Video: Massive Glacier Collapse in Greenland

Ever wondered what a massive glacier collapse looked like? Wonder no more. A team from the Chasing Ice project were in Greenland when they caught the moment that an area of glacier the size of Manhattan disintegrated into the sea. Simply stunning.

This glacier has retreated more in 10 years than it did in the previous 100. Judging by this footage, it isn’t hard to appreciate that fact.

Everest clean up trek commemorates 60th anniversary of Hillary/Tenzing feat.

May 29th 1953 was a special day for Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay as they made history by stepping onto the worlds highest peak, Mt. Everest, for the first time.

To honour their accomplishments, Ace the Himalaya announces an 18-day Everest 60th Anniversary trek targeting arrival at Everest Base Camp on May 29th. Here they will have a two-night stay, while a service project to clean up the area will be accomplished along with enjoying an anniversary dinner celebration with Everest climbers. On the very auspicious day Ace has also planned for a special surprise gift to those who were born on the same day (more info here).

The trip begins and ends in Kathmandu along the following route: Kathmandu-Lukla-Namche Bazaar-Tengboche-Lobuche-Gorak Shep-Everest Base Camp-Kalapatthar-Lukla-Kathmandu.

Guests experience high-altitude trekking four to six hours daily. Ace say 100 percent of the money from this project stays in Nepal through the locally owned company leading the tour.

Hired porters and yaks will bring the garbage down to Namche bazaar where it will then be handed over to a Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC).

Prem K. Khatry, managing director of the company, explained that the base camp has become much polluted because of the thousands of annual visitors.

The ultimate joys of our Everest base camp trek are the breathtaking mountain panoramas, so its our duty to conserve its beauty and help keep it pollution free. If you like to trek and be a part of this important mission, this will be one of the most inspiring ways to get involved, he said.

The per person rate of $1,450 includes airport/hotel transfers, twin shared accommodation (in Kathmandu) for four nights with breakfast, guided city tour, sightseeing/monument entrance fees, lodge/guesthouse accommodation during the trek, all needed camping equipment, tented camp at Everest base camp for two nights with full board meals and hot drinks, local Ace the Himalaya licensed English speaking guide, local staff and porters for carrying luggage, all the required equipments (bags, baskets, gloves) to collect the garbage, yaks to carry the collected refuse from Base Camp down to Namche, food, accommodation, salary, insurance, equipment and medicine for all staff, down jacket and sleeping bag for use during trek, airfare from Kathmandu Lukla – Kathmandu including airport departure tax in Kathmandu and Lukla airport, surface transfer from and to Kathmandu, special 60th anniversary Celebration dinner, farewell dinner with culture show in typical Nepali restaurant, all government taxes, VAT, tourist service charges, and official expenses.

Ace the Himalaya works closely with and is one of the main supporters of Sambhav Nepal Foundation, a non-political and non-profit social organization. Ace the Himalaya contributions support the remote village of Arupokhari (Gorkha, Nepal) through donations, sponsorships and partnerships in a wide range of projects.

For more information, to see their other treks including Everest and Annapurna, and make reservations enquire direct to Ace from this page.

You can also check out more treks in Nepal, Everest treks and Annapurna treks from local and independent operators.

Paragliding off Kilimanjaro to raise 1 million dollars

Whilst many are looking for the next big adventure, the next record to be broken or the most almost-imaginative-stunt (Austrian extreme athlete Felix Baumgartners 24-mile skydive from high in the stratosphere being one of them) a real world first was recently launched in London and is also a truly international event, for a great cause.

Female Adventurer Squash Falconer, who summitted Everest last year and has ridden a motorbike from the UK to Mont Blanc, climbed it, then paraglided off it, is joining a team of around 200 adventurers, including Commissioner of Police for the City of London Adrian Leppard and 1,000 porters from around the world to climb the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, before paragliding down from its 5895 metre peak on January 29, 2013.

The plan is to donate 100% of monies raised to support 3 charities, “One Foundation”, “Plant with Purpose” and World Serve International. These organisations are undertaking groundbreaking work in Tanzaniato address the severe problems of poverty in rural communities, deforestation and humanitarian issues including clean drinking water, HIV, nutrition and sanitation. They hope to raise at least 1 Million USD.

The challenge is the vision of Australian paraglider, Adrian McRae. Adrian spent two years negotiating with the Tanzanian government for a once-in-a-lifetime permit allowing a team of paragliders from around the world to launch off the peaks of Mt Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain on the planet.

