Adventures on the Forth and Clyde Canal

Cycling along Edinburgh’s canal: Lochrin Basin to Almond Acqueduct

See more detail here This is one of my favourite scenic routes through the leafy, pastoral and mountainous outer suburbs of Edinburgh and East Lothian heading out into the countryside. This epic shared pedestrian and cycling path goes all the way from Edinburgh to Glasgow (56km one way) alongside the Forth and Clyde Canal. With…

Every Picture Tells A Story: Sunset over Orakei

Great Cycling Routes of Auckland: Part 3 North Western Cycleway, Onehunga Foreshore, Cornwall Park, St Heliers Loop

 FYI Click on image to show map. On this Google map I created the bike path in Waterview cycle path isn't showing yet because it was only created last month. Álthough it's a pretty straight-forward bike path with little deviation from it. You should be able to work it out. Happy riding!  See more detail …

Travel: Maori waka ama (racing war canoe) on Auckland Harbour

Waka Ama is a sport akin to outrigger canoe racing or group rowing. It's based on traditional modes of Polynesian sea travel which relied upon celestial navigation. Since the 80s and 90s high-tech canoes of Hawaiian or Polynesian design have become hugely popular as a sport among Māori, often performed as part of cultural festivals held…

Great Cycle Routes of Auckland

Great Cycling Routes of Auckland: Part 2 St Heliers to Te Atatu Return 60km

St Heliers to Te Atatu South via Auckland Zoo and back: Athletic Sprint and Scenic Route All of the cycling routes here generally take place on paved and separated cycling paths that are away from the road. In all cases I have endeavoured to only include the safest routes possible with minimal direct contact with…

Great Cycle Routes of Auckland

Great Cycle Routes of Auckland: Part 1 Beach-side cruising from St Heliers to St Mary’s Bay

All of the cycling routes here generally take place on paved and separated cycling paths that are away from the road. In all cases I have endeavoured to only include the safest routes possible with minimal direct contact with the traffic. Mainly this is because Auckland drivers are pretty bad and it's not a good…

An excellent MTB adventure in Huka Falls, Taupo

An excellent MTB adventure in Huka Falls, Taupo

This 17 km track located close by to the town of Taupo is a scenic loop crossing Huka Falls initially then continuing north along the Waikato river. There are some great panoramic lookout points along the way which feature the powerful Waikato river, bright green belts of forest and tracts of farmland. From atop high…

Welcome to the rumbling belly of the shaky isles: Orakei Korako https://wp.me/p41CQf-JXQ

Welcome to the rumbling belly of the shaky isles: Orakei Korako

The earth's crust is made up of a patchwork of interlocking slabs (techtonic plates) which move independently like enormous ice flows. Today New Zealand straddles the boundary between the Indian, Australian and Pacific plates. Tremendous natural energy is released which results in many spectacular geologicial occurrences including mountain building, earthquakes and volcanic activity. Over the…

Secrets of the Mornington Peninsula: Tyabb Packing House

Secrets of the Mornington Peninsula: Tyabb Packing House

The Mornington Peninsula (where I hail from originally) is located in the S.E tip of Port Phillip Bay, about 1 hour's drive outside of Melbourne.  It's a sundrenched and beachy part of Melbourne which features serene and quiet, toddler friendly beaches in sheltered Port Phillip Bay, along with colourful bathing boxes. On the other side…

Scotland's Momentous Decision on September 18th

Words and Music: The Disintegration Loops & Edinburgh

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjnAE5go9dI [Here is a poem about a place I've been and seen and drunk in, along with some music to match] Edinburgh City of dreams and sloping pagan peaks in a city Gigantic sea-shanty sized voices with looping arr sounds Turbulent winter snow drifts Warming whisky tumblers filled with smoky graceful ease Like a cream…

