A Kayaking, Sunset + Whisky Adventure with Talisker...

I love it when a few of my favourites things in life blend into a moment of total magic. On this particular occasion it was a wondrous combination of London, whisky and adventure.

Last week I was invited by Talisker and Secret Adventures (who organise unusual adventures in London and beyond) to take part in a kayaking challenge down the River Thames.

Myself and a group of fellow adventurers set off from St Mary’s Church in Battersea and finished at the historic Mayflower pub in Rotherhithe for a dram of celebratory whisky as the sun set.

Talisker Whisky Challenge, kayaking London

My idea of a perfect day

London lust

Although I travel a lot, London is my home.

Being a Londoner I would say my knowledge of the city is pretty good but on this trip I had my eyes opened to a slightly different perspective.

I saw all the major landmarks from Battersea Power Station, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament to the London Eye and The Shard. But this time it was from a different angle which made it feel like I was exploring somewhere entirely new.

Talisker Whisky Challenge, kayaking London

I’m used to crossing all the major bridges by foot or by bike but for the first time I saw the giant buttresses of Albert, Chelsea, Waterloo and London Bridge in high resolution and marvelled at the sheer engineering of these great structures.

As I floated under the magnificent Tower Bridge just as the sun was setting I felt a certain sense of privilege. Almost like I’d been given the keys to a behind-the scenes look at my beautiful city.

Talisker Whisky Challenge, kayaking London

Quick-fix adventure

One of the perks of my trip upriver was that it provided an escape that was right on my doorstep.

I think it’s really important to make adventures more accessible to our everyday life and Secret Adventures are really helping us to get closer to that feeling of freedom we get when we take a break from our daily routines.

Even if you’re time poor, this trip only took two hours so it’s certainly something you could fit around your hectic schedule.

Talisker Whisky Challenge, kayaking London

Whisky wonder

I’ve always said whisky and adventure are perfectly paired. I’ve had so many moments in Scotland with a glass in hand, watching some phenomenon of nature (like a double rainbow in Shetland most recently) and just thought, if you could bottle adventure, it would taste like this.

Talisker Whisky Challenge, kayaking London

Obviously I’m not condoning heavy drinking or anything but there was something particularly satisfying about ending our little voyage with a glass of warming whisky at the Mayflower Pub which has been around since the 16th century.

Talisker Whisky Challenge, kayaking London

Talisker Whisky, who have partnered with Secret Adventures on this trip have recognised this synergy. They organise an incredible challenge that sees entrants rowing the Atlantic crossing. That’s 3,000 miles from San Sebastian in La Gomera, Canary Islands via Nelson’s Dockyard in England, Antigua and Barbuda. Certainly something worth checking out...

Great company

Adventure has always connected me with like-minded people who share my values for pushing the boundaries, challenging themselves physically and mentally and who have a thirst for exploration.

Talisker Whisky Challenge, kayaking London

The camaraderie on this trip down the Thames grew with every paddle and I felt so happy to be sharing the experience with such a fantastic group of people.

Talisker Whisky Challenge, kayaking London

In my two-man kayak I was paired with Angus Collins, an adventurer and accomplished ocean rower. He has achieved so much in the field of ocean rowing including skippering a team in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge to set a new race record. In 2017, he went on to beat this record and set a new World Record with Team Latitude 35, completing the crossing in 35 days 14 hours and 3 minutes. I’ve certainly locked him in to do a challenge together in the future!

I also wanted to introduce you to the rest of the group I was with so you can check out some of the great work they’re doing:

James Thompson - Incredible foodie

Angus Collins - Indefatigable ocean rower

Lauren Morton - Intrepid adventurer

Tristan Cameron Harper - Talented professional ice-hockey player turned adventurer

Lizzie Carr – Inspiring adventurer and environmentalist

Talisker Whisky Challenge, kayaking London

Have a go yourself

I really recommend having a go at kayaking down the Thames and checking out all the other adventures organised by Secret Adventures.

You can find it here:


This blog is sponsored by Talisker