CategoryMini Adventures

GoPro, the camera you never knew you needed

So when you are offered an all expenses paid trip to Silverstone to watch the Moto GP courtesy of GoPro – “The headline sponsor” for the weekend you can’t say no! I wasn’t there to blag freebies, or drink champagne in the VIP but to get to know the GoPro brand and ethos behind this multi national company.

To date this single handily is one of the best things I’ve ever done. Not because I got to drink champagne and watch bikes all day, and come second in Go Karting at Dakota, but because I learnt about one of our biggest brands which we sell at ATBShop.

Theres no point faking it:

So there’s a lot of “fake” or “imitation” GoPros on the market – you know the ones which look like a GoPro, but don’t take photos or videos like a GoPro. They don’t even sit on your helmet or the mounts like a GoPro. I honestly don’t know why people buy them? This is where I say, you get what you pay for. This isn’t a sales pitch by the way; Its just that I’ve seen a lot of fakes on the market, owning a skate park and none come close to a GoPro for usability and quality. You don’t even get access to free editing like you do with GoPro, which after speaks for itself. Hands down – save your money and buy something worth using.

Like a virgin:

Ok I’m a shamed to admit, as someone who likes to “vlog” on “insta” and Facebook, that I’ve never heavily used or setup a GoPro on my own until this day (Moto GP weekend). Owning a shop which sells GoPro’s is also something I shouldn’t admit to either.

I know I’ve lost all your respect right here but bear with me.

This trip to watch the super bikes race at Silverstone has changed my whole world when it comes to media and how I can collect, edit and display it.

Before this weekend I thought GoPros were for “pro’s” – pro surfers, pro skateboarders, pro snowboarders and for people jumping out of planes. The truth is “Yes” they do take a frigging awesome adventure or extreme sports shot, but they also take an epic everyday video or photo. They are perfect for anyone who owns a social media channel as well – Got a Facebook or insta for personal or work? Then you need a GoPro camera in your life – especially if it says the words Hero7 on the side.

The new Black edition Hero7 is of course my favourite and one I’m aloud to shamefully brag that I now own one! Its loaded with all the gadgets to make either a novice or a pro extremely pleased with their purchase.

So you’re now sat there wondering how this could work for a pro and a novice right? Well its “simple”… and that’s the beautiful part of it. So simple to operate, that even a child could use it. Touch screen and simple settings make for an easy life.

Keeping the Voice Controls from the original Hero5 and adding them back onto the Hero7 range, again helps you use it. This little gem of a control works well for people using mount and fixings; so you don’t have that gormless face in each shot of “Is my GoPro recording?” We all know what I’m talking about here.

Anyway this is old hat stuff but part of the whole ethos of making it user friendly. I even think my technophobe of a mother could use it!

Voice Control is standard across the entire Hero7 range, but I want to talk about the new cool shit which is going to blow your mind on the Black Edition!!!

First off its Black for 2018 – yes we’ve been lied to in the past when they sold us a Black and it was grey, but they’ve done it and I can confirm the Black is … well Black! 10 points right there GoPro!

So for us at ATBShop, 2017/18 has been the year where the karma gimble has been everything in our edits. We love that smooth flowing motion and want it in every clip. This had previously come with a hefty price tag until now.

GoPro have come up with what they are calling HyperSmooth technology and its amazing. I mean this is Steve Spielberg shit right here in the hands of Joe Blogs public at high-street not Hollywood prices. No need to add an expensive add on or accessories to this camera – this shits built in and its going to blow you away!

Watch the edit below… this is incredible stuff.

I remember watching it just before we left the hotel for Moto GP and there was a wow from us all. We were hyped and couldn’t wait to see what else was on this camera.

Next exciting point is the live feature! God, it’s crazy to think that GoPro is stepping into the realms of social media by partnering up with one of the biggest players – Facebook. It makes sense being 2018 and all that but no other camera does this that isn’t a phone. You can now live stream with the Hero7 Black straight onto your work or personal Facebook accounts! How rad is this? Lets Face it, the Hero7 Black camera is going to be better than your scabby iPhone camera when the Hero7 Black can shoot in 4k. It even saves the live video to the card in the camera at full resolution.

