendly vibe and was ideal for exploring both mountains and sea.

Processed with VSCO with c8 presetGPTempDownloadIMG_1736Alghero – is one of Sardinia’s most loved medieval cities. We stayed in the old town which was a beautiful section of the city with traditional old buildings, no cars and was bursting with culture and incredible restaurants. Parking was a bit of an issue since there was no cars allowed in the old town – but we managed to find free parking at the marina (I know shock – marinas are usually extortionate).

Costa Smeralda – we didn’t actually stay here, although I’ve heard it’s a favourite for anyone looking for a bit of glam. We visited the area for a day, and it is very beautiful. Although if looking at other people’s super yachts and cars is off-putting, I’d stay clear!

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Where to visit (day trips)

Olbia – despite its industrial outskirts, Olbia has a beautiful historic centre. We stopped here for lunch on our way north to Costa Smeralda and were pleasantly surprised by how authentic and affordable it was. Lots of lovely boutiques, cafes and wine bars.

Dorgali – looking for a tourist free zone? Dorgali is small and nestled within the limestone mountains (not far from Cala Gonone). Ideal for hikers and climbers.

Porto Cervo – sooo, not exactly our kind of play ground but if you’re looking to pop champagne and wander round super yachts for an afternoon… Porto Cervo is your place. Lots of designer shops, swanky restaurants and all kinds of other fancy stuff.

Stintino – home to Sardinia’s most recognisable beach Spiaggia della Pelosa, and at the islands most northwestern tip the small village has beautiful views and unspoilt scenery. We had a really chilled day here, the beach was busy (so we didn’t last long) but we walked into the village and had the best meal of our holiday at La Darsena.

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Things to do

Explore mountain tracks – there are heaps of incredible mountain ‘tracks’ online, the ones we found were really scrambley so I’d recommend sturdy trainers for the hills.

Beach hopping – there are dozens upon dozens of beautiful white beaches all along the coast line (I imagine all the way around the island) – and most have paths between each one ranging from 1 hour to 5 hour walks. Also very scrambley with lots of loose rock, so not one for the flip-flops!

IMG_3758Rent a boat – we did this in both Cala Gonone and Alghero. Cala Gonone was probably the favoured location due to the incredible cliffs, caves and swimming spots. Alghero was almost as equally nice, but not quite as breathtaking as Cala Gonone.

IMG_4601Snorkel/free dive/scuba dive – we brought our own kit bags from home, but there are heaps of dive schools, centres and rental shops in every town and village.

Image 22GPTempDownload 2Processed with VSCO with 1 presetKayak/SUP board – again you can find places to rent boards and kayaks everywhere – Cala Gonone seemed to be the best location for this to paddle into the incredible caves.

Cook with produce from local markets – even if you miss the markets, the small local shops sell the most incredible produce. We only ate in one evening, but had breakfast and lunch in our apartments quite often… the most simple food tastes so good!

Eat out – do your research or ask your apartment/b&b owner to recommend the best local restaurants. We got pointed in the right direction and it really paid off, the food was honestly incredible.

IMG_5197IMG_5249Wine tasting – I’d save this for the west coast, which is teaming with farm land and vineyards… from large businesses running tours, to smaller independent family run sites – whatever tickles your taste buds!

Overall, we had an incredible time in Italy. If anyone fancies a Sardinian adventure and wants to ask some questions, slide on into my DMs on Instagram and I’ll be happy to chat! @ronamcmillan

Thanks for reading

R x

Trespass goes 2 TRNSMT

Finally, its festival season! And unlike pervious summers in Scotland… for as long as I can remember, festival season is shaping up to be a paradise of sun this year. So to celebrate in the best way possible, Trespass sent me along to TRNSMT fest for the day to try out some new pieces from their festival collection and gather some snaps and BTS shots of all the festival fun.

Unlike most festivals TRNSMT is a day fest with no camping – ideal for me because I live a 10 minute walk from Glasgow Green. This was the first time I’ve ever traveled light to a festival and it was actually harder than I expected – thankfully Trespass kitted me out with the essentials which I will share along with a few bum bag (since we’re at a festival) must haves.

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Sunday was a scorcher, by 3pm areas in the festival grounds were up at 30°C – I was unbelievable grateful to be wearing quick dry material which takes all moisture away from the skin so you’re not left swimming in a puddle of your own festival sweat. Sorry that’s gross – but totally resembled most people around me!

