Hiking the West Highland Way

Together, my partner and I ventured into the very heart of the Scottish highlands, embraced harsh conditions, became transfixed by an endless horizon of mountain peaks and tested out our new Trespass gear, to hike the west highland way.

Day 1:

On the first day of travel we braved a nine hour coach journey from London Victoria Station to Glasgow, with a further three hours to reach our final destination, Fort William, Scotland. The coach journey to Fort William via Citylink travel, blessed us both with incredible views along the way, of the Loch Lomond National Park, Rannoch Moor and the Glencoe Three Sister peaks in the Lost valley. Once we had arrived in Fort William, we took the path along via Cow Hill (very steep ascent!) to where the west highland way begins, in Cow Hill car park, on the outskirts of the village of Glen Nevis. We were faced with a diversion sign, as tree felling is taking place until April 2017 (if you are thinking of hiking the WHW anytime soon then please be aware of the diversion) and after an hours walking with our very heavy backpacks, ventured back into the village and up a single track road.

Our aim was to wild camp that night on route to Kinlocleven, but conditions were harsh and worsened as the evening set in. Most patches were boggy, open and exposed. We found a spot sheltered by trees, pitched up and tested out our new sleeping bags. As the night drew to a close, we experienced high winds, a dramatic drop in temperature and spent most of the night worried our tent would fly away. But, it does give you a rush when you are up against the elements and gives you time to appreciate it when conditions improve out in the wilderness.

17309145_1509448912400217_6480518784603259708_n

Day 2:

Our trek to the village of Kinlocleven took several hours, following the WHW path with its twists and turns through marshy land, with mountains soaring above us either side, and a final decent through the forest to finish off, getting into Kinlocleven mid-afternoon. We made the rational decision to rest up and stayed in a trekker hut at the Macdonald hotel and campsite, which gave us views across the loch. We prepared ourselves for a very intense seven mile hike to Kingshouse the next day – the Devil’s Staircase being the most fierce of challenges to await us!

 

Day 3:

Day three was the most difficult of day’s during our expedition. We faced the very worst of conditions, ice, snow and rainfall, boggy pits and harsh temperatures. The weather was unsettling and tested us mentally and physically – continuous ascents and descents along this part of the trail proving most difficult and the equivalent of climbing Snowdon if you are walking in the opposite direction, from Fort William rather than starting the trail in Glasgow. The trail was lost at one point due to snowfall; we managed to stay on track by following the footsteps of others who had also braved the trail that day. By the time we reached the top of the mountain peak, we were motivated to tackle the Devil’s staircase (very steep, rocky terrain with views over Glencoe) in the hope we could find somewhere warm to stay that evening. The Kingshouse Hotel has closed for renovation but has opened up bunkhouse accommodation for walkers, hikers and travellers alike wanting somewhere warm, desolate and peaceful to stay! The staff are incredibly friendly, welcomed us and sorted us with a room for the night. Very highly recommend to you if you are thinking of hiking the WHW, as not only are the conditions of the bunkhouse to a very high standard, but also very lucky to have views across Rannoch moor, and the mountains of Glencoe near the ski centre.

17361902_1509472772397831_918810705565960240_n

Day 4:

Any traveller is encouraged to make the right choices, to ensure that you are safe and well. With time and weather conditions against us, we made the conscious decision to avoid hiking the next section of the WHW passing through Rannoch Moor, an area which is desolate, exposed to all the elements, and dangerous in winter when you are inexperienced. We took in views of the moor from the coach, which took us into the village of Tyndrum, a very picturesque village, with local amenities and plenty of walks to keep you occupied.

17424738_1509447659067009_5462645241849999861_n

Day 5:

Blessed with the very best of conditions on day five, as we took up the challenge of hiking from Tyndrum to Crianlarch, on the WHW. We had picturesque views of the Tyndrum mountain peaks, as we passed through Ewich forest, beautifully eerie, with pine trees soaring above you, unravelling incredible views across the horizon. We were even fortunate enough to see a rainbow! It is easy to be inspired by the dramatic Scottish landscape, especially on a clear day when the mountain peaks reveal themselves to you. Crianlarch is a very small village; the perfect place to stop for a pint after a solid seven miles of hiking.