I now know what you are thinking, and don’t worry the clever men and women at GoPro HQ even managed to make their camera shoot in landscape and portrait making Hero7 even more suitable for you favourite social media apps like snapchat and Instagram.

I can see you all looking at throwing out your iPhones camera as redundant pieces of technology as I write this; well don’t yet, as the GoPro haven’t included a phone yet.

I also loved the time warp motion time-lapse video feature which GoPro have. Its Hollywood right there again in a compact camera that fits in your pocket.

There’s a million other bits I could talk about – but you just need to come and try one for yourself! ATBShop have trained staff and demo cameras to try before you buy so don’t be shy people!

Remember, just because it says Pro on the box – doesn’t mean its for the Pro’s. This camera isn’t expensive for what is loaded on to it and its capability’s. If anything this camera should come with a warning as it will make you all look like movie stars having fun with the family!

For all the full specs on the GoPro Hero7 Black, Silver and White check them out on ATBShop’s Website.

Family tip – buy the silicone sleeve and lanyard if you’re off on a family adventure. Its £20 but keeps the camera safe and easy to use.

Also check all the GoPro apps out. They are free and GoPro have spent millions on them and they work, turning your family holiday into a mini movie with zero effort!

I knew that GoPro had apps to help you edit, but didn’t realise how simple they were to use. The app does everything and makes you look like…well.. a Pro!

A funeral and a car chase:

Today was the day we said good-bye to a dear family friend. Eddie, as he was more fondly known amongst all of his friends and family, was a lovely man who met my Auntie Jean whilst away traveling alone on holiday.

My lovely Auntie Jean could never leave anyone out, and after spotting this handsome chap who sat alone on a table, she instantly invited him over to join in with herself and her friends. That was it, Eddie became a life long companion to Auntie Jean and as they say “The rest was history.”

Auntie Jean’s family welcomed Eddie into their lives where he was accepted by all as a loving and caring companion for Aunty Jean. My mother and father holidayed with the pair several times and have a world of funny stories and beautiful memories.

Somehow 15 wonderful years flew by until Eddie peacefully passed away at home in the care of my Auntie. To say it was a shock was an understatement -although his health been deteriorating for quite some years, his departure from this world was sudden and with no warning, peacefully passing away on the sofa with no pain.

A fond farewell for this well loved family friend needed to be planned over the coming weeks, and his hometown of Doncaster was chosen for his funeral and final resting place.

auntie, but one of a fanatic friendship forged over many years with my parents and grandparents – We are all still regarded like one of the family -invited to birthdays and events, so paying our last respects to Eddie only seemed right, even if it meant traveling halfway across the country to do so.

My parents and I drove up to Doncaster, Eddie’s hometown separately. They chose to stop over at a hotel for the night to break up the journey, whereas I chose to stay with one of my best Friends- Kate a newly qualified teacher in Derby.

After a long day at work and a long drive, I arrived in Derby. Kate and I sat up chatting until we went to bed at 11 pm as it was a school night and I had to get up to travel an extra 1 hour and 20mins at 8 am the next day.

The roads were terrible as it rained all day. There were many scary moments of aquaplaning, flooded roads, motorways and “A” roads. Cars would sit in your boot, metaphorically speaking wanting to overtake but never actually committing. Fortunately, I arrived safely in Doncaster. The funeral was lovely and worth the stress of the roads to say good-bye. I’m not going to lie, I did cry a lot, it was very emotional, as everything became very real. We all had such raw emotion, as we said our last goodbyes. For me the worst part was seeing the real love from my Auntie Jean for this amazing man – it literally broke my heart as we all did our best to comfort her.

After the two funeral services and wake, I set about driving back to Derby to say goodbye to Kate. Still full of emotion and tired from the long day I battled back to Derby. The roads were hell as drivers battled flooded roads. The motorway was dangerous as I struggled on several occasions to stop the car from aquaplaning. I had fully accepted that there was a very high possibility my car was going to get written off that night. Even now I could never fully describe how scared I felt driving. Someone must have been watching over myself and the rest of my friends and family, as it was a miracle we all arrived safely.

My phone started to lose battery as I approached the outskirts of Derby, nearly 2 hours after leaving Doncaster.

Annoyingly my phone was also my Satnav. I continued into Derby driving aimlessly around hoping to recognise a building or a road, which would lead me back to Kate’s house.