Wings of Kilimanjaro has already secured support from adventurers in over 60 countries from Peru to Russia who will begin their climb on 29 January 2013.If you want to support you can climb as a spectator, or fly with a professional flyer. The minimum to raise is just $5000 US.

Find out more at http://wingsofkilimanjaro.com and http://squashfalconer.com

Fancy climbing Kilimajaro and other charity treks? Check out the muchbetter options.

Written by Katy Dartford

Main image (Squash Falconer in action) credit David Spurdens.

What to Look for in your Kilimanajro Climb Tour Operator

When you think of Kilimanjaro you may think that you havent aptitude to climb to the dizzying summit of 5895 metres above sea level.

You are wrong! Of course you need a reasonable fitness level but its the planning that you do before hand that makes all the difference between a successful and non successful climb. Choosing the right Kilimanjaro climb provider is essential.

Here are the 5 essential tips; The dos and donts:

The Price Is Right.

It is difficult to give the exact prices you may face when booking a tour provider due to the amount of variables that affect your climb e.g. where you start, the climb route you chose and the size of your group. But, the right provider wont try to buy you in with too-good-to-be-true cheap prices and wont hide any fees such as national park fees or airline charges always read the small print and don’t sell out.

The 3 Rs: Reputation. Responsibility. Reliability.

There is one more R that rounds these 3 of: research. Its imperative to do your background research before booking your Kilimanjaro climb. Make sure you have read traveller reviews, been in contact with the tour operators and know their Ts & Cs.

Can I see your identification please?

There would be nothing worse than spending your hard earned money on a tour provider whose tour leaders are not qualified. Check and check again that the leaders are qualified and know their way to the top, safely.

Many companies send locals up who may be able to get to the top but who have no concern for their group i.e. you.

Every step of the way

A Kilimanjaro climb should not be taken lightly, support is crucial to ensuring a successful, enjoyably trip. Some tour providers dont make contact with you until you are there and ready to take on the 5895metres of mountain.

Others, however, give expert Kilimanjaro advice constantly as soon as you sign up, such as comprehensive kit lists and vital information about your Kilimanjaro climb.

In sickness and in health

Dont say I do to a tour provider if they do not offer a medical service in their packages. With extreme factors working against you on Kilimanjaro having a medical expert will make your climb far more relaxing as you know help is always right beside you and not 5895 metres below, or in some cases non-existent.

Dont be fooled however, some companies may imply they offer a medical service but unless they can prove this with medical certificates dont sign on. There are hundreds of tour operators advertising the Kilimanjaro experience but very few are trustworthy.

Do your research otherwise the tour providers may become more dangerous than the climb itself!

Are you considering a trip to Kilimanjaro? Click here for a list of great local and muchbetter operators to contact direct.

How To Minimise Your Trekking Footprint

How to Trek With Less Impact
6 Steps to Minimising Your Trekking Footstep in the Mountains
Trekking is an excellent way to discover nature and explore the wild, natural wilderness that we are so privileged to experience. Follow these six simple steps next time youre hiking in the mountains to minimise your environmental impact and trek more responsibly.
1. Take Nothing But Photos, Leave Nothing But Footprints
Is this a clich and one which youve probably heard before? You bet. But, this is something without a doubt that we should practice and adhere to.
Trekking usually means getting beyond the infrastructure of modern life and exploring an area or region with an extremely fragile ecological environment. The flora and fauna that grow in these (often harsh) elements can take over a decade to grow just a few centimetres. Absentmindedly picking a wild flower because you think its pretty or taking a unique stone for your memories can easily cause irreversible damage.
2. Reuse Your Water Bottle
Plastic water bottles (easily available to buy) are not only devastating to the environment but are an absolute eyesore littered among the trails. When trekking, carry a water filter, or water purification tablets like Chlorine and Iodine to make your water safe to drink.
Water refilling stations, providing safe drinking water are also becoming more frequent along trekkers routes and alternatively you can always ask for your guesthouse to boil water for you.
3. Take Out What You Take In (And Also What Others Leave Behind)
Remote trekking regions often lack a sufficient and sustainable method to remove excess rubbish from these areas and in many instances it is simply burned, buried or left untouched on the ground.
While most would never even consider dropping a chocolate bar wrapper onto the ground, there are still some (a small minority!) who do this. Other less obvious bits of rubbish can end up on the trail too, like cigarettes or orange and banana peels which although biodegradable, still take a long time to break down.
Take out everything you brought in and take the time (even just 5 minutes) to clear any trash from the trail left by others.
4. Dont Use the Firewood!
Bring in an alternative fuel supply with you or stay in guesthouses that do not use firewood to heat the building or cook with. In tough mountain conditions (especially above the treeline and in the alpine) wood is a scarce and precious resource. Using it is unnecessary and will only further damage the surrounding environment.
5. Keep Water Sources Clean!
Rivers and streams found along the way may look like an inviting way to bathe, wash your laundry or clean dirty dishes and equipment, but often it is the only source of reliable drinking water in the area for local villagers, farm animals and wildlife.
Avoid contamination by using portable or collapsible water containers so that you can do these tasks well away from the fresh water source at least 50 metres!
Use further discretion when it comes to going to the toilet and ensure that you are at least 100 metres from the water. Dirty water and waste filtering through the soil is one of the quickest ways for rivers to become contaminated.
6. Stick to the Trails
While it may seem more adventurous to deter from the trail or quicker to take a shortcut, shedding the path can do irreversible damage. Getting off the beaten track can create erosion to the surrounding soil and long-term damage to a fragile environment.
Article By: Sarah Allard, Co-Founder, Lost Earth Adventures