17361828_1509447725733669_5052228543436661278_n

 

17362067_1509447932400315_624518741333758122_n

Day 6:

Our final day in Scotland – we took advantage of the fact that we could take the train from Tyndrum back to the Bridge of Orchy, somewhere we would have passed if we had of hiked the Rannoch moor section of the WHW. We stopped off for a coffee in the Bridge of Orchy hotel, again very friendly staff who welcome walkers! If we have learned anything from this trip it is that things don’t always go to plan, but sometimes when you veer off on a course you never imagined, things work out for the better in the end.

17353249_1509447099067065_4011618352952763321_n

Some of our toughest days on the west highland way taught us to appreciate the best of days, with the best of conditions. If you are thinking of hiking the trail, I would strongly recommend that you do, but prepare, research and decide the best time of year for you.

 

 

Advertisements

Lisbon: The City of Art

The buildings of Lisbon, Portugal are overgrown, with ivy branching out of the rock. The streets merge into one, leading you up steep staircases and past local cafes until you can see the city, towering below you. It is a beautiful place to visit, explore and immerse yourself in.

If you stay in Nova De Santos, in the Hello Lisbon Apartments, you will be blessed with the glorious view across the Tagus River which eventually opens out to the Atlantic Ocean. You will never be short of places to eat in Lisbon, Portugal, with restaurants, cafes and bars around almost every corner, even away from the main tourist attractions.

We decided to head out to explore the city and took a City Sightseeing Portugal bus from the main square, which took us past the 25 de Abril Bridge, one of the most famous bridges in Lisbon and up to the Belem Tower (also known as the Tower of St Vincent). Our next point of interest was the famous monument Padrao dos Descobrimentos and then the Jeronimos Monastery. It was hard not to admire the architectural structure of the monastery and the atmosphere it evokes.

We also had the pleasure of exploring Sintra, an hour away from the bustling city of Lisbon, and close to the National Park of Pena. The Pena Palace, a Romanticist castle stands tall, overlooking the small town of Sintra. The Palace was covered in pastel like colours and fairy tale like; its surroundings even more breathtaking. The grounds surrounding the Palace like an enchanted forest, and so easy to get lost in for hours on end!

16939192_1493444294000679_8503763548346574268_n

I would strongly recommend the Santa Luzia viewpoint if you ever want picturesque views of Lisbon. Also, if you are ever in passing, to try the Portuguese speciality, Pasta de Natas – a delicious egg tart pastry.

Lisbon, Portugal is a city of art, with the streets covered in graffiti, of architecture, with cathedrals and churches standing tall and hidden alleyways you find yourself getting lost in. If you are itching to travel anywhere, I suggest Lisbon to be top of your list of destinations to explore!

17022471_1493444450667330_3412705887845968595_n

 

Exploring the wonders of the Peak District National Park

When people ask you how your weekend went, usually you say “oh yeah, it was great thank you, spent most of it chilling” or seeing friends etc. Sound familiar? This weekend was different. Very different. Who knew it was possible to fit so much into a two and a half day weekend?

Friday afternoon we left home, to head out onto the road in the direction of Nottingham. The night was young and with time on our side, arrived in the city with time to spare, to settle in and make a plan for Saturday (in light of exploring the wonders of the Peak District National Park). Our primary target was to visit Stanadge Edge, High Peak which is where the famous Elizabeth Bennett, aka, Keira Knightley stands gracefully overlooking the various peaks, in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Did we get there? Yes we did. Was there snow? Yes lots of it. Biggest snowfall I’ve seen in a while anyway. Despite the snow restricting views over the edge, it was a wondrous feeling being able to make it to the top after a nice, steady climb! Time has no boundaries and sometimes, you just need to cut yourself off from the world, turn off the sat nav and head in whichever direction the road takes you, because that’s where you experience the most magical of moments. You turn a corner, and suddenly you are in the middle of it all, the peaks rising above you from all angles, with not a car in sight. One moment in particular found us unexpectedly overlooking Bin Green reservoir, with snow falling over the peaks in the distance.

