Guided Devon Tours
Through 2015, Kieran Laureston worked around the clock to find suppliers and partners to work together to produce a Food adventure that is not just about the food or the people that make it. But about the place that it is made, the landscape, the climate and the culture that has brought about a way of life. But to get to these places within the South hams is actually rather tricky. He piloted tours to test their potential as many have tried and got lost in the country lanes, jammed in the single track roads and then struggled to find a parking space. Actually getting around the South Hams coastal regions can take several hours if you don’t know your way or where you are. And then there is the problem of getting the tide wrong or that you are outside of the serving hours.
What Kieran is offering is a new approach to visiting these areas, rather than driving yourself and not being able to relax and enjoy a few glasses along the way, to actually being completely car and care free and allowing yourself to really enjoy the experience. Kieran says that this is when you truly wind down from your reality and have a real experience when up close to nature, in real remote places is truly experiential. Add in Oysters, Lobster and Champaign and you indulge the senses even further creating truly life long memories.
Who wants to spend all that time searching to find an atmospheric bar in the landscape to then not actually be able to enjoy it by winding down over several drinks? Driving in small country lanes where you may scratch your vehicle, without actually being able to see the landscape lost somewhere behind the hedgerows. We have all fallen out with our partners at some point when navigational errors occur and it changes the emphasis on the whole atmosphere. It’s great that we now have sat navs but they can lead you down roads that are not road worthy. What we have done is taken the sting out of the tail and we have developed a tour that needs several skippers, drivers and a guide navigating you around the landscape without all the fuss safe in the hands of local experts.
Kieran Laureston has a first class honour in Adventure Tourism Management and has been organising expeditions and leading groups of tourists and travellers in the outdoors since his teens. He has also lived in the South Hams all of his life, amongst travelling through seven continents of the world, trekking in the Himalayas and spending a few years paddling the West coast of Scotland. Which has grounded his understanding of the importance of place, product and the people? He has produced an itinerary that is not far short of an expedition with all of the people and suppliers involved. It has taken a lot of working to get it right, checking timings and going over the route. If you are on holiday without a vehicle the pockets of the South Hams, the real gems are out of the question.
Tours were piloted through 2015 and found that they worked well but needed some additional elements to be really great. Even the local residents that joined the tour said they have never seen Devon in such a way before and so nice to have everything catered to them. That this was actually an exciting adventure experience even though we were almost in their back garden.
For Kieran who is used to leading groups up mountains and out to sea this actually comes with far less risk, is as fun as seeing the world from a mountain top and has the enjoyment of meeting like-minded people and finally an adventure with great cuisine. Adventure activities can end up with crushed sandwiches, or last nights cold left overs on a windy wet hill top wrapped in a bothy and not actually seeing the view. Whereas now the only concern is that the clients enjoy the delicious fresh local delicacies, hot cooked lunches and refreshments picked to enhance the flavours. The only concern is that they may have a little too much wine for floating down the river.
We have paired the local produce with local wines where we can, that truly bring out the flavours of the products and the spectacular environment. However, you cannot beat the French for their Cabernet Sauvignon and how it enhances cheese. Or how well Prosseco goes with Oysters, or how Cremant is best when drunk with decadent crab or lobster.
Kieran has used his own expertise to develop 4 routes that start from exclusive luxury hotels and then worked with local drivers, skippers and boat owners to confirm the route. The route itself is spectacular what ever the weather, well as long as it’s not over a force 4 he says. It gets a little choppy then. Although, in his 15 years of organising boat parties they are often the ones that you have the most social capital and stories to tell your friends. South Devon can have many different weather fronts in one day that you cannot tell what will be the outcome. In 5 years of working here as a Sea Kayak guide, we have never cancelled a tour. By crossing the estuaries and the distance we travel we can go through a small front in a few minutes and over a hill into a blue sky. But that’s the fun of the ride, what’s round the next corner, over the next hill. It is an adventure, so you better come prepared for it.
Having that close encounter with an Otter or a Seal is magical and lends itself to memories that you will keep forever. Luckily we are aware of where they are and actually if the conditions are right we should find that we come very close to seeing Seals. Otters are very quick to disappear once they know we are around especially when there is a small group who have had a couple.