Trekking is an excellent way to discover nature and explore the wild, natural wilderness that we are so privileged to experience. Follow these six simple steps next time youre hiking in the mountains to minimise your environmental impact and trek more responsibly.

1. Take Nothing But Photos, Leave Nothing But FootprintsIs this a clich and one which youve probably heard before? You bet. But, this is something without a doubt that we should practice and adhere to.

Trekking usually means getting beyond the infrastructure of modern life and exploring an area or region with an extremely fragile ecological environment. The flora and fauna that grow in these (often harsh) elements can take over a decade to grow just a few centimetres. Absentmindedly picking a wild flower because you think its pretty or taking a unique stone for your memories can easily cause irreversible damage.

2. Reuse Your Water BottlePlastic water bottles (easily available to buy) are not only devastating to the environment but are an absolute eyesore littered among the trails. When trekking, carry a water filter, or water purification tablets like Chlorine and Iodine to make your water safe to drink.

Water refilling stations, providing safe drinking water are also becoming more frequent along trekkers routes and alternatively you can always ask for your guesthouse to boil water for you.

3. Take Out What You Take In (And Also What Others Leave Behind)Remote trekking regions often lack a sufficient and sustainable method to remove excess rubbish from these areas and in many instances it is simply burned, buried or left untouched on the ground.

While most would never even consider dropping a chocolate bar wrapper onto the ground, there are still some (a small minority!) who do this. Other less obvious bits of rubbish can end up on the trail too, like cigarettes or orange and banana peels which although biodegradable, still take a long time to break down.

Take out everything you brought in and take the time (even just 5 minutes) to clear any trash from the trail left by others.

4. Dont Use the Firewood!Bring in an alternative fuel supply with you or stay in guesthouses that do not use firewood to heat the building or cook with. In tough mountain conditions (especially above the treeline and in the alpine) wood is a scarce and precious resource. Using it is unnecessary and will only further damage the surrounding environment.

5. Keep Water Sources Clean!Rivers and streams found along the way may look like an inviting way to bathe, wash your laundry or clean dirty dishes and equipment, but often it is the only source of reliable drinking water in the area for local villagers, farm animals and wildlife.Avoid contamination by using portable or collapsible water containers so that you can do these tasks well away from the fresh water source at least 50 metres!

Use further discretion when it comes to going to the toilet and ensure that you are at least 100 metres from the water. Dirty water and waste filtering through the soil is one of the quickest ways for rivers to become contaminated.

6. Stick to the TrailsWhile it may seem more adventurous to deter from the trail or quicker to take a shortcut, shedding the path can do irreversible damage. Getting off the beaten track can create erosion to the surrounding soil and long-term damage to a fragile environment.

Article By: Sarah Allard, Co-Founder, Lost Earth Adventures

Find out more about them here.

Alpkit Big Shakeout coming soon…

Alpkit’s Big Shakeout is back again for another year, bringing together as many aspects of the outdoors as possible – walking, trekking, climbing, biking, music fun and games (and plenty of food).

