Maiden Voyage for Silverbirch Broadlands 15

A gentle intro for the new Silverbirch Broadlands 15 supplied by AS Watersports today, a bit of a shakedown to check out how she handles on the River Exe from Bolham to Tiverton. There are a few scratches on the bottom now.

So far I have not fitted a kneeling thwart and I am experimenting different kit locations to get some good trim, I may or may not fit one in the future.

First opinions are impressive and she is faster (much quicker than my old Mad River 14TT) and handles well. Need to get her out on some bigger water soon to see how dry the ride is in big wave trains. (hopefully this weekend)

Thanks to Leon for taking some nice pictures of me in the boat

SUP and Goodbye

Today I was at SUP Bristol working with my 2nd Year Outdoor Ed students from Bridgwater College. The aim was to learn some SUP skills and play a few games. Thanks to Kate the instructor who ran a great session for us. As today was the last day for them it all got a bit wet towards the end. 

16 x Level 3 Outdoor Education students have now been released into the real world.

Triumph Tiger 800 XRx Review

I have just got the bike out for the summer and as I have now covered 2500 miles since I picked the bike up in early July (2015) thought I would give my opinion.

I had already decided I wanted to get a Triumph Tiger 800 but was unsure as to which of the variations I wanted. This bike was for sale by Riders of Bridgwater with only 626 miles on the clock. The bike was at a good price and ticked all the boxes so that is how I ended up choosing the Tiger 800 XRx

Pushing it about:

It is very light and easy to push around and probably the easiest bike I have ever had to put on a centre stand. I just step on the stand and up it goes. No lift required.  (unless it has luggage on then it is a different story)


I have ridden up to 3 hours at a time and stepped off the bike with no aches, pains or num bum. Definitely a reasonably comfortable seat compared with others but after 9 hours it did start to feel like it could have more padding. I experimented using cruise control (which I have never had before) and I can't say I was a massive fan but after using it on French motorways for a long trip I really see its benefits. Handlebar position very good and protection behind the screen is OK. I am short at only 5'6" so not sure what taller riders would think. I have the seat on the lower setting and can nearly get the balls of both feet on the floor. I may look at options to drop it a little more but this is not a necessity, I have certainly ridden taller bikes.

MPG: Seems to be mid 50's whatever I do

I had a Givi 47 ltr top box on that was pretty full of kit, the bike was in Road mode
Tank 1 - Motorway (using Cruise Control), Fast A Roads and Town - I filled up at 201 miles, compueter said there were 16 miles remaining. 57 mpg
Tank 2 - Motorway (not using CC), Fast A Roads, Slower B Roads and Town. - I filled up at at 203 miles and computer said there were 17 miles remaining 56 mpg

I ditched the Givi V47 and replaced it with a Givi Outback 58 ltr
Tank 3 - Tank 3 - Mixed and with loaded Givi Outback 58ltr top box. Filled up at 207 miles with 16 miles remaining. 56mpg and so on,,,,,,,,,

On my trip to The Alps the bike was giving mid 40's mpg but this is because I had a lot of kit on board and at times was travelling very quickly

Luggage: I have fitted the bike with Givi Outback Luggage (see separate review)

Extras: So far all I have added is the luggage and a mount/case to use my phone as sat nav.

Touring: I took the bike to Switzerland, as I was on a mission to get to The Alps for some climbing, I took Motorways for the first 330 miles before peeling off onto smaller roads. The bike behaved impeccably and was good at 130kph with cruise on or much slower on tight mountains bends. The Givi luggage was well balanced and I only noticed it at very low speeds.

To be fair, I was ready to get off the bike at the end of the 475 mile journey but this was more to do with being a boil in the bag meal (as it had hit 25 degrees plus) rather than any discomfort. I would however look to upgrade the seat if I was doing this regularly with a bit of softer padding.

Overall: I am very happy with this bike and it does all I ask of it. It will now be used for shorter journeys and commutes until August when I may fit a taller touring screen, a bike specific sat nav and a few other useful bits and pieces. It is however a perfectly good tourer as it is.

Niggles: I am not a fan of having permanent headlights on (but this is Euro law so not Triumph's fault) and I would like a bigger tank range (but there is a solution to this as Rally Raid make this if you don't carry a pillion).

Sunny on The Mendips

Out on The Mendip Hills with L2 students from Bridgwater College today looking at navigation skills. We were very lucky and saw an Adder basking in the sun (although most of the other students and the other staff member would disagree with me I think it was a nice thing to see) as well as the usual ponies wandering about.

Bronze D of E Exmoor

This weekend I have been out with Haygrove School assisting with a Bronze DofE practice on Exmoor. Great weather for walking but a bit chilly when hanging about waiting for groups. All 10 groups were in on time (probably the first time ever that has happened) and even the packing up and hanging tents went smoothly.

Bilingual Low Ropes

Today I was at Cannington Activity Centre with my L3 Outdoor Students who were running Low Ropes for a group of French Students. All went well with only a few things lost in translation and I had nothing to do but observe them making a very good job of running the sessions.

A "Very Difficult" day at The Dewerstone

Today I had to go to Plymouth to pick up a couple of kayaks so met up with Olly on the way for a few routes at The Dewerstone. We decided to go for an enchainment of routes and kept our bags on. We climbed Pinnacle Buttress on the main crag, a 100m or so walk and onto Needle Arete on Needle Buttress and then 50m walk to Raven Face on Upper Raven Buttress. A total of 6 pitches graded at VD (Very Difficult) and all sandwiched in between 2 sets of coffee and cake at Olly's house

South Downs

This weekend I have been working for True Adventure in The South Downs meeting my team that I will be taking to Tanzania this summer.

Open Boating Stoke Gabriel

A great day afloat being a guinea pig for yet another 4 Star assessment, I might get round to taking it myself soon. Sun and light (bit too light really) winds mixed with spring tides gave a relaxed day out on the estuary between Stoke Gabriel and Dittisham. Whilst the candidates were being assessed in rescues and getting wet, I managed to pop my sail up to play around. This may have been the last time out for this canoe as a new one is coming soon.

White Water Kayak Coaching

Today I was out on The Lower Dart working for Wet and High Adventures coaching White Water Kayak skills. Kate, Hannah and Jo were the clients with Robin observing me work. It was a little low but we still managed to look at loads of skills and find rapids to coach on.

Well done to Jo who passed her 3 Star assessment today and thanks to Robin for taking a swim or two for the rescue drills.

New Open Boat Test Paddle


Today I had a quick blast down to see my friends at AS Watersports to try out the new Silverbirch Canoes Broadlands 15 Duralite.

I was impressed with both the quality and handling of the canoe and even though it is marginally longer than my current boat is is both lighter and easier to turn. 30 mins was all I needed to make a decision and then it was a 15 min dilemma on what colour combination to order. I also upgraded to the Ash Gunwales which shave another few kg of the weight bring it down to under 30kg.

Apparently the boat is going into production on Sunday for me so should be here within the month. Check back here to see the colour scheme I went for ......

Special thanks to my Dad and the photograph of his finger

FSRT Provider Course

Today I was down at Haven Banks in Exeter attending a FSRT (Foundation Safety and Rescue) Provider course so I can run these courses in the future. Open Canoes, White Water Kayaks, SUPS, Sea Kayaks and some old school General Purpose boats all came out to play

The course was run by Lee Pooley and contained some very good ideas and it was refreshing to see a course run in a very practical and well though out way way but still covering the syllabus required.