After what felt like an eternity, I gave up driving around Derby town centre aimlessly and succumbed to a pub in the hope of finding electricity to power my phone.

I pulled the car into a dark wet car park and walked into what looked like a “Hungry Horse” Pub. I was so tired I hadn’t even read the name of the pub. I ordered a latte after plugging my phone into the wall socket and waited for the phone to charge up.

After about 5 minutes of charging, my phone came to life. I was saved!!! I called Kate to explain my reasons for being so late and went on to explain I hadn’t a clue where I was. After sending her a location off my phone Kate explained in detail how to arrive at her home.

Completely drained from the day I only took in some basic details from her directions. Something about ‘left’ something about a ‘duel-carriage-way’ a turning etc.

After downing my Latte, I grabbed my phone and bag and headed into the dark wet car park. I switched my phone on to load speaker after programming Kate’s address back in I chucked my phone into my door pocket.

I drove out of the pub car park onto what I had believed to be a one-way duel-carriage-way. After driving halfway up the road it became quickly apparent this was, in fact, a two-way road, as I realised I was heading for another car head on. Checking my mirrors for cars I quickly pulled the car onto the correct side of the road.

I was in total shock I’d been that stupid. Fortunately, everyone was fine, and I was just a little shaken. I saw out of the corner of my eye that the car I nearly drove head on into had turned into where I had just pulled out from. I thought nothing of it at the time, as I pulled up to a set of traffic lights at the roundabout where the dual-carriage-way met.

Then as I looked out of my car window waiting for the lights to change, I noticed a small dark car pull up alongside me. The two men appeared to be staring at me. At first, I didn’t think anything was wrong until I realised they were still looking at me. I felt this was very unusual as normally people look away when you catch them looking at you, but they didn’t.

Then the passenger in the small black car said something to the driver and they both stared at me again. I instantly felt intimidated and wondered if it was the car that I had just pulled out on? Had the car in fact not pulled into the pub car park but instead turned round? My paranoia set in.

The lights changed and my left lane was clear to join the duel-carriage-way, so I began to drive away noticing the black small car had signaled to turn out of its lane and into mine and down onto the duel-carriage-way. I wondered if the car was following me, as each time I turned – they turned. After a couple of turns, I knew it… I was being followed.

I started to panic and was worried that the two young men were going to either have a go at me or damage my car. There were two of them and only one of me. The odds, as they say, were not in my favor.

I quickly realised my opportunity to avoid them as I pulled into a side street. I saw my opportunity as the street I had pulled into had a “T-Junction” at the end. I had seen a car pulling into the end of my street, so I knew with a car parked on my left that they would have to give way to the oncoming car if I pushed through quickly, which would hopefully buy me a few seconds.

My plan worked perfectly – no car behind as I turned out from the ‘T-Junction’. I’d lost them for a second or two. I then saw another turning so pulled in quickly like I was in some criminal movie drama turning off my lights, trying to blend in like a parked car. Lying low, hidden in the darkness I looked through my rear-view mirror as I watched for them to pass. I thought that it being dark and wet that they wouldn’t spot me hidden down another road. I remember feeling quite proud of myself for my quick thinking. Unfortunately being a good driver and being very blonde I’d used my indicator to turn and failed to remember to turn it off, so my indicator was still flashing. Leaving my indicator going was like having a neon sign above my car saying, “I’m here, come and get me!!!”

Thinking I may well have lost them, I sat watching them drive slowly past looking for me. I was unaware at this point that I’d left my indicator flashing as they slowed down. Then as I watched intently through my rear-view mirror, I could see the passenger from their car looking up and down the road and then finally across directly at my car. He had spotted me and pointed directly at my car. I panicked and started up the car. I quickly realised as I slowly drove off that I had, in fact, turned into a block end. I was trapped and panicking even more. I slowly turned the car around and drove towards them but they pulled their car across both lanes of the small road so I couldn’t pass. There was no escape, they had blocked me in.
A million thoughts ran through my head, mostly what they were going to do to me, or my car if they got out and how I would escape. My heart was racing. Should I drive at them or sit still?