The Big Shakeout is happening on the 12th to 14th October at Thornbridge Outdoors in Great Longstone in the Peak District.

As per last year, there’s a full series of events and activities going on, from MTB skills tuition for kids, lectures from adventurous people, circus skills, and local walks and rides.

Alpkit are also running their School of Adventure courses, delving a little deeper into a range of outdoor skills, such as rope safety and management, MTB photography, bushcraft and whitewater kayaking.

If all that adventure tires you out, there’s plenty of opportunities to grab food, beer and live music too.

The Big Shakeout is being run by Alpkit in association with Thornbridge Outdoors and River Legacy.

You can buy your weekend pass here – 45 for adults, 20 for under 16s and free for the under 3s.

Check out the video from last year’s event!

The Alpkit Big Shakeout 2011 from Land and Sky Media on Vimeo.

Midweek Mountain Adventures

I am engaged in an endless custody battle for the rights to my soul. The (actually rather nice) company that pays my wages has my soul from Monday to Friday and I get access to it at the weekends. Sometimes we even get to spend holidays together. This current arrangement has been in place for quite some time, my employer and I both know where we stand and we try not to bicker (especially in front of my soul). Pretty much everyone I know considers their very similar arrangements to be normal and, although we all like a little grumble about it from time to time, it is generally accepted that proper, soul satisfying, fun and adventure is confined to the weekend.

Over the years I have been purposefully and unintentionally benighted on top of Scottish mountains, always at the weekend or whilst on holiday. Nothing beats a sunrise viewed from a high and empty place, where you literally wake up to adventure – no traffic, no sorting out kit and definitely no last minute jobs that need to be done before you can set off. Just open your eyes and you are already there.

After an unforgettable night on a snow covered Ben Donich in April, Anna and I decided to head back to the Arrochar Alps for another summit wild camp. However a lack of free weekends meant that a trip was not likely to happen before October. We were both disappointed that no amount of calendar juggling would give us the time we needed for the trip. The Arrochar Alps are a group of mountains near Loch Long and Loch Fyne, just a ninety minute drive from my office in Glasgow, which begged the question – why not just head up after work and then make our way straight back to the office the following morning? It seemed almost too obvious and straight forward, why had we not done this before?

With Glasgow desperately trying to beat its own Wettest Summer record, we left the city in torrential rain at around 5pm on a miserable Monday evening. Having already packed our kit and loaded up the car we were able to get straight on the road and arrived in Succoth at around 7pm (a little later than expected thanks to the traffic). Our original plan had been to climb Ben Donich, however yet another landslide at Rest-and-be-Thankful (the access route to the mountain) forced us to reconsider. We opted instead for the more famous peak of the Arrochar Alps, The Cobbler, despite it being a significantly more challenging proposition for a summit camp than Ben Donich.

Although it was not raining in Succoth as we put on our packs, the weather hanging over the numerous summits of the Arrochar Alps looked like it had rolled in from a miserable day in November. We had optimistically packed bivvy bags (on the basis that lightweight adventurers are fast adventurers and it would also save the time of pitching and striking a tent), however the thought of a long night on the rocky summit in bad weather made me strap my 4.5kg Super Quasar tent to my pack at the last minute.

The route up The Cobbler from Succoth starts at sea level, with the first 1,000ft being along a well maintained (but rather laborious and uninteresting) set of switchbacks through a muggy forest. After reaching the main access path which runs between The Cobbler, Beinn Narnain and Beinn Ime our optimism took a little nose dive as The Cobbler should have come into view. The cloud, and now rain, was obscuring the entire mountain. Tired after the first lung bursting 1,000ft, we now had the challenge of scrambling up The Cobbler in poor visibility, with heavy packs and on wet rock.

The route finding presented no issues, even in such poor weather, however the combination of being laden on wet, mica schist rock was making progress on the scramble to the summit tiring, slow and a little risky.

Eventually topping out at 2,900ft on the centre summit (with its infamous needle) at 10pm, we were relieved at being able to remove the packs and slightly apprehensive about whether we would find a suitable site to pitch the tent in the thick soup of cloud surrounding us. After darting off to the North and South summits to scout for potential sites, I returned unable to find the perfect pitch and we decided to set up camp right where we had dumped the packs, beside the needle at the centre summit. Finding a small patch of grass with sheer drops on all sides, we quickly pitched the tent in the fading daylight, had some hot chilli and settled down for the night. There was no beautiful sunset, no amazing views, no sitting around glowing with a sense of adventure. It was cold and wet, we just wanted to get some sleep!

