Adventures aren’t always about big grand trips that take months and lead you to far flung corners of the world. We are lucky enough to have incredible scenery on our doorstep; from stunning mountain views to picturesque lakes, adventures are waiting to happen around every corner.
A couple of months ago I took inspiration from our August Adventure Book Club read, Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks (the comedian, not the pro skateboarder!), and decided to go on my own kitchen appliance based adventure.
It’s 20 years since Tony set off to win a bet by hitchhiking around Ireland with his new traveling companion and it’s fascinating to think about how different it would have been today, given there was no social media, not even ready access to the internet back then, and how instead, the radio played a pivitol role in supporting his quest.
We didn’t quite match his tenacity in terms of lugging a full sized appliance around, but instead my mad friend Chantell and I opted for a mini fridge, later to be named Phil the Fridge (and boy was he full of delights!). As Tony managed to take his fridge surfing, we reckoned we should take on the biggest growing sport in Britain - stand up paddleboarding (SUP) - to create a mini adventure of our own.
We teamed up with the awesome crew at BillBoardSUP who have just created a brilliant touring board, kitted out with all the clips, handles and bungees you could need, and it turns out it’s perfect for transporting a fridge.
Jumping in my car after work at 3pm on a Friday afternoon in London, I picked up our boards from Active 360 in Kew before heading north with Chantell. We made it to Lake Windermere in the Lake District on Saturday morning ready to hit the water and see what it’s really like to travel with a mini fridge.
We thought our plan was simple. We’d conquer the Three Lakes Challenge (the longest lakes in England, Scotland and Wales) over three days, with Phil in tow offering up chilled treats en route. Turns out the weather was against us making it very difficult to complete the challenge in the time we had, so we decided to make the most of being in the Lake District and explore locally instead, saving the Three Lakes Challenge for another time.
Windermere was Phil’s first experience of traveling on the water. With a fairly strong south westerly wind we had a bit of chop to contend with but nothing our Billboards couldn’t handle. Stable enough to keep both Phil and us dry while allowing us to surf the mini waves, we had a whale of a time.
Phil started the day with an offering of almond milk for Chantell’s coffee before handing us much needed beers mid way down Windermere.
Following a cheeky lemon meringue pie, we headed over to Bassenthwaite Lake the next day for more beers and a calm afternoon of paddling nestled amongst the beautiful scenery. Easy to maneuver on the water, our boards proved the perfect mode of transport to explore the Lakes, hoping off the water at picturesque spots when we felt like a break.
My previous experience of SUPing has included taking part in the SUP the Thames Relay last year and paddling from Grantchester to Downham Market along the River Cam as part of my Cam triathlon, as well as multiple mini SUP adventures in London and Barcelona. I’ve always found inflatable boards a great options for going off and doing my own adventures, as they’re so easy to transport in terms of deflating and throwing them in the back of the car. But the Billboards proved particularly well designed when it comes to attaching gear on the board — they really are a clip-fanatics dream, and when you’re surrounded by water it’s super important to be able to access your gear easily with limited chances for it to slip out of your grip and float off (or worst still sink) beyond reach!
I also found the multiple handles great. I’m not very strong and SUP boards aren’t light, so it’s great to have several grab points when trying to lift them in and out of the water. Chantell and I are keen to go back for our second attempt at the Three Lakes Challenge in 2018, although we’re not sure if Phil will join us.
In the meantime, we’d love you to join us in exploring London on the water with active360. Check out their variety of locations and events coming up.