The most scary of times happened in the early hours of Sunday morning, when we decided to chase the sunrise up near the summit Holme Moss. We found ourselves up against icy single track roads. Little did we know thirty minutes or so later we would be stuck in the side of a bank, near the summit of Holme Moss. Its moments like this that you find something in yourself that you never knew even existed. The road can test you, it can leave you feeling lonely, or complete, scared, or content. We were rescued, and all was well and it is an experience neither of us will ever forget! Next time, we will remember to bring rope, just in case.

It is easy to say that you can get travel sick from going away from home. But I seem to experience the latter where I come home longing to revisit the places I have travelled. Late Sunday night, as we drove back home, I found myself wanting to turn back, for the road to take us someplace else instead.

The road is life. It can take you anywhere and everywhere all at once. It can lead you on a journey you never imagined, finding a part of yourself you never knew even existed until now.

 

DSC_5267.JPG

My Solo Christmas Adventure in Glencoe

There are many ways to celebrate Christmas and this year, I decided to head out on a solo adventure up to the glorious highlands of Scotland. I can’t deny that I was overcome with a desire to break away and get lost in the wild!

I set forth on the 22nd December, bracing a very long eighteen hour journey on a packed National Express coach. Luck was on my side when, despite the coach breaking down on the M6 motorway at 2am and being caught in a storm when passing through Rannoch Moor,  I managed to arrive in Glencoe safely and still in one piece. My reasons for existing soon became apparent as I stepped off the final coach in Glencoe village, in awe of the way the clouds lingered at the foot of the Glencoe peaks and the way the wind brushed the waves of the Loch Leven. I could definitely see why Glencoe is the most famous and impressively dramatic of glens in Scotland!

One of the most important things to remember when travelling to the highlands in Winter is to be prepared, for the very best and worst of weather conditions. As prepared as I thought that I was at the time, it turns out that I didn’t have all the right gear or clothing to prepare me for the storm; continuous downpours of rain, being egged on strong 20mph high winds. But, I was not going to be defeated so I continued on, taking a mile hike to Glencoe Youth Hostel where I could drop off my backpack and relax in the quiet room, before heading back out for a walk, passing The Clachaig Inn. I was taken aback by the spectacular views of the Glencoe mountain range and of the forests that complimented the scenery further.

Day 2, and I took a walk up to Signal Rock and An Torr, where the signal was given to begin the massacre in the early hours of the morning on 13 February, 1692. This took up the majority of my day. Afterwards, I took the opportunity to head out and explore the village of Glencoe, where people in passing are friendly and approachable and also, not afraid to go out and brace the high winds! Back at the hostel later that evening, I met a wonderful family of four who invited me over to sit with them, and tackle four courses of delicious food in celebration of Christmas! This has to be the highlight of my trip, because sometimes, you can feel quite isolate when travelling alone, so for a group of strangers to offer you to sit with them really is quite a big deal!

Days 3 and 4 were mostly spent exploring and walking the Glencoe Lochan trail, not far from the village. Making my way through ornamental woodland, I was blessed with views of the picturesque Lochan, overlooking the wild mountains from across the way. On day 4 I took the opportunity to explore deep into the depths of The Lost Valley with two professional mountaineers who I had met back at the Hostel the night before. Scenery wise, this has to be the best I have seen or experienced yet! The path takes you away from the twisty, turny A82 road leaving you with views of the Glencoe Three Sisters and other mountains and valleys that surround it. I would definitely recommend it as one of the top best things to do in Glencoe.