Sleep, like the good weather, was another thing which evaded me on this trip. I spent most of the time between 11pm and 4.30am trying to decide how to get down if the weather remained poor. The path off the North summit was likely to be the safest, but would add on almost an hour to our total time. Descending the way we had come up would be treacherous in the low light, poor visibility and wet. The route off the South summit was by far the most direct, however it was also the route with which I was least familiar. I was well aware of the fantastic (and bold) climbing at the South summit, however that was not a great indication of safe conditions underfoot for two tired adventurers with heavy packs.

There was no need for my alarm to sound at 4.30am, I had not slept a wink. Anna did manage a reasonable sleep, however as she tentatively edged out of her sleeping bag, I already knew what her first question would be Is the weather still as bad? Unfortunately, it was exactly the same as when I zipped up the tent a few hours before, horrible! Keen to get moving, we struck the tent and as Anna packed the last of our things I ran off to check the initial section of the South summit to find a safe route off the mountain. After quickly down climbing the first couple of hundred feet, I decided it was safe enough and returned to collect my pack and Anna. We began to make a slow and careful descent through the cloud.

Finally clearing the base of the cloud at around 2,000ft, we were presented with our first sighting of, well, anything since the day before. The stunning sunrise over Loch Long, Ben Lomond and beyond gave us the injection of optimism which we were in need of. With a new found spring in our steps we admired the new day breaking around us and looked back with a muted sense of satisfaction at our gloomy camp site atop The Cobbler.

Reaching the car at 7am (much later than we had hoped) we immediately set off towards Glasgow and my office, weary from the descent and lack of sleep. The drive back was in fine weather and it was hard to imagine that we had been perched up on The Cobbler just a few hours before. We reached my office at 8.30am and after a quick shower I was suited and ready for work at around 9am.

It was at this point I was able to answer the question which I had asked myself at the beginning of this adventure…is it possible to mix mountain adventures and the working week? Technically yes, however I certainly did not feel like I had got the balance right, I was absolutely exhausted (mainly from lack of sleep). Would I do it again? Absolutely, although a bit of decent weather and a few sleeping tablets would certainly be welcome!

After failing to attain high enough grades to become an astronaut and unable to grow a beard thick enough to be a world famous mountaineer, Steven chose a career in law, which gives him enough free time (compared to being in space) to indulge in his love for all things mountainous and wild.

Rock climbing, mountain biking, snowboarding, hiking and wild camping on summits, Steven offers an alternative view on the world of adventure, where you don’t have to be soloing El Capitan, bivvying on Everest or snowboarding down The Eiger in order to have fun as an Adventurer.

You can follow what Steven gets up to atThe Amateur Adventures of a Professional.

5 Pieces of Essential Bivvy Kit

Bivvying seems to be the up and coming way of spending the night in the wild. No longer the activity of just army guys and rugged mountaineers, more and more people are experiencing the delight of camping under the stars, and not having to carry a weighty tent!
Heres 5 pieces of essential kit to make your night as comfortable as possible…
Bivvy bag
Ok, start with the obvious one! Generally there are 2 types the simple bag, with an open face (such as an Alpkit Hunka) and the more complex (but slightly more weather/bug proof) hooped bags.
You want to make sure your bag is as waterproof and breathable as possible, so look for goretex and the like.
My experience of the Hunka is that its really rather good, so well recommended.
Tarp
A simple sheet of waterproof material can make the difference between a comfortable night and one filled with misery.
Tarps can protect your head and kit from the rain, offer some wind protection, and can also help disguise you a little, if you want to stay hidden. Lighter tarps are obviously a benefit, as theres less to carry, but make sure the waterproof-ness is up there too, as you dont want drips in the night!
If you can get creative with mounting options, theres no need to take along a pole. My last bivvy, for example, used our 2 upturned bikes as anchor points for 2 corners, and 2 tent pegs held the other 2 down to the ground enough shelter for ourselves and our bag under there!
Head torch
Bivvying makes wild-camping so much easier light weight, quick and flexible. Many people choose to set up camp late to avoid prying eyes, and so a head torch is the ideal tool to make sure you can see what youre up to. By mounting it on your head, and not in your hands, youve got 2 hands free to make camp, cook, read your book and have a sip from your hip-flask!
Sleeping mat and sleeping bag
2 staples of the happy camper! Youll need to check your mat fits inside your bag, or be happy enough for it to lie underneath there doesnt seem to be a consensus on this. I tend to use inflatable mats in the bag, but foam ones underneath. Inflatable mats are generally a bit warmer, and pack up a bit smaller, however regular foam ones are fine too, and certainly a lot cheaper! Dont forget you can trim a foam mat to make it more portable.
The type of sleeping bag you use depends on when you want to use it. A simple 1 season may be enough in the summer, but youll need something more substantial in cooler months. Tents offer a little extra weather protection, so you may want to choose something a bit warmer.
Theres always a risk of getting sleeping bags wet, and certainly more so if bivvying, so if I were to choose a bag purely based on bivvying, I might look at a synthetic one over down, as they perform better if they get wet.
Hip flask!
Because your tipple of choice is a wonderful thing when sleeping under the stars!