This T comes in a few different colours, and orange is actually my fav colour (thanks Trespass for being telepathic)! Nada Women’s Quick Drying T-Shirt

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Lifesaver! This hat was the second best thing I brought to the festival (the best is yet to come) – really lightweight, really cute and kept the glare off my face all day long.

Brimming Womens Straw Hat

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After two weeks in Italy my eyes have never been so exhausted from the sun, you know the burn you get when you close your eyes at night after being out all day? Well these guys definitely helped prevent that on Sunday –  and they are currently 50% off!

Halcyon DLX Sunglasses

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So here it is – the BEST thing I brought to TRNSMT (not the sunflower).

Qikpac Women’s Parkway Waterproof

And although I only had this jacket on for aprox 10 seconds to take a photo before I melted, it was the handiest thing to have with me. Everyone spent the majority of the day chilling on the grass to avoid heat exhaustion, and since I was wearing cream shorts…

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Sadly – I had to give up my gorgeous wellies for my handbag flip-flops ^^^ which I desperately wanted to keep on all day, but my feet were overheating just a bit too much.

Samira Womens Wellies

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A few more festival tips...

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Remember to eat. Even when it’s hot and appetites are low, we still need energy from proper food… or just find a doughnut as they’re harder to refuse!

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Water is your pal – nobody wants a dehydrated heat exhausted friend to look after when everyone else is having fun. But bring a water bottle and use the free refill station… because I didn’t and had to pay £3 for 500ml every time I was thirsty, AH!

Bumbag essentials

  • Hand sanitiser and tissues/wipes
  • Sun cream
  • Portable battery pack (phone charing is £8 for one hour)
  • Water bottle (free refill stations)
  • Sunnies
  • Paracetamol
  • Hair bobbles (three different girls asked me for one during the day)
  • Cash (take it out before you get into the venue – machines charge)
  • Ticket & ID

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Thanks for reading, and for anyone heading to TRNSMT round 2 this weekend or any other festivals this summer – have a fab time!

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And of course, a huge thank you to Trespass for kitting me out and sending out for a great day.

Rona x

Keep up with my lasted adventures on my instagram @ronamcmillan

 

 

Two Bare Feet Review – 12ft SUP

*please note this is not a sponsored post – we bought this larger board for bigger and better adventures

Two Bare Feet Sport Air 12'0 x 6" Inflatable SUP

It’s been almost a year since I first got my SUP board from Two Bare Feet, which is a smaller 10ft board. It is perfect for me, and I still use it weekly for solo paddling. I’ve tried a few times to attach various dry bags to the board with adventure kit inside – with the aim to paddle to an island and set up camp… however this board isn’t really designed for super stability. It is perfectly stable for my weight, however anything added (or anyone heavier than me) does struggle with the wobble! SO, this spurred the idea of another board.

We’ve had the 12ft sport air for just over a week and it has been INCREDIBLE – what a difference. It was advertised as being designed to meet the demands of today’s SUP explorer – with maximum volume, stability and speed ‘making long distance a breeze’. It does all of that and more…

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The good things
  • Super stability – so much so you can easily carry two people. This board has a flatter and wider deck than my 10ft board – making it much easier to balance.
  • Speed – for some reason I thought this board (because it’s HUGE) would be slower than my smaller SUP, but it feels more streamlined and cuts through waves with its pointer bow.
  • Improved carry handle – these boards aren’t heavy to carry anyway, but sometimes a little tricky and awkward due to the size especially when the wind is blowing… so the extra comfortable handle does make a difference. This board also came with a attachable shoulder strap which I imagine will be really useful if we need to carry the board for any distance.
  • New and improved pump – big thumbs up for the high pressure dual action pump. Having a gauged pump is a must – without it I don’t think I’d ever know when the board was pumped up enough. The dual action also makes deflating much faster – and the board can be packed away much tighter.
  • Appearance – I am loving the design of the 12ft sports. They come in three different colour options, and they’re all pretty cool – but we went for the navy, teal and orange. I also really like the choice of text used on the board… TBF have really upped their design game!
  • Size matters – how this is possible I do not know, but the 12ft board packs down into the same size dry bag as my 10ft board… a bit heavier to carry, but still easy enough to put on your back.
  • Extras – with this board you get a repair kit, paddle, dry bag, pump, centre fin and a shoulder strap. This is a basic starter pack, but you can also upgrade to deluxe/ultimate packs that offer added extras.
The bad things

So far, I genuinely have no complaints or improvements to suggest towards this board. It is quick to pump up, efficient in the water and easy to pack down. The board does exactly what we wanted it to. I guess the only thing I would say is it is big, duh! But if you’re buying for a child/lightweight person, a 12ft board wouldn’t be necessary – I’d defiantly recommend a 10ft board – I still love my smaller SUP.