They spent a couple of seconds getting out the car, which felt like forever. Their car headlights beaming straight at my car really worried me. I have to say seeing a car pull across the road blocking all exits was very scary. One of the men all dressed in black stepped out of the car, he pulled out what I thought was a phone, like he was going to record something. Their car lights still shining at me, my heart raced as I could barely make out the young man’s face.

Weirdly I didn’t lock my doors but unwound my window to ask what they were doing, and to explain I wasn’t having a good day after being at a funeral. Before I could explain any further, the young man interrupted me.

Pulling out a badge he explained they were undercover police. I shook my head in disbelief. Looking at the car, it didn’t look like and an unmarked police car at all. It was small and what you’d expect young lads to be driving. I was horrified and mortified by their explanation, but somewhat relieved.

Apparently pulling out of a pub onto the wrong side of the road at an unmarked police car was reasonable grounds to stop me. I felt such an idiot. They thought I had been “drink driving”, so had a duty to stop and make sure I was ok and that I wouldn’t hurt anyone with my driving.

I explained that I wasn’t from around Derby and was completely lost in the dark wet streets and that I had pulled into the pub to call my friend, as I was lost and had been struggling driving around on flooded roads since Doncaster. Relieved and full of emotion I tried to hold back the tears.

I must have been talking at 100 miles an hour as they kept telling me to charm down and not to worry.

I explained that I’d only had a latte at the pub, which I think they could smell on me, as I had in fact offered a breath test, which they declined to do.

I then started to panic that the officers would think I had been on my phone. My phone sat live on satnav in my door pocket started spitting out directions again.

I hadn’t obviously been on my phone but was worried that they might well have thought that as a reason for my unusual behavior. It was in fact only seconds before leaving the pub that I was making a call after all.

I at this point just wanted to be left alone to travel on, but the two nice young policemen wanted to make sure I was calm enough to drive. They explained that they thought they might have scared me, so wanted to follow me at a distance to check I was ok and that I hadn’t been drinking.

After a few minutes, I had recovered enough from my police chase drama /ordeal enough to carry on. I thanked them very much for caring and apologised for my behavior.

Still pretty shaken I drove off down the back streets of Derby city centre. Questions flooded my head as I thought… “Why had they not used their blue lights?” “Had they got lights on that car?” “Were they real police officers?”

I guess I will never fully know why, if they were real officers that they didn’t use their lights. I wish now I could have thought to ask. I’m over 99% sure they were police officers because of their badgers, radio’s and the car but I guess I will never be 100% sure as it now seems a big blur.

Thinking back to why I believed that road was a duel-carriage-way was we think down to Kate’s directions. This wasn’t her fault, but in my tired and emotional state, I think I only picked out words such as “Left turn” and “Duel-carriage-way” so had confused myself into believing the road wasn’t two way.

Thankfully no one was hurt and I did make it back in one piece but I still believe that a little someone was watching over us all that night to keep us safe, as everyone’s journey back from Doncaster in the floods was dramatic. All the family phoned round that night to make sure everyone was safe and they all said the same.. “it’s a miracle we are all still alive after that journey!”

I’m dedicating this blog entry to Eddie and the love he gave to us all.

Far from normal…

Not many people have a life like mine. There’s never a dull moment. It’s non stop, full on, highly fuelled, bordering on some form of undiagnosed hyperactivity.

Who would have thought our wedding anniversary would have been spent waking up in a Devonshire car park with a group of friends pleading with a ticket officer? If you’ve hadn’t guest it by now, my life is far from normal. We had all traveled down to Westward Ho! for a ATBShop kite demo on the beach. It gives our customers a chance to try kit out before they buy. I often think it’s weird when people walk in and spend thousands of pounds on kit just off our advice. The ATBShop team aren’t what I’d call sales people, but riders. They’re all very knowledgeable, as ATBShop owns an impressive amount of demo kit which the staff all have access to. This means they’ve pretty much tried and tested everything we sell, so know the products inside out. It also helps that some of the guys who work for us are also instructors, so can explain the theory behind the kit and offer flying techniques.

The kite demo weekend was a massive success with brands such as Flysurfer and LiquidForce taking part. This easily made this demo one of the biggest ATBShop had ever thrown.

Later on that Sunday afternoon, I snook off from the demo for a quick surf with a friend. Needless to say my friend and I were far from pro and had been beaten to a pulp my the swell and the board. We had gritty hard sand suck to the side of our faces. So needed to shower.

