Summer’s Swell

Towards the end of September the swell gods smiled upon me, the forecast was 3ft, no wind and sunny on my day off; a perfect excuse to chuck my board in the car and head through to Cayton Bay.

Despite the sun shining the traffic was relatively free flowing on the run through, and once at Cayton the carpark still had plenty of spaces.

After a couple of coffees I suited up and headed down to the sea. Usually I would do a scout of the town beaches too, but a friend I knew off the East Coast Bodyboard Club Facebook group was already in at Cayton so I trusted that he’d done a check and headed down to meet him.

Now as it was a weekend the beach was fairly busy, with lots of newbies in the water on foam boards, not the biggest of hassles, but a touch annoying when a lot of them were unaware of surf etiquette and were dropping in on most waves.

I paddled out and snagged a couple of small ones before noticing Lee and swimming over to say hi. It was good to have someone to talk to in the water again, and I tried to get some decent shots of him with my board mounted Go Pro:

Cayton Still 7

Cayton Still 6_V2

Cayton Still 4_V2

Cayton Still 5

Unfortunately I was just shooting video so the quality of the stills isn’t as high as I would’ve liked, but it gave me some good practice for positioning to get the kind of shots that I like.

We had a fair few waves between us, and while it wasn’t big or perfect it was still good fun. There’s a lot worse things to do on a day off!


Steph was also on hand to get some shots from the beach. Her photography skills improve everytime, I’m sure she’ll get a shot the mags before I do!

After the surf I spent a couple of hours wondering round Scarborough with Steph, eating fish and chips and doing generally touristy things that I never really do on a solo mission which made a really nice change.

All in all it was a swell day at the coast!


Three Nights In Budapest

It’s an awful dilemma to be faced with but in November of last year I had a week off work and some spare cash and no clue what to do with it.

People who are more sensible than I would probably have but it into their bank accounts for a rainy day or to put towards a house deposit, I however fancied having a few days in Europe.

A little bit of internet browsing later and I had a destination; Budapest. Skyscanners led me to flights for less than £60, and some texts to mates got me a drinking buddy for the trip.

The flights were with Ryanair so to keep the costs down we opted for carry on luggage only, wondering if 10kg would be enough I was pleasantly surprised to find out I actually had weight to spare! The only draw back is the restrictions on liquids but my travel mate James and done his research and got airport friendly sizes of essential toiletries, plenty enough for a few nights away.

After a very standard flight and a quick taxi ride we arrived in the centre of Budapest, just a little unsure of the exact location of our hostel. We had google mapped the location but were really struggling to find it. About an hour into our search we got lucky and found the tiny sign to our hostel. Check in was swift and a quick nap ensued since we’d been up from a stupid hour.

The first night exploring was a bit of an eye opener, we’d heard food and beer was cheap but we weren’t sure just how cheap. Turns out very cheap! Dinner a really nice burger joint (kind of like Red’s True BBQ in Leeds) set us back less than £5, not bad for an amazing burger, chips and a pint of the local brew. Our next stop was a pub about 10minutes from the hostel, over the next couple of the nights the atmosphere of the place and the fact it was £1.25 a pint, kept on drawing us back.

Our first full day in Budapest was action packed, we crammed in all the tourist sights doing a self guided walking (with a brief bit of cycling) tour. Stop number 1 was a St. Stephen’s Basilica, and a climb to its top giving us a good glimpse of the city.


The View From St. Stephen’s Basilica.


A quick cross of the famous chain bridge took us onto the Buda side of Budapest and upto several more of the cities iconic landmarks.


James Looking Towards Pest, And The Hungarian Parliament.



Walking Up The Aptly Named Castle Hill.


We got a touch lost heading back for the bridge towards Pest, but after a bit of map reading we were back on track and heading for the bridge that connects to Margaret Island. As there is no traffic allowed on the island we rented a couple of push bikes to explore.



Tucked Away On The Island.



Awesome Musical Fountain On Margaret Island.


After exploring the island we crossed back onto the Pest side and took a steady walk back to the hostel, before heading out that night and treating ourselves to T-Bone steaks and plenty of beer.



The Danube By Night.



St. Stephen’s Basilica.