If I had to sum up my experience in Scotland in one word it would be this – Incredible. Not only was I blessed with the company of others on my travels, but I also got to experience the highlands in Winter and embrace moments of complete solitude in the wild. The world is your oyster, and there is never a right or wrong time of year to travel somewhere, if your heart desires to go there then don’t hesitate on buying that ticket!

sdr

sdr

Travel: Why is it so important to us?

It is important to travel as often as you can. Don’t threat over expenses, or worry that you’ll be missing out at home. Travelling gives you a sense of fulfillment and adds purpose to your life. To stay in one place for too long can lead you into a vicious circle of feeling very depressed and hopeless.

Travelling the world can be a solution to this. Why not hop on a plane to Amsterdam and get lost in the beauty of its architectural build? Or catch a train to Paris and to take that all important selfie of you and the Eiffel Tower? There are many things that can keep you entertained back home, but in the end you’ll be longing for more. There is an endless list of places to visit, languages to learn, and cultures to immerse yourself in.

So, why is travelling so important?

The more you travel, the better understanding you’ll have of the world and how it works. It can also be very beneficial to you spiritually and you can go on that all important journey in ‘finding yourself’. You can overcome many obstacles in your life when travelling, as it allows you to view life from a whole new perspective. If you are having trouble deciding on whether you want to go to into further study for example, or if you are happy and content with how your life is going, then travelling can help you to decide on a path that’s right for you.

Travelling can aid your spiritual growth because it can help you to explore and be more in touch with nature. You also become more aware of your surroundings, from the way the leaves fall in Autumn, to the sound of the waves rushing into shore by the sea.

The ultimate reason as to why travelling is so important is because it gives you a sense of freedom and control over your life. If you are struggling with your own self worth, or have major confidence issues then visiting new places can help you to by stepping out of your comfort zone.

It is important for us to seek new adventures, and explore new places in order to feel truly free and at peace with ourselves and the lives that we live.

Travelling to Edinburgh: A City of Wonder

 

Day 1: Unfamiliarity

Its 7:50pm and I have just arrived at The Hostel in Edinburgh (yes that’s its official name). I have just walked a mile and a half down the main high street after sitting patiently on a National Express coach for ten hours. The high street is filled with the hustle and bustle of city life, bright lights illuminating Edinburgh castle at night, perched high on the hill, feasting its eyes down on the city. Business men and women, families, solo travellers of all ages walk down the street, having conversations about their day, what they have planned for dinner, or how they can’t believe they missed that episode of X Factor the other night. The wonderful aroma of perfume follows me down the street. I am in awe of the city at night.

I am given the key card to Room 6 filled with bunk beds and people travelling from all different corners of the world. After settling in, and being exhausted from a long day of travel I take out my notepad and start to jot down my stream of consciousness…

This world sets us on a course we never imagined for here I am in a sixteen bed hostel room of a foreign city wondering what to do with my life and where to go next. Ask yourself this; what do you want from this life? Where do your passions truly lie? It is okay not to have it all figured out yet. It’s okay to take pictures, wonder in the splendour of it all and indulge in the moments of true awe and beauty of ones surroundings. For this night will give you it all.

Day 2: The City never sleeps

Taking a solo trip on your own can be very daunting at first. You become solely in control, solely responsible for booking your tickets, turning up on time for your coach, or flight and most daunting of all, learning how to navigate your way around a city that is completely foreign to you.

Day two began at 7:30a.m in the morning, awakening to groupings of business men and women out the window waiting for their tram, or bus to work. There is no break from the noise of footsteps, the sound of the pedestrian crossing and cars passing by. The city never sleeps. I grab my belongings and head out to the National Museum of Edinburgh to meet a very distant friend who is kind enough to show me around the city for the day. As it starts to rain we head up Edinburgh’s famous mountain, to experience the views from Arthurs Seat. The views are extraordinary, looking out at the coastline, and city skyline. It is quieter up here, but with gales of up to fifty miles per hour it is hard to stand still without being afraid of falling off the side! After several hours of hiking, we head back down to grab a coffee and warm ourselves up again. Next stop is to experience the Royal Mile, filled with many vintage shops, cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops, and the list goes on and on. I have been unlucky enough to miss out on the street festivals which happen around July, August time. But, the streets are still alive with music, laughter and joy. Up far on the hill sits Edinburgh’s most famous castle. People gather to capture the moment and take pictures outside the landmark (I of course join in with this tradition and take some pictures of my own).

