East Coast Getaway

Both myself and Steph had a few days off towards the end of March but weren’t too sure what we wanted to do with them. Various ideas were floated, Norway looked like an option for awhile, as did various other European destinations. However, in a bid to save a bit of cash (big adventure in the pipeline for the end of the year) we decided to stay fairly local and rent a cottage.

A couple of hours looking online and ringing round later and I had one booked in the small village of Ebberston, close to Pickering, Whitby and Scarborough, a really great location for some walking and, if the weather was in my favour, some surfing.

The cottage I had found was lovely, in a really quiet area but had access to a swimming pool and jacuzzi, as well as having a great wood burning fire. It ticked all the boxes for me, I enjoy swimming and any chance to play with fire. Steph was equally happy, mostly about the swimming, she’s not as big of a firebug as me.

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Nice To Have A Fire On An Evening.

Our first full day started out quite overcast as we headed over to Pickering. It’s somewhere I have been a lot, but not since I was about 14/15 so it was good to have a wander round again. There are a couple of old second hand bookshops and it’s quite easy to lose a bit of time in those. With a few books bought we decided to move onto Goathland, famous as the setting for TV’s Heartbeat.

The weather wasn’t great on the way there, we stopped to eat some sandwiches overlooking the Hole Of Horcum but the rain meant we couldn’t really see all that much of it. As we parked up in Goathland the sun started to peek out, and it stayed relatively bright and warm for a couple of hours as we walked some of the trails along the old railway line.

The paths were really nice, taking you into the woods and dropping you down by small rivers, the highlight though was seeing some wild deer run by. They were super close, pretty much heading straight at us when they realised we were people and changed direction rapidly. About 15seconds after the near-deer crashing experience a dog bounded past after them, obviously the reason they were running.

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Taken Before The Stampede.

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Just Off The Beaten Track.

After spending most the afternoon walking we headed back to the cottage for a pre-dinner swim. It was a nice quiet evening spent watching films in front of the crackling fire, can’t complain at that.

An early start on Friday morning led us to Scarborough. Upon arrival the surf looked good but I decided to leave it a couple of hours before getting in to give the wind a chance to die down. We spent some time on the beach at South Bay before walking up into the town and doing a little shopping. I picked up some new fin socks to try and stop my feet freezing like they did the last time I paddled out.

By the time I got my wetsuit on the wind had died down a fair bit so it seems I made the right call. The waves were 2ft max, but still fun. Quite a few people were out but I still managed to get my fair share. It was my first time using the go pro too, so not having to do any duckdives or suffering any bad wipeouts was good for my confidence in it.

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I Had The Go Pro On Constant Video, This Is A Still Pulled From It.

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Steph Was On Hand With The DSLR To Get Some Shots From Another Angle.

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Really Like This Shot She Took.

After steady drive back and another pre-dinner swim we walked to the pub across the road from the cottage for dinner. It was a touch overpriced but really nice food so I can’t really complain there.

Saturday was our final day on the East Coast and we spent in Whitby with my parents and Steph’s mum (her Dad was working unfortunately). The sun was again out and we spent a few hours strolling up and down Whitby’s side streets before heading to a Fish & Chip restaurant by the pier for some food. The portion sizes were massive, my plaice was like 2 fish had been battered together. Safe to say I was full by the end of it.

All that was left to do was the steady drive home.

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Steam Train From Pickering.

Moroccan Adventures, Part 3; Tafraoute And The Journey Home

Following the 5day stint at the coast we were on the move again, this time heading to the small town of Tafraoute in the Anti Atlas mountains.

The coach journey there was a long one, and neither myself nor Steph were feeling too well, so it was a relieve when we could finally get off the bus and locate our hotel. After the squalidness of The Ocean Surf House, Hotel Salama was almost a palace. This proved very fortunate for me as the first 36hours we spent there I was incredibly ill, to the point were there was no chance of me leaving the room. However with Steph on hand to fetch me water, and a comfy bed and aircon I was back to my usual self with one full day left to explore Tafraoute.