Dinner that night was a bit extravagant, massive T-bone steaks and fries, for less than £12, including a beer! I was falling in love with this town. Following on from dinner we tried a couple of bars before heading back to the one from the previous night and enjoying a couple more of the well priced beers.

The next morning we got up quite early and set off for the docks hoping to get on a river boat, unfortunately very few were running and by the time the first one that we could’ve got on returned we would have missed our afternoon activity, shooting! So we just killed a bit of time around the river before grabbing a taxi for the gun club.

We were both pretty nervous when we got there having never shot before, and were expecting a safety demo or at least the instructor shooting first to give us an idea. That’s not how stuff works in Hungary, a country that refreshingly isn’t health and safety obsessed. We were asked if we had shot before, to which we replied “no”. Our instructor (for want of a better word) just replied “ok, just point the guns that way and pull the trigger”.



We Started Out With A .22 Pistol.



That Was Followed By A Glock And A Magnum.



Yes That Is An AK47.



And We Finished Up With A Riot Shotgun.


It was really good fun, we had several shots with each weapon, and the instructor did offer us words of wisdom before using each new gun. The price was steep by Hungarian standards, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to fire some actual weapons.



Turns Out I’m Not A Bad Shot.


Our final night was spent in the Hard Rock Cafe before doing a bit of a bar crawl. We couldn’t stay out too late though as we had to be up fairly early to check out and have catch our flight, so no big night out on the trip, which means I have unfinished business in Budapest. Or maybe I’m just looking for an excuse to head back to one of the best cities Europe has to offer.



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!


The Anti Atlas Mountains.


 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.


The Dyes Used For The Scarves.


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!


A Massive Chandelier In The Museum.


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.

Moroccan Adventures, Part 2: Taghazout

Following on from a few days exploring the hectic maze of Marrakech we hopped on a bus and headed towards the coast, destination Taghazout.

After a pretty uneventful coach journey and taxi transfer we arrived in the small fishing village of Taghazout, a place not on most tourists radar but somewhere that surfers will almost certainly be aware of.

We found our hostel fairly easily, The Ocean Surf House, and checked in. The view from our bedroom window was incredible, perfect for an early morning swell check as Hash Point was less than 100metres away. However that was pretty much the only plus point to the hostel. The rooms were grubby, but I have stayed in worse, the shower though was something else. It was a small cubicle that also housed a toilet, with poor drainage and no seal under the door you had to make your shower quick or you’d flood the stairs. I’ll not even get started on the smell. Suffice to say I would not stay there again or recommend it to anyone.

The main point of the beach portion of the trip though was to spend as much time in the sun and surf as possible, not stay in the room so it wasn’t the end of the world.

Taghazout has a couple of beaches, the main village one, and another about half a mile away called Panorama’s. We spent the majority of our time at Taghazout beach, only venturing to Panorama’s for a walk when the surf was flat as it didn’t pick up as much swell.


Hash Point.

The days we spent there were all very similar, wake up, simple breakfast, head to the beach, surf, grab a spot of lunch, back to the beach, more surf, then a quick shower and out for dinner at a lovely local restaurant for a couple of hours before heading to bed and doing it all again the day after. This might sound boring to some, but after the madness of Marrakech, and of course work back home, it was just what both Steph and I needed.


Surfing In Africa!

The wave at Taghazout/Hash Point wasn’t world class, but with no massive swell coming through places such as Anchor Point and Killers weren’t working, so I spent all my time pulling into fun ones and dodging the odd tourist who got in the way.

The first day was definitely bigger than the rest of the week, and whilst waiting for a set I got talking to one of the local guys who was super friendly and a great sponger too. I wasn’t expecting any hostility, but much like Hawaii, I wasn’t expecting the local guys to be friendly but they seemed pretty stoked to be sharing waves.


One Of The Bigger Waves Of The Week.


I Took This One On The Head.

There was never a day with no waves, and I even managed to persuade Steph to have a go, pushing her into waves that were quite a lot bigger than they first looked! We both enjoyed our time in this often overlooked beach town but we had to head on out to Tafraoute to explore the mountains and see another side to Morocco.


There’s Also The Odd Fishing Boat To Avoid. 

Moroccan Adventures, Part 1: Marrakech

The Morocco trip didn’t get off to the smoothest start in the world, passport control took well over an hour to get through, and that was followed up by a cash machine refusing to give me any of the local currency. After attempt number 2 with a different bank we had some cash and could finally hop in the taxi to the Riad.