I feel like a toddler that has been put in the middle of a play park, left to my own devices. There is so much to do and see but never enough time to do it all at once. I take the opportunity to explore the Royal Botanic Gardens, kept in pristine condition, with paths leading their way around, and the prospect of sitting wherever you desire. Sometimes you have to sit for a moment or two and take it all in. Evening is fast approaching so I decide to take a walk up to several monuments perched up on the hill on the other side of town. From here I can see Arthurs Seat and again, I’m blessed with the view of the city skyline. The night ends with a meal in a local pub chain, trying out Edinburgh’s local dish, Haggis. I feel complete.

Today has been overwhelming, I have seen the best of places, the best of views and embraced the local food. Now I prepare for a long journey home the very next day. You don’t need to go far, or be away for long to adopt a different perspective on life. I am both connected and disconnected from the world. I am both in and out. I am in awe of the city, but also lusting for solitude.

 

 

 

Travel for Introverts

Life isn’t easy being an introvert. You will often miss out on plans on a Saturday night because you would rather be at home, alone and listening to music then out being socially awkward around friends. Many will tell you that you will live a very lonely, unhappy life. If you announce that you want to go backpacking alone they will turn around and tell you that you are ‘crazy’ and that you need to take your mind off such ‘crazy’ ideas by getting a mortgage or something more adult like and responsible.

I was once terrified of just the thought of travelling alone and relying on myself to get from A to B. But I came to realise that there are dangers no matter where you are in this world and that any obstacle can be overcome if you only believe in yourself. The best feeling in the world is standing tall, at the top of a mountain, looking down at the world care free, with no one to thank you for getting up there but your self. That’s the exact moment you can turn around and say that you have proved everyone wrong. Life is made for living, not just to sit back and rely on other’s to make you happy because it won’t and soon you’ll look back and regret the chances you didn’t take. Pride yourself of your adventurous spirit.

Are you too afraid of travelling because you find it difficult stepping out of your comfort zone? Do you find it hard trying to shrug off those negative comments about travelling alone?

Don’t worry! There are many of us introverts out there who would much rather be contemplating life’s wonders under the stars at night, in the middle of nowhere, with no one around.

When us introverts want to get away, we really do want to just get away, from it all. You will never find an introvert sipping cocktails on a beach in Spain, or walking the streets of a crowded city like London, for instance. Oh no. You are more likely to find us alone, in an uninhabited place. We like to savour our many hours of freedom and solitude when the opportunity arises.

You do not have to be a bubbly, outgoing extrovert to be able to travel the world. Don’t forget that. There are many places you can travel that are more secluded, rural and unspoiled. Some ideas for friendly-introverted destinations in the UK, depending on your style, could be to explore deep into a forbidden forest in Rendlesham, or the Forest of Dean where parts of the Harry Potter  series was filmed. If you are a little bit more spontaneous you could try heading up to the Highlands and camping alone in the wild in complete solitude.

There is never a shortage of somewhere to go if you are an introvert and struggle to converse easily with others.

Fight back. You are strong, courageous and have an adventurous spirit. BREAK FREE. Trust your instincts, pack a bag and prove everyone wrong. You can be happy while travelling alone.

 

end-of-a-pier-1410036

 

The perks of UK travel

Many of us who live in the UK are often prone to travelling abroad, rather than exploring first, the hidden gems that makes the UK one of the top travel destinations.

So what are the primary factors that makes the UK so travel worthy?