A few days onboard ‘Jolanda’ in Plymouth – paddling English ChannelIMG_2563IMG_1436We also went for a bit of a fancy paddle this time – TBF brought out a new range of carbon pro paddles with this lovely wood effect. It is super lightweight and feels a lot stronger than my original paddle. Processed with VSCO with c8 presetIMG_1426Angus and Callum free diving for scallops – Sound of Mull IMG_2752IMG_2730IMG_1503IMG_1509IMG_1500IMG_2716Day trip with Emily and Callum – paddling on Loch LubnaigIMG_2545IMG_9285IMG_0188Processed with VSCO with c8 preset

 

Thanks for reading – if you have any questions about SUP boards please don’t hesitate to drop me and email or send me a message on Instagram @ronamcmillan

R x

Two Bare Feet review – snorkelling kit

Snorkelling is an awesome way to explore the blue shallows – most people have given it a go in warmer waters abroad, but there are some incredible snorkelling spots on our door step if we are willing to face the cold. Kit wise… not much is required and what you do need; doesn’t come at too much of a cost. I think most of my Scottish snorkelling experiences have been fairly unplanned – I carry my kit bag around in the back of my car everywhere I go just on the off chance I stumble upon a a beautiful stretch of water.

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So – I got some new snorkelling kit from Two Bare Feet last week and after taking it out for a spin I am going to write up my first impressions. I also have a few tips for buying new kit that could be helpful if you are looking to get in the water.

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Hood

I went for this 5mm hood in size M – I found the sizing pretty hard to work out/took a total guess and luckily it fits perfectly. The hood is snug around my whole head and neck – so much so I don’t think any water got in, my hair even stayed dry under the hood. The water temp was sitting at 8° on the surface, and quite a bit cooler as I dived down – the 5mm of neoprene kept me very toasty – so a big thumbs up from me.

My only negative for this product (other than the size guess) is that the neck panel was too bulky to go under my wetsuit. I thought this would be a bit of an issue for water leakage – but since the hood was so snug, I didn’t seem to have any problems.

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Fins

I’d usually opt for a longer fin (more of a free diving style) – however I thought a short pair would be really useful for wild swimming if I wanted to do any distance swims this summer – and they’re also a bit easier to manoeuvre!

These guys have an adjustable back which meant my feet didn’t slide back and forward while kicking and there is enough room to wear a very small boot with these if your prone to cold feet. I wore a neoprene sock and it worked perfectly with those too. No section of the fin rubbed on my ankle (which usually happens for me). So I’m pretty delighted with these – no negatives.

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Mask

I choose this silicone mask with tempered glass – reason being… silicone trumps PVC in colder waters. PVC masks look as good as silicone, and are usually cheaper; however they loose their flexibility in cold water which effectively ruins the fit of the mask around the face. Choosing a mask with tempered glass is also a good idea – tempered glass has a better resistance to scratches and is also better suited to changes in water pressure when diving down.

My only negative here (which is actually a fault of my own) was that I had some trouble clearing my mask when I first went in – I did the old saliva in the lens, then rinse with water etc and it continued to fog up. My mum gave it a good scrub with a soft piece of fabric and that seemed to do the job. Since then i’ve read that putting a small amount of toothpaste on your finger and rubbing it into the lense and washing it also helps prevent a foggy mask – so i’ll give that a go next time.

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Snorkel 

LOVE this snorkel – it’s the first time i’ve ever had a proper dry top snorkel and it makes such a difference when diving. FYI – a dry snorkel is a snorkel that has a mechanism on the top that prevents water from entering the snorkel as the snorkeler dives underwater. Very handy, and this one works very well. This snorkel also features a splash guard, and purge valve and the mouth piece is made from silicone (also good for cold water). No negatives here!

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Hood & Mask

Side note – usually I’d wear my mask seal under the lining of my hood… but as mentioned previously my 5mm hood is super snug and the width of the mask is greater than the width of the hood, so that didn’t really work when I tried. Instead, I wore the mask seal on the outside of my hood and I was really surprised that my mask stayed sealed.

