July book reviews

South West England Paddle Boarding – 100 Places to SUP, Canoe & Kayak, Paddle Scotland and The Outdoor Fix

South West England Paddle Boarding – 100 Places to SUP, Canoe & Kayak
By Lisa Drewe
Reviewed by Sarah Thornely

I was delighted to have been sent this new book – it focuses on this quite stunning area and gives the low-down on the best places to paddle on the coast and inland waters too.

The cover draws you in, showcasing the crystal turquoise waters of Cornwall, and the photographs throughout are beautiful. There is great content from the outset, from choosing a board, advice for beginners, and planning a trip, to what to pack in your dry bag.

There is a helpful paragraph on how best to use the book, from route planning and paddling environment to a ‘Best for’ section, be it paddling with your family, visiting cliffs, caves and arches, history and heritage, to island circumnavigations. The grading system from 1 to 5 is clever, so 1 might be a smaller, protected area and never far from the bank, and at the other end of the scale, 5 would be a coastal journey on more exposed water. Lakes, rivers, canals, estuaries, and coastal environments are graded.

At the end of the book are two very important chapters, Keeping Safe on the Water, which gives excellent advice on equipment, safety procedures, and potential health issues. Last but not least is Paddling Responsibly, which, in a concise chapter, gives a wealth of information from the paddler’s code, wildlife, licences and permits, and how to make your voice heard.

A beautiful book, incredibly well researched and written by Lisa, which would inspire any paddler, be they at the beginning of their SUP journey or a seasoned pro – this book is a no-brainer if you love SUP.


Paddle Scotland
By Alasdair Findlay

Reviewed by Sarah Thornely

Over the last few years, I have fallen head over heels with paddleboarding in Scotland, so I was delighted to receive a copy of Alasdair’s new book ‘Paddle Scotland’. I know Ally through the Water Skills Academy, so I knew I was in for a treat with his background in instructing, adventure guiding, and running Glasgow Paddleboarders.

Plus, I was lucky enough to have a few of my photos featured, and with 125,000km of rivers, over 27,000 lochs, and 800 islands, Scotland has great appeal for paddlers.

The book covers all the regions of Scotland from the sublime Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park to the Scottish Highlands and islands, including Mull, Arran, and the Outer Hebrides. It is designed for paddlers of all abilities. There is a simple difficulty rating and a clear map for all routes and distances ranging from short paddles to epic day trip adventures. For the islands, local providers are listed separately towards the book’s end.

Each region’s chapter begins with an overview of the whole area, including local providers, and then a personal anecdote from Ally, which certainly gives life and personality to that region.

The routes include ‘The Lowdown’, which covers difficulty, distance, parking (What3Words), launch point, and water type, which can be anything from a graded river to a stunning loch. Local history, the paddle route, wildlife, and food stops are also included. Other knowledge like local waterfalls, a famous Munro, or local businesses are all there, interspersed with inspirational photographs.

You know this book is written by a local as a wealth of information is included for each paddle adventure. Our favourite quote in the book is, “Get out a map, close your eyes and point. There will be water near your finger that will likely be worth paddling,” and with names like Bow Fiddle Rock, the Rabbit Islands of Talmine, and Loch Awe to choose from, who could not be excited about exploring the rugged beauty that is Scotland.

I know I haven’t touched the sides with my SUP adventures in Scotland, and this impressive book will truly inspire me to explore some more. Paddle Scotland is available to pre-order and perfect timing for your Scottish adventures in 2023.


The Outdoor Fix
By Liv Bolton
Reviewed by Tez Plavenieks

In this day and age, I think we’re all aware of how important getting from in front of the screen and enjoying the outdoors is. It doesn’t matter how you accomplish this. Nor does it require you to become an ultimate adventurer – after all, everyone leads busy lives. A short period as often as possible is good enough – even if only in your back garden. Of course, getting afloat on your SUP is another way to tick the box. But even making time for that can be tricky.

Author Liv Bolton, who also presents a popular podcast of the same name, has gathered inspirational stories from people who’ve made the outdoors part of their lives. One story, in particular, features our very own Jo Moseley!

Some of The Outdoor Fix stories will possibly resonate more than others. Yet there’s something for everyone, and there’s no question how dedicated the featured individuals are to their outdoor pursuit(s). On top of this, you’ll also discover tricks and tips on how to enjoy the outdoors yourself, even if only for short bursts. 

While the text is engaging, the accompanying pics are also well chosen. The result is a coffee table-style book that can be referred back to time and again. And should you end up with visitors seeing the book, I’m pretty sure they’ll get a boost of inspiration to get outdoors more.

A lovely book packed with inspiration and engaging tales connected to the outdoors, The Outdoor Fix is one of those reads that provides entertainment yet signposts a better way of life. But not in an overbearing way. Serving more as a reminder to leave the house more, The Outdoor Fix is a great companion to the podcast of the same name or a stand-alone book in its own right.


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