Welcome to the rumbling belly of the shaky isles: Taupo and Rotorua Part Two

Welcome to the rumbling belly of the shaky isles: Waiotapu

Waiotapu means sacred waters in Maori. It's an active geothermal area at the southern end of New Zealand's Taupo Volcanic Zone just outside of Rotorua. It's a place of surreal colour, beauty and otherworldly wonder. It's no exaggeration that you haven't seen anything like this before. The alchemy of mineral deposits mixing over thousands and sometimes millions of…

Scotland's Momentous Decision on September 18th

Five Brilliant Off the Beaten Track Restaurants Around Edinburgh

From writing for several years for the Edinburgh Food and Drink Guide I have gathered together some personal favourites of the Athens of the North. Here are a selection of Edinburgh restaurants that require some pounding of pavement often through beautiful scenery to get there. These eateries are worthy of recommendation because of their beautiful ambience,…

A floaty late summer serenade in Munich 2008

Every Picture Tells a Story: A floaty late summer serenade in Munich 2008

Walking through a majestic and manicured gardens in Munich I heard a delicate and heartfelt serenade on the violin from a faraway stone rotunda. I walked there and took a seat among two people who appeared in a stupor of enjoyment. They were both sitting in the late afternoon sun, lulled into a dream by the…

Fuck Parade in Berlin 2009

Fuck Parade in Berlin, 2009

Fuckparade is a part protest and part techno street party in Berlin which happens every summer. Since 1997 local Berliners have demonstrated against the forces of commercialisation of public life and culture which can stifle and crush creativity. These photos are from when I went to Fuckparade in 2009. I was at the U-bahn station…

Auckland's Hidden Culinary Heaven: Bowl & Arrow and Farro (Orakei Bay Village)

Auckland’s Hidden Culinary Heaven: Bowl & Arrow and Farro (Orakei Bay Village)

Orakei Bay Village is a boutique block of specialty shops, fancy eateries, breweries and wine cellars (because Kiwi's do like a drink or two). A Kiwi tradition or perhaps Auckland tradition (which I think is amazing) seems to be that each suburb has a burrowed away and hidden block of shops, where local businesses and…

A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts: Cheeky Fruit and Veg Boxes by Australian Farmers

Wild and Wonderful Asian Fruit Smoothies to enjoy this summer

Living in tropical South East Asia definitely has its benefits. One of them is being able to tan all year round. Another, is the abundance of juicy, vibrantly coloured and weird-looking fruit. This tastes like nothing you have ever tried before! Also, Asian fruit is cheap to buy here, so it's easy to conjure up…

Windy Wellington shows her pretty side on Guy Fawkes Night

It's a bit of a mystery why a far-flung Capital City like Wellington in New Zealand would actively celebrate a rebellious plot against King James I of England/ King James VI of Scotland in 1605. Nevertheless the appeal seems to be because of the emission of huge amounts of pyrotechnics and fireworks. Who doesn't enjoy…

The Art of Illusion: The Panorama of the Battle of Racławice

The Panorama of the Battle of Racławice (Panorama Racławicka) is a definite must on any trip to the city of Wrocław. The panorama is as iconic to Wrocław as Wawel Castle is to Kraków. The Wrocław Panorama is a gigantic 114 metre long and 15 metre high painting that depicts the battle of Racławice. This was an epic battle of…

Cycling adventures at dusk in Wrocław Copyright Content Catnip 2016

Cycling adventures at dusk in Wrocław

Wrocław is a little city which has the feel of a large town and isn't as overcrowded as some of the bigger and more populous Polish cities. At various times in history, Wrocław has been engulfed in Bohemia, Hungary, the Austrian Empire, Prussia, and Germany. So this place has a very mixed and cosmopolitan feel. In 2015,…

A brief history of artisan and merchant guilds in medieval Poland

The medieval artisans of Poland

On a visit to the Muzeum Narodowe we Wrocławiu in the Polish city of Wrocław I was astonished not by the grimly beautiful Renaissance paintings of Christ, angels and demons but of something far more tangible. Medieval shop signs and merchant guild coats of arms that illustrated the professions of artisans, traders and merchants of medieval times.…