Well No.1 is…

The English Countryside

The English Countryside is renowned for its spectacular views, walking trails and above all, its heritage. Many travelers seek comfort in knowing that they are only a short walk or drive away from national trust beauty spots. Whether you are into rolling hills, or flat landscapes, the UK has it all. Have you ever been to the Yorkshire Dales? This is the perfect location for a good old stroll through the countryside, with its dry stone walls and limestone outcrops.It is known for its delightful towns and villages which are all scattered around the National Park, as well as for its alluring valleys.

Personally, I love to visit places like Flatford Mill, which is a respected area of natural beauty known as ‘John Constable Country’ in Suffolk. John Constable was a famous English painter, who often liked to capture the dramatic scenery of Flatford Mill. There is also a place called Thetford Forest, which many visit to go on long, adventurous cycle trails, or long strolls through the forest park.

There is an endless list of places to visit in the English Countryside, some are hidden gems while others are well known National Parks.

Hidden Mountain Landscapes

Have you ever heard of the ‘Three Peak Challenge?’ Well here in the UK we have three high mountain peaks, Ben Nevis in Scotland, Snowdon in North Wales and Scafell Pike in the Lake District, Cumbria.The regions of Scotland, Wales and Cumbria are top travel destinations for adventure enthusiasts and scenery fanatics. Why? Well because they’re all far away from reality – they’re desolate and remote. If you’re a hiker or one of the above, you’ll be all to familiar with wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, and indulge instead in the unfamiliarity of the ‘great outdoors’.

Bear Grylls, a British writer, adventurer and TV presenter recently visited Snowdonia and crowned it as his ultimate adventure destination. He goes on to praise the Snowdonia National Park for its ‘bold terrain’ and its outdoor attractions as a ‘paradise’ for adrenaline seekers. The National Park boasts its splendor with access to underground caves, canyons for white water rafting, valleys and high velocity zip lining. The ultimate challenge in Snowdonia though of course, is to climb its highest mountain peak at 1,085m above sea level which stands tall over the town of Llanberis. Its possible to climb it in a few hours, but be warned that you probably should try to avoid climbing it in the winter months, unless you are an ultimate adrenaline junkie and can handle the snow blizzards and torrential rain.

Why travel to Scotland? Scotland’s familiar highland town of Fort William is also known as the outdoor capital of the UK. In Fort William you can go walking, hiking, sea kayaking, skiing, canoeing…the list is endless. The main tourist attraction in Fort William is Ben Nevis, at 1,345m and the highest mountain in the British Isles. Its known for its incredible steep uphill climb, but spectacular views once you reach the top, overlooking the town of Fort William as well as other highland peaks in the distance, sitting below the clouds.

The Lake District National Park in Cumbria is spread over an area of 2,293km. It is known for its rugged mountains, open view lakes and for its historical culture. Many are drawn to the town of Windermere, situated near the South Lakes – Windermere lake is the largest natural lake in England at 10.5 miles long! Scafell Pike mountain is situated in the small town of Scafell. Some describe the experience of walking Scafell Pike as ‘exhilarating, beautiful and breathtaking’.

Despite the hustle and bustle of city life that revolves around central London, the capital of England, there are many other reasons to visit the UK – for its luxurious mountain, countryside scenery and outdoor based activities.

Alone on a Mountaintop

We all come to a point at which we need solitude.

We need time to ourselves to indulge in the great spectacle of the outdoors. The act of living, as wonderful as it is, can be tiresome. No man or woman can function without a little solitude from time to time. So, how or where is the best place to spend quality ‘alone’ time, without the every day distractions of television, social media, social interaction and so on?

The best place for me personally is alone, on a mountaintop. If you travel often then this may not come as a surprise to you. But, some of you will be thinking that this is absurd. First of all, you will need to account for travel expenses and to take time out from your work or studies to be able to find a place that is surrounded by mountains in the first place, right? This is where problems tend to arise. We spend too much time worrying about how much money we have and if we can get the time off to travel and not allowing ourselves to consider its benefits on our physical and psychological well being. Don’t waste time. Just go for it.