Only having one day limits what you can do here, and after been ill I didn’t fancy any major hikes or bike rides so we just explored the town. The views were just incredible and the people so friendly that it made the day fly by. One particular highlight was the traditional Moroccan carpet shop were we were invited into. A brief history of carpet making and an explanation of the different styles followed, whilst of course enjoying a complimentary tea. In Morocco most people usually give you attention and advice in return for you buying a little something from them and this place was no different. He invited us to haggle over the price of his carpets but after finding out the cheapest was over £300.00 we politely informed him that it was well out of our price range! He looked disappointed but hopefully learned not to try sell premium goods to scruffy backpackers!

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The Anti Atlas Mountains.

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 The View From Our Hotel Balcony.

The journey back to Marrakesh was an even longer one, as the bus took us close to Taghazout before heading to Marrakech, so it was a 7hour journey! Upon arriving we decided to walk to back to Riad Les Deux Portes as we already knew where it was and were welcomed back by the every friendly Pitchou.

We only had one full day so chose to cram it full of shopping, museums and good food! The day started off exploring the souks and haggling with the many traders. We managed to pick up a local guide and he took us to some off the radar places where we were shown how traditional scarves are made and dyed.

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The Dyes Used For The Scarves.

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Me And Steph In Berber Scarves.

Following on from souk explorations we spent some time in the Museum of Marrakech and the old school that is nearby. You can get entry in to both for a little under £5 which is an absolute bargain, the art work in the museum is fantastic and the school is a really cool old building to explore. The only downside to both places is the lack of English translation available which leaves you guessing on a few things if your French or Arabic isn’t upto par!

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A Massive Chandelier In The Museum.

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Tiny Windows In The Old School. 

The rest of the day was spent quite literally getting lost in the souks before having a lovely dinner overlooking the hustle and bustle of the main square, a great way to round off a trip that exceed all expectations.

Copenhagen 2013

2013 was a pretty good year for me travel wise. I started off with 5 days in Berlin with the lads, then headed over to Thailand to meet Steph and explore for 2 weeks. I snuck in a couple of days in Wales, a week in Newquay (and it was actually sunny), a week in Portugal with Steph and to round the year off we booked 4days in Copenhagen for her birthday.

The flights were pretty cheap, and ran on time, getting us from Manchester to Copenhagen in 2 hours, in relative comfort. Copenhagen Airport seems pretty big as you have a massive walk from the gate, to passport control and then onto baggage collection. All this walking meant our bags were just coming onto the carousel as we got there, efficiency that only the Germans can rival.

After a quick consultation of the guide book we jumped on the train and within 15minutes were in central Copenhagen, just opposite Tivoli Gardens. We decided to walk to the hotel and with a rough idea of the general direction got underway. We must have looked a bit lost at one point (the map and confused expressions probably suggested this) and a very friendly Danish man came over and asked if we needed help. A quick conversation later and we were armed with proper directions and arrived at the hotel to check-in pretty quickly after that.

The hotel was in a prime location, Nyhavn, which sits on part of the canal near some nice restaurants and bars. It was also pretty close to a train station making getting around that little bit easier.

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Nyhavn Canal.

We packed a lot into our brief time in Copenhagen; Christmas Markets, Shopping, The Mermaid Statue, Danish Pastries, Christenhaven, Hippy Craft Fairs, Tivoli Gardens, Carlsberg Glypotek, Nyhavn, The Royal Guard, Lego Store, Nice Walks, Meals Out etc. In short it was a great few days, we even found some time to just chill out after working pretty solidly in the run upto the trip.

DSC_0009_V2The Little Mermaid.

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Tivoli Garden.

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Love This Mindset.

Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get too many pictures, the weather wasn’t great meaning the camera spent most of it’s time in my backpack and in places like Christenhaven cameras are actively discouraged due to the nature of some of the products “sold”.

Hopefully 2014 will build on the great travel experiences I’ve had since I took off for Australia in Dec 2011, I doubt I’ll visit quite as many countries but you never know!

Cayton Bay Sequence

On Thursday there was some nice swell at Cayton Bay, it wasn’t pumping but there were some nice, clean waves coming through, and the offshore winds did open up a few barrels.

I got there mid-afternoon at high tide and shot for around 20minutes before getting my wetsuit on and grabbing my board.