Leaving the relative calmness of the airport and venturing on to the streets of Marrakech was a bit of an eye opener. Mopeds everywhere, pedestrians running across the road, kids hitching rides on the back of trucks and the near constant sound track of car horns was assaulting to the senses.

If that wasn’t enough of a sensory overload we were dropped off at the edge of the main square, Jemaa El Fna, and met by Pitchou, the person running the Riad we had booked in to. He led us through the mass of people and maze of side streets to the complete sanctuary of Riad Les Deux Portes, one of the nicest places I’ve ever stayed. We checked in, had some sweet Moroccan tea before having a quick wander then heading to bed.


Inside Riad Les Deux Portes.

Our time in Marrakech was spent wandering the souks, soaking in some of the culture, and exploring places like El Badi Palace and Jardin Marjorelle. After hearing tales of people being harassed by traders we were pleasantly surprised to find it wasn’t bad at all. You do get a lot of offers to look at goods or to be shown around but in 90% of the case just a simple no thank you will suffice. On the one occasion where a local man decided he was our tour guide and was dragging us away from where we wanted to go a member of the tourist police stepped in and escorted him away.


Jemaa El Fna, Before The Evening Crowds.


The Cyber Garden, A Place Most Tourist Maps Ignore.

We had wanted to go to the Sahara, but unfortunately we had booked all of our accommodation in advanced with out realising all trips there were a minimum of 1night. So instead we decided to join a day trip through the Atlas Mountains to the place where Lawrence of Arabia was filmed, Aït Benhaddou. The drive was long but the scenery was amazing and the driver stopped several times for photo opportunities.


The Start Of The Atlas Mountains.


One Of The Many Roadside Villages.

Once there we had a guided tour of the Berber village, seeing where films like Gladiator were shot and how some of the local people live and make their living there. It was a great place to visit, it’s obvious why it is frequently used as a set and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, there is just so much history here.


Aït Benhaddou.

After 4 days exploring Marrakech we had to pack up and leave as we had booked a few nights in the coastal village of Tagazhout, a place know for world class waves, and there was a small swell due. Just as well I’d brought my board!

Summer Surf

So the surf on the East side of the country has been absolutely pumping for most of summer, something that doesn’t happen all that often, even in deepest winter. Social media has been full of forecasts, predictions, status’s and most of all photographic evidence of all the sessions that have gone down, so here’s mine:


Longboarder At South Bay.


Shortboarder At North Bay.


No-one Out. Not Scarborough.

These pics show the great diversity the North East has in surf, and they were all taken on the same day. Unfortunately, as much as I would’ve liked to stay in Scarborough most of the summer I’ve had to work, and my days off have usually coincided with the rare flat days. So when a chart was showing promise I was up at 5.30am and made the most of it. The end result; totally worth getting up for.

Exploring The Lake District

Ever since I was little I have always spent a lot of time at the coast. As a child I have great memories of family holidays by the seaside and day trips to Whitby. When I was a teenager several holidays to Newquay gave me my first taste of surfing, bodyboarding and beach life. At 18 I passed my driving test and whenever I could I would head off to Scarborough to get wet, and if I had a bit more time on my hands Newquay was usually a good option.

Spending all my time going to the coast meant that until recently I’d never been to the Lake District, but as Steph has moved up there with work, recently I’ve been spending a fair amount of time up there and I’ve got to say it is STUNNING. I’ve been missing out these last few years by ignoring it, that’s for sure.


Thirlmere, Cumbria. Could quite easily be New Zealand.


There’s so much to explore there I’ve got a feeling it’ll take me awhile to see it all. So far I’ve managed to cross a few lakes off the list, a couple of waterfalls and a beautiful secluded beach. No fells as yet though, saving one of those for late this summer.

DSC_0375Walk On About 10mins From Aira Force And You Come To This. No Tourists In Sight.



The Scenery Is Phenomenal.



Not A Soul In Sight. Shame There’s No Surf Too!


Over the next few months I plan to see a lot more of the Lake District, do some serious hiking, a bit of wild swimming, probably some canoeing, and maybe if there is some swell snag a small wave (I’ve seen a pic or two so who knows…).