I climbed Ben Nevis in Scotland once. I had spent months trying to persuade myself to go. The coach journey up to Scotland took just over eighteen hours. I remember awaking in the early hours on a Monday morning, with the sun rising over the highlands near Carlisle. It filled my soul with happiness. I was adamant that nothing could better this view. Until venturing through the twisted, turning roads of the Glencoe Mountain faces. I knew then that the eighteen hour, very cramped coach journey had all been worth it. The journey to the top of Ben Nevis was tough. Cliff faces, stony rocks, and long steep uphill gradients stood in my way.

I remember being tempted to turn back but as soon as I was struck by the view which tempted me to carry on. I was curious. There were many families, couples and groups of friends climbing too that day. The very top of Ben Nevis was covered in snow, it was at least -5 degrees and there was little to no view. On my way back down I had found a perfect spot to sit. I could see, at this point for miles over the horizon, the clouds sitting delicately on the hilltops.

I knew then that I had found solitude. I was happy and content. Don’t sit around waiting for this moment. Go out and grab it. Stop existing and start living.

11828790_1061731080505338_6594939591891194452_n

Ben Nevis, Scotland

Lake District Adventures

Just over a week ago me and Toni Bell took off on our adventure to the Lake District National Park. We had to sit through hours and hours of traffic but it was more than worth the wait. Having arrived by Ambleside at 08:30pm we found a perfect parking spot in the sidings of the road, put on our hiking boots and 65ltr backpacks and headed high up into the mountains. We took the Stickle Ghyll path leading up to Stickle Tarn mountain. It was a steady climb to begin with passing many waterfalls. We then began to lose site of the path altogether. Our next challenge was to tackle the steep climb with some assistance from stones/rocks along the way.

IMAG2398[1]

Stickle Ghyll path, South Lakes

Two hours later and we arrived at the top of Stickle Tarn mountain, pitched up our tent and sat watching the sunset. Now, this is the most rewarding part…being able to admire the view for hours on end, no cares or worries and more importantly, no access to reality. Follow the road less travelled and you will never be disappointed. The following day we awoke early (06:00am), munched on a healthy, nutritious cereal bar and put away the tent, ready to head out for the day and go explore more of the mountain. We had overcome our fear that the outer tent layer had blown away in the course of night and thankfully, we were still on solid ground.

We trekked for an hour or so until we reached a crossing which led us even higher up into the mountains. We tested ourselves, mentally and physically struggling up past the halfway point. At times we were having to pull ourselves up using the rocks as a platform, throwing our backpacks up so we did not risk losing our balance and falling back down again. The views again, were spectacular. So spectacular that even these photos simply do not do it enough justice!

IMAG2412[1]

Stickle Tarn mountain

Our toughest challenge was to walk along the path less travelled with our backpacks and the rain falling heavily down on us. We had to risk tumbling down the mountain which acquired great skill. But when you face obstacles/challenges you have to face them HEAD ON. It is now 1pm in the afternoon and we have to find a way back to camp at the peak of Stickle Tarn. The only way is down, so we step carefully on a steep gradient with nothing but long blades of grass to steady ourselves. I come up with a new technique; the sliding elegantly down the mountain technique. Its muddy and wet and our knees are beginning to give way. If anybody thinks hiking is easy then they are wrong but if you are passionate about something you will persevere until the end. The waterfall runs alongside us generating power by the second. We follow it down using rocks to support our fall. Eventually we make it down and all is well again.We pass a group of hikers on the way back to camp who ask us on the conditions of the trail up ahead and we laugh and say “there is no trail” to which they look at us with much concern and carry on. By the time we get back to camp our knees are shaking and we are in serious need of a sugar boost.

If you are looking for adventure then take the path less travelled. It will be so worth it!