My Life In Travel: James Cracknell

'I paddled across the English Channel with my friend on a surfboard'


First holiday memory?

Being woken up by my parents very early in the morning to catch the ferry to France, where we used to go camping. Looking back, they were great holidays because there are so many different landscapes in France.

Best holiday?

My honeymoon in the States. My wife and I drove from Boston to Los Angeles in a campervan over a month or so. You can see why so few Americans have passports because it's like seeing lots of small countries packed into one.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

The South-west, particularly north Devon and north Cornwall. I really like places like Croyde and Polzeath because they have good waves.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Planning. I've travelled a lot with my rowing when everything was done for me. When I suddenly had to organise things myself it was a bit of a shock to the system.

Ideal travelling companion?

Captain Bligh because I wouldn't get lost with him.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

Adrenalin, then culture, then the beach if it's got waves, but not for sunbathing. I'll try to be a bit more adventurous with the places I go for family holidays once my son's a bit older, but it's a bit tricky at the moment.

Greatest travel luxury?

If I'm on a plane then it's leg room, because my knees always hit the seat in front.

Holiday reading?

I like reading when I'm abroad, particularly books with a factual basis. I have just finished Robert Harris's Imperium and I like Irvine Welsh and Bret Easton Ellis.

Where has seduced you?

South America. I travelled around Venezuela and Colombia after leaving school. It's such a different way of life and there is a huge range of landscapes from coastal cities to jungles and high-altitude mountains. It's amazing.

Better to travel or arrive?

To arrive, if I'm flying. I really like driving, but not when I'm being piloted and I can't stop when I want to.

Worst travel experience?

Apart from rowing across the Atlantic?! When we were on our honeymoon various things went wrong with the campervan, like the sewer hose breaking off. The heating stopped working during November, so we had to wear tracksuits. Those moments make it memorable though and I look back and laugh.

Worst holiday?

I went to Mauritius after the World Rowing Championships one year for two weeks and was ill for the whole time. I only had three weeks off that year too.

Worst hotel?

I did an altitude training camp in Bulgaria and the hotel we stayed in was like a scene from Rocky IV when he goes to Russia; it was grim. I had to spend three weeks there eating deep-fried cheese and meat that looked unfit to eat.

Best hotel?

I stayed at the Carlisle Bay Hotel in Antigua after rowing across the Atlantic with Ben Fogle, which was amazing. I'm not sure the other guests thought so when we turned up with beards and no clothes!

Best meal abroad?

A lobster barbecue on the beach in Cape Town.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

Unpack, although according to my wife it's making a mess.

Dream trip?

I'd like to ride a motorbike from one end of South America to the other.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

I drove down Highway One in California, which was great. I'd love to swim from Gibraltar to North Africa or across the Bering Strait. I have also paddled across the English Channel on a surfboard with my friend and we set the Guinness World Record: five hours and 26 minutes. I have no desire to do it again, though.

Favourite city?

I really like London because I miss it when I'm not here, but at the same time it can be incredibly frustrating. I really enjoyed Sydney because I have such great memories of winning the Olympic gold medal there.

Where next?

I'm doing the Pure Tasmania Challenge race: hiking, cycling, kayaking and trekking across the island over six days.

'The Crossing' by James Cracknell and Ben Fogle is published by Altantic Books (£18.99 hardback)

News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Swiss guards stand in the Sistine Chapel, which is to be lit, and protected, by 7,000 LEDs
art

The Sistine Chapel is set to be illuminated with thousands of LEDs

Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Sport
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Service Charge Accountant

    30,000 to 35,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: We are currently recruiting on...

    Management Accountant

    28,000 to 32,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our client, a hospitality busi...

    Food and Beverage Cost Controller

    18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...

    Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive

    £20 - 24k: Guru Careers: A Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive is needed t...

    Day In a Page

    Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

    Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

    A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
    An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

    An app for the amorous

    Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

    Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
    She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

    She's having a laugh

    Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

    Let there be light

    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
    Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

    Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

    Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
    Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

    A look to the future

    It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
    The 10 best bedspreads

    The 10 best bedspreads

    Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
    Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

    Arsenal vs Galatasaray

    Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
    Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?