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Gloves 

I was a bit stumped over getting 3mm or 5mm gloves – and given I always have frozen hands 5mm would have probably been wise. BUT I feel like I can’t move wearing such thick neoprene, turing a GoPro on and off is a bit of a struggle with thick gloves – so I went for the thinner ones and i’m really happy with them. I got a size S and the fit is great – they also have a velcro wrist fastening which stops water creeping in.

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Croc says 8

Why choose Two Bare Feet? 

– British company – based in Devon 

– Extremely helpful customer service – always happy to answer questions and give recommendations 

– Fast delivery – and easy returns

– As a returning customer (my SUP board is from this company, and have also bought a few different paddles and accessories in the last year) I have always had a fantastic experience, and have recommended to many friends. 

– Very reasonably priced – with incredible sale prices too

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A little bit from Two Bare Feet...

'In an age where everything is available at your fingertips, we thank you for shopping with us and for your continued support of Two Bare Feet.

We pride ourselves on delivering the best possible experience whilst shopping on our site and exceeding expectations from there on in. We moved from our retail shops to online e-commerce in 2008 and have continued to evolve, enhance and expand our product offerings whilst ensuring your shopping experience with us remains hassle and fuss free.

We appreciate all feedback as they help us to keep focused and on top of our game and of course exceed your expectations.'

With thanks to Two Bare Feet for supporting this post – all opinions are my own.

Thanks for reading 

R x @ronamcmillan

How to spend more time doing what you love with the people you love

Plan your days and weeks ahead – there’s nothing more exciting than having a calendar full of things to look forward to.

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Tiree Ultra Marathon – Vivian

Check the weather – getting organised to make the best use of good weather is a million times better than being stuck twiddling your thumbs on a sunny day because everyone else is already off up hills, on the water or in a beer garden… FOMO really starts to kick in.

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Surf wake improvisation – Callum

Stick to your word – there’s nothing worse than really needing an adventure, and plans get cancelled. Doh! Sometimes we really rely on other people to get us going, so a cancelled plan can be a real downer.

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Firewood mission – Ewan & Angus

Don’t be afraid to contact people… even when you’ve not seen them in a long time – more often than not they’re going to be delighted to get that message. Better still, give them a call.

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The outdoor beauty – Emily

Go the distance – what a bummer when one of your best friends or family members moves across the country… but how appreciated is it when they make the effort to visit?

My mum is a 5 hour drive from Glasgow – the trip is pretty tiresome, but always worth it because I love her company, and I know we will always get up to something fun together.

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Red Point – Mum

Do things, that aren’t ‘ya thang’ – what if someone suggests meeting up to do something that you don’t really fancy doing? If not for any other reason, do it because they’re going to enjoy it.

My family was really keen to go and explore caves last weekend; I totally didn’t see the appeal of climbing into dark, damp smelly caves… but I went with them and actually really enjoyed it.

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Old mining caves – Kishorn

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And we found a cute newt!

Being present – how often do you turn into a tech zombie and realise you’ve been staring at a screen for an hour. I do, all the time – but having no signal up north is helping this problem!

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Tiree – Emily and I

Silence is ok – this is something my mum and I were chatting about recently. We are both relatively quiet people and find it pretty tricky when it comes to small talk… not because we aren’t friendly and interested in other people… we are just fairly shy. But once we decided we didn’t need to try and make conversation ALL the time – silence didn’t feel awkward, it was actually pretty nice.

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Sunny Applecross – Ewan

Encourage other people in things they do – going along to be a support for someone is hopefully going to be helpful for them, and also inspiring for you.

Last weekend my brother ran up the Bealach; my mum and I drove half the way up to give him water, I took some snaps and we met him at the top when he finished. It was really great watching him achieve something – even though the run was no bother at all for him, it would be something I would find difficult and now I feel pretty egged on to do the same run.

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Running up the Bealach – Angus

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Tiree Ultra – Angus and Gary

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Ultra running super Mum

And after all that – time alone seems to feel different. My itching restlessness is gone and I’m feeling content and pretty chilled. Being around other people who love doing what I love doing generally makes me a more productive and happier person.

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Beers, poems, hammock!

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Just a couple dudes I love – The Bros

Thanks for reading

R x @ronamcmillan