Salomon XA Pro Review

These are my second pair of Salomons, the first I wore down on the fells in the Lake District. Is there such thing as too much running? In this case apparently so! As time went on and the ice started to appear I had to replace my bright green shoes with another pair, of green shoes. Apparently green is my colour… I have worn these out running and hiking, mainly in the Chilterns, so nothing too strenuous! They are by far the comfiest trail shoe I have worn.

They have good grip, I wear them as general everyday shoes and it hasn’t worn down at all, so much better than my previous Speedcross 3. They are lightweight and quick drying so everything you are looking for in a shoe. These are not the Gortex version as I brought them as my summer trainers. Not to say a pair of Gortex Salomon’s wouldn’t hurt! Their next adventure we will be leaving the Chilterns and heading to … The Lake District.

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Buff Review

Everyone loves a good Buff, and for me, this is the item that I always have in my rucksack. But for those who have never heard of a Buff before, it is a lightweight neck scarf for travel and outdoor activities. It can be used as a headscarf too, in fact, there are so many ways you can wear your Buff, it is their usp if you like.

The great thing about this product is that they not only come in amazing colours and designs but they can easily be squashed, I mean, packed into your bag. Then come, rain, sun or snow just pop it out and work out one of the many ways to wear it! They also do a knitted version that is amazing in the depths of winter. I have it below in Margo Orange.

 

 

how-to-wear-a-buff

The Norfolk Coast Article

A trip to the Norfolk coastline will never let you down, whether the sun is shining or the thick ominous clouds are present, it always seems beautiful.

Summer at Holkham
Summer at Holkham

A lot of this coastline is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and there are various Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation that pass through and protect a variety of flora and fauna, so dogs are meant to be kept on leads.

A Sandy Holkham Scene
A Sandy Holkham Scene

 Holkham is one of my favourite beaches in the whole of England and I believe many others voted it as Best British Beach last year. It must be the perfect mix of golden sandy beaches and the dunes with the protection of a pinewood forest.

Footpaths on Beach
Footpaths on Beach

 This coastal area has two long distance footpaths, they are the Peddars Way and the Norfolk Coast Path, both originating from old Roman roads. I am yet to walk them but maybe this summer.

Off shore wind farms
Off shore wind farms

 Off shore windmills are becoming ever more popular and in my opinion I don’t think they are an eye sore at all. It’s just one step closer to green technology and I don’t think they damage the aquatic ecosystem too much. Not as much as other energy sources to say the least.

River and wetlands
River and wetlands

 As the path winds from the harbour down to the beach, it weaves through fields and these are the fields that provide the perfect hunting ground for a variety of birds and you will always spot bird watchers perched up along the way.

Sunset at Brancaster
Sunset at Brancaster

 When the day comes to an end there is nothing better than sitting on the beach with a sandy bum, some fish and chips, locally caught of course and watching the sunset behind the horizon.

.holly.

Exploring Northern Norway Article

Tromsø in northern Norway is about 400km within the Arctic Circle and most definitely one of the most remarkable places that should be on everyone’s travel list. The lodgings vary from large, contemporary hotels to the rather small Sami tents.

Sami Tent
Sami Tent

The days are surprisingly bright even though the sun isn’t present for most of the year. The midnight, crystal clear winter sky does provide the most stunning scenery whether you are expecting the northern lights or not.

Crystal Clear Winter Sky
Crystal Clear Winter Sky

There are many activities that embrace the climate found in northern Norway, one not to miss is a dog sledding expedition. The dogs are specifically bred for the minus conditions and enjoy every minute they are running.

Arctic Dog Sledding
Arctic Dog Sledding

The dogs’ high protein, high fat diet is important as they start training around 8 months to maintain fitness up to the age of 13. The silence is broken as soon as they can sense they are about to get harnessed up.

Alaskan Husky
Alaskan Husky

There are many myths about the aurora borealis dating back from the very first arctic explorers who would have never seen or heard of anything like this before. Even though there are many photos available today, there is nothing like seeing them with the naked eye.

aurora borealis
aurora borealis

For many this will be a once in a lifetime experience and even though the temperature might not be above -21°c being cold shouldn’t be an excuse to go indoors when watching the aurora borealis.

aurora borealis over the sea
aurora borealis over the sea

There is nothing more magical than to be wrapped up in merino wool and down filled jackets, not forgetting a thickly knitted hat watching the silent movements of the northern lights.

