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Six Great British Pirates

Despite their current bad press, the pirates of old continue to fascinate and we wanted to come up with six great British pirates all born in places where we now have a Trail or two! We are not claiming these are the greatest pirates ever, but each of them has a great claim to fame!

1. The most famous pirate of them all was probably Edward Teach, more commonly known as Blackbeard. Blackbeard was born in Bristol and started his career as a crew member for the pirate Benjamin Hornigold. He understood power dressing! Before battle, he would dress all in black, strap several pistols to his chest and put on a large black captain’s hat. Then, he would put slow burning fuses in his hair and beard. The fuses constantly sputtered and gave off smoke, which wreathed him in a perpetual greasy fog. He looked like a devil who had stepped right out of hell and onto a pirate ship and most of his victims simply surrendered their cargo rather than fight him.

2. Calico Jack Rackham was also born in Bristol and is best known for two reasons – having the two most famous and ferocious female pirates in his crew, Anne Bonny and Mary Read.  And, his flag, a black one with a skull over crossed cutlasses has been adopted as the most recognisable contemporary pirate flag.

3. Captain Edward Low was born in Westminster. Although he was active for only three years, Low remains notorious as one of the most vicious pirates of the Golden Age of Piracy, with a reputation for violently torturing his victims before killing them. He sounds a really nasty piece of work, perhaps having being born in Westminster he was true to his roots!

4. Next on our list is the most successful of the pirates operating in the Golden Age of Piracy, Bartholomew “Black Bart” Roberts. He was born in 1682 in Little Newcastle which is between Fishguard and Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire.  His success was measured by the number of ships he had (four) and the number of pirates he controlled (hundreds) and captured and looted more ships that many of the others put together.

5. Also born in Wales was Sir Henry Morgan, knighted by the queen for his services to the crown, despite being known as a famous Caribbean pirate and privateer! He is the most prominent in popular culture and appears on the labels of bottles of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum and has two novels written about him; John Steinbeck’s A Cup of Gold and Josephine Tey’s the Privateer.

6. Thomas Tew, born in Northampton pioneered the route which became known as the Pirate Round. His sea chest is the only known sea chest with its origins leading back to a pirate!  It can be seen in the pirate themed museum in the Florida Keys, which perhaps makes him the most careless for losing it!

Who do you think is a Great British Pirate? Best idea (as chosen by Aaron, our General Manager) will receive a free Trail. Submit your ideas on our facebook page or through twitter – we need to hear from you by the end of the month to be in with a chance.


6th November 2013

Posted In: Did You Know

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7 Benefits of Walking That Are Nothing to do With Health

Walking is a vastly underrated activity.  The benefits are huge and whilst most of us know and understand the health benefits of walking, when you consider what else is good about walking it is no wonder that there are so many walking businesses around!  We’ve come up with seven benefits of walking that are nothing to do with improving your health!

And to help you remember these seven benefits and to celebrate the Halloween period, we’ve created a fun mnemonic word : shpooky!

S is for seeking out and by that we mean foraging for free food – at this time of the year you may still find some blackberries ripe and ready for the taking and if you know what you are doing then you might want to pick the field mushrooms that are out in the right types of field! Please be careful though and don’t pick them if you are at all uncertain.

7 Benefits of Walking That Are Nothing to do With Health - Herb Box

Foraging can be hugely satisfying although some towns around the country have made it very easy by providing herb planters with an invitation to pick some!  You never know what you might come across when out and about!

H is for hobbies and whilst walking could be considered a hobby in itself it also offers opportunities for other hobbies including collecting bits and bobs to stick in scrapbooks or create collages with, as well as finding new views to photograph or glorious nature to capture on film.  Many of our Trails follow a canal or river path and with ever changing traffic on a river, the amateur photographer will have plenty of material and see all the little things when out on foot.

P stands for practisingOut walking on your own is an opportunity to practise a speech you are making for an upcoming event or to learn and rehearse the lines for a script or practise the words of a song or even just get used to singing and breathing (and walking) at the same time! Talking out loud whilst walking might look a little barmy to the outside world but choose your walk carefully and you will not encounter many people!

The first O is for offer.  They say charity begins at home and if you fancy doing your bit for charity you could offer to walk an elderly neighbour’s dog on a regular basis!  A tick in the box for your contribution to The Big Society!

The second O starts the word, orientate. If you have just moved to a new area, it might be beneficial to walk the streets close to home and find out how long it takes to get to the nearest shop, park, post box and so on.

K represents knowledge. We learn all the time and when walking whether in the town or the countryside we are always surprised at the number of information boards everywhere which label points of interest, even in the depth of the countryside.  Often when walking with friends and family the conversation flows freely and we learn all sorts of things we might not have found out otherwise. Don’t you agree?

And lastly Y is for yakking. Walking side by side can be very companionable and yakking certainly passes the time.  According to the dictionary to yak is to talk, especially uninterruptedly and idly; to gab or to chatter. Ever done that?  The last time we were out walking, we certainly did.

So, walking has lots of benefits other than health ones – lets get out get some shpooky!

7 Benefits of Walking That Are Nothing to do With Health - Happy Halloween
Happy Halloween

24th October 2013

Posted In: Did You Know

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