Washing our hair in a beach car park shower wasn’t exactly the highlight of my weekend but I could honestly say I’ve never laughter so much whilst washing my hair. I did my best not to make eye contact with any passerby, as these showers were very open plan. I could feel everyone’s eyes on us, as we washed our hair next to their expensive cars, whilst stilling donning our 5.3 wet suites. We knew we looked stupid but we didn’t care. The soaps suds were blowing everywhere, including our eyes. The icy cold water was running out of the shower and partly down the road. No we didn’t look like the girls from any of the hair shampoo adverts. This was as far from sexy as you could get.

After the longest 10 minute battle with the worlds coldest shower in the worlds windiest carpark, we each threw on a set of sunnies and then threw our hair into a turban using our towels. Unrecognisable, I could see people smiling at our ridiculousness, but behind our shades we didn’t care. We just giggled like school girls, quickly running back to the car. I literally would have died if anyone I knew had seen us.

Later that evening we set up camp in an Appledore car park. £5 a night gets you a space in the carpark with an amazing view over the estuary and the use of a carpark toilet. No luxury camping here fokes. This was primitive camping at its best and we lapped it up. This was how we were spending our wedding anniversary – with friends in a cold car park.

Tonight’s entertainment would be a dodgy BBQ running out of gas, a defeated hunt for a Fish and Chip shop and late night crabbing.

Like a child I was excited to go off crabbing even though it was close to midnight. Two of the group insisted they were too tired to take part. I explained to Ben (one of our friends) who would be hosting the crabbing soirée that we were bleeding troupes and that he needed to recruit. Ben is the kind of person you don’t say no to. 5 minutes later armed with crabbing buckets and nets, the four of us headed off into rainy mist of Appledore with bottle of Baileys, Captain Morgan and coke. Ben’s recruitment drive had fetched in another two people from the group.

I had been very vocal about winning the crabbing contest – right up until I saw my £4 corner store crabbing set had been trumped by a professional fisherman’s crabbing pot – Ben was going in equipped.

We all quickly realised after throwing our crabbing nets and pots into the harbour that you can catch more crabs at night. I feel a joke could have been inserted here but I know you’re all above that kind of humour of “catching crabs at night.”

We easily caught around 70 crabs or more. Obviously they were too small to eat, but Ben explained he was going to keep some for fishing bait. This upset me as I hadn’t signed up for this and was quickly thinking how I could accidentally knock his bucket into the sea. Fortunately Ben changed his mind before I could conjure up a plan to free the crabs. I’m not a vegetarian but feel terrible when I accidentally tread on a snail, so would have felt bad for the poor little crabs.

After releasing the crabs back into the water, we headed off into the car park back to our homes for the night. Yes this was how I was spending my 7th wedding anniversary. The view I woke up to was pretty epic. No £250 a night hotel could ever compete with that view.

Then things escalated quite badly as a ticket warden arrived quicker than the sunrise. Now in my defence we arrive at night and I could barely read the faded sign with my phone. It turned out I hadn’t used enough money, hadn’t used the correct machine or pressed the right button. I call that a hat trick.

If you are staying over in Appledore then make sure you use the correct machine as this nearly cost us £75 a vehicle. Apparently my face was a picture as it dawned on me that I’d made a mistake. Our two friends from the night before – Harry and Ben were both in separate vehicles and had packed up their cars and were just going to drive off and leave Stu, my hubby and I if tickets were going to be issued. They were both sat in their drives seats when I looked over. They were ready! Our T4 looked like an explosion of camping. Clearly there would be no Formula One exit for us. Far too much kit spread out.

Thankfully the warden was a kind man and let us all off with a warning. I didn’t even need to use the line – “Oh but officer it’s my wedding anniversary…”.

This was officially the start of a good week by the sea and a £75 fine would have just tainted the few days off, Stu and I would have had together.

Now this is where I tell you that you don’t need to spend thousands of pounds to have a good time. It’s the people who are around you that make your adventures what they are. It’s cheesy but next time you go to spend a fortune on your loved one think – will I remember this night in years to come. If the answers yes then you’re doing something right.

I’m dedicating this blog entry to my amazing and diverse friend group who I love very much.