.holly.

Winter at Chalet Martin Article

Winter this year has and still is, a white wonderland. There have been many opportunities for everyone staying at the Chalet to Ski, Snowboard and carry out many other activities. From neighbouring village Barboleuse, and local town Villars there are tele-cabins taking you up to a variety of pistes.

Skiing at Les Chaux  (1750m)
Skiing at Les Chaux (1750m)

The Christmas of 2013 was celebrated by decking the chalet with greenery and baubles throughout, and spending time with loved ones. It was a busy environment yet still cosy. The many stories from 35 people, both french and english, made their way around the dinner table as our three course dinner was in progress. The christmas tree this year has seen many guests in and out of the chalet, both long stays and the short. All taking away brand new stories to tell at their next dinner table.

Christmas at the Chalet
Christmas at the Chalet

The traditional Boxing day walk was replaced with an afternoon snowshoeing. Many others went Cross Country Skiing or sledging. We all made it back to the chalet where there was a thick hot chocolate waiting. The evening was spent all together playing a variety of games the chalet has in the living room in front of the fire.

Snowshoeing to Croix des Chaux (2020m)
Snowshoeing to Croix des Chaux (2020m)

For New Year Eve, some dressed up as field mice and some as polar bears and they gathered together and explored the lit up, musical town of Villars. Back at base camp, New Years was seen in singing old lang syne surrounding a glowing amber bonfire, watching the clear, starry sky being lit up with explosions of bright light. With our glasses full of local bubbly we were surely set for the New Year. 2014.

New Year Day Paragliding 2014
New Year Day Paragliding 2014

However, the first day of 2014 was spent up a local mountain piste, Roc d’Orsay (2000m). The cold air filled our mind as we took off paragliding. Slowing gliding over the surrounding mountains inhabited by mountain goats and skiers you sure do get a beautiful view. Bring on 2014… .holly.

The Freedom to Run Film

This is  short portrait film made about the freedom of running. I will say a few things about it first.. 

– Some of the shots are too long, I did this because I needed a few extra seconds because Class viewing required 4 minutes.

– The timing between the text should be shorter.

– This is my first attempt using the GoPro Hero 2, Sony HDV and Final Cut Pro 7.

– All constructive feedback is welcome. Thanks for watching. 

 .holly.

Fancy an Adventure… Chalet Martin Perhaps? Article

I’ve taken myself and my camera out to the Swiss Alps this summer and have caught a variety of shots which tell the story quite well of my trip. On your way to Chalet Martin, this sign will greet you at the bottom of the hill, once at your future home you will be happy you took the effort to get the Train, then Cog-grail then the short walk up the steep hill. Promise.

Chalet Martin
Chalet Martin

The view from the attic bedrooms is spectacular as you get numerous skylight windows to peep through and being so high in the clouds, when it thunders, you most definitely will hear it loud and clear!

The Bedroom View
The Bedroom View

There is a variety of wildlife out in the Swiss Alps, from Bees to Wolves that have been re-released. Marmots and Mountain Goats join the list too. Every time you take a trip out, even if it’s to the BBQ you will always be greeted with something different, mainly the Lizards who love to bask in the sun.

Bee collecting Nectar
Bee collecting Nectar

The walks around the area can take you pretty much where ever you need to go, you can walk for a few hours to full on hikes in the mountains for days. Popular places to walk to from Gryon are to Solalex, down the far end of the Valley or up to Le Croix which requires you to walk past the bakery and grab a corn bread sandwich. That is a must!

Long Day Walking
Long Day Walking

The traditional Swiss food is a Fondue, be it chocolate or cheese. We had many fondue dinners where Raclette and Greyere were melted for our consumption. Mixed with a local white wine and freshly baked bread that day, accompanied with a salad picked from the garden and a homemade dressing.

Cheese Fondue
Cheese Fondue

The summer’s sun has helped the garden flourish, the flowers are picked as decor all around the hostel. The bright colour compliments the different shaded wood in the Chalet. The ummer spent here I feel will be different compared to the Winter, atmosphere and aesthetically, let’s hope I get the chance to photograph it then too. 

Flowers
Flowers

.holly.