It took maybe five minutes of reading through Jo Moseley’s lovely guide before I was on Google searching for paddleboards on sale. After a stunning evening last summer meandering around our local coast with some friends, I’ve been keen to buy my own board and gear, but in all honesty I’ve felt quite overwhelmed by trying to work out what I needed.
Thank goodness for this book! Before getting to the routes, there’s a really helpful introduction section which covers how to get started, what equipment and kit you might need, how to plan a day out and what aspects to consider to keep yourself and anyone you’re out with safe on the water. There’s a lot to cover in not much space, but the advice is accessible for anyone who’s a complete beginner like myself, and includes some handy tips for those more experienced as well. There’s also a brief history of the sport which I found fascinating; it’s astonishing to see how quickly it has grown in popularity.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve run many of the routes in this book and really enjoyed them all. I find it so easy to get stuck running the same local routes, so this guide has been brilliant for inspiration to try something different. The routes range from 5km to 17.5km, spanning the width of the Brecon Beacons and venturing as far north as the Begwns, and there’s a good mix of mountain routes or gentler lower options.
I’ve been surprised by how much I’ve been craving a beach trip all lockdown. After spending so long either in the house or running through the same familiar areas, I’m really missing the wildness of the waves, the beauty of sun setting behind the sea, the joy of discovering a new cove to explore.
There’s always a tension in producing any guide to places that claim to be remote and deserted; any successful guide has the potential to end up spoiling the very thing it’s praising these places for. Hopefully there are so many beaches listed here, and covering such a wide area, that even those people seeking quiet beaches should end up spread out.
Predominantly climbing/outdoors literature, mountaineering history and nature writing.