Bivvying seems to be the up and coming way of spending the night in the wild. No longer the activity of just army guys and rugged mountaineers, more and more people are experiencing the delight of camping under the stars, and not having to carry a weighty tent!

Heres 5 pieces of essential kit to make your night as comfortable as possible…

Bivvy bag

Ok, start with the obvious one! Generally there are 2 types the simple bag, with an open face (such as an Alpkit Hunka) and the more complex (but slightly more weather/bug proof) hooped bags.

You want to make sure your bag is as waterproof and breathable as possible, so look for goretex and the like.

My experience of the Hunka is that its really rather good, so well recommended.

Tarp

A simple sheet of waterproof material can make the difference between a comfortable night and one filled with misery.

Tarps can protect your head and kit from the rain, offer some wind protection, and can also help disguise you a little, if you want to stay hidden. Lighter tarps are obviously a benefit, as theres less to carry, but make sure the waterproof-ness is up there too, as you dont want drips in the night!

If you can get creative with mounting options, theres no need to take along a pole. My last bivvy, for example, used our 2 upturned bikes as anchor points for 2 corners, and 2 tent pegs held the other 2 down to the ground enough shelter for ourselves and our bag under there!

Head torch

Bivvying makes wild-camping so much easier light weight, quick and flexible. Many people choose to set up camp late to avoid prying eyes, and so a head torch is the ideal tool to make sure you can see what youre up to. By mounting it on your head, and not in your hands, youve got 2 hands free to make camp, cook, read your book and have a sip from your hip-flask!

Sleeping mat and sleeping bag

2 staples of the happy camper! Youll need to check your mat fits inside your bag, or be happy enough for it to lie underneath there doesnt seem to be a consensus on this. I tend to use inflatable mats in the bag, but foam ones underneath. Inflatable mats are generally a bit warmer, and pack up a bit smaller, however regular foam ones are fine too, and certainly a lot cheaper! Dont forget you can trim a foam mat to make it more portable.

The type of sleeping bag you use depends on when you want to use it. A simple 1 season may be enough in the summer, but youll need something more substantial in cooler months. Tents offer a little extra weather protection, so you may want to choose something a bit warmer.

Theres always a risk of getting sleeping bags wet, and certainly more so if bivvying, so if I were to choose a bag purely based on bivvying, I might look at a synthetic one over down, as they perform better if they get wet.

Hip flask!

Because your tipple of choice is a wonderful thing when sleeping under the stars!

Bivvying is a great way of getting away on the cheap – these guys can also help in finding a cheap holiday.

Leave no trace

Yesterday morning I ran out of town, into the woods, and down a muddy path, only to find my route blocked by a large pile of illegally dumped waste. The attractive views of the great outdoors had been marred by fly-tipping.

This was an extreme example of inconsiderate littering, but it is not just the criminal rubbish dumpers that are to blame for the impact of waste on the natural environment. Outdoor adventure enthusiasts also need to remember to take responsibility for their own rubbish and heed the old adage, leave no trace.

Litter has become a big problem in some of the most popular beauty spots and as well as being an eyesore, can have serious consequences for wildlife.

Bottles, cans and plastic packaging can prove hazardous to birds and animals, but an abundance of human waste and readily available food can lead to a familiarity that skews the relationship between man and beast. This might just lead to the local wildlife becoming a nuisance, such as the seagulls that harass small children eating ice creams in coastal resort towns. However, it can also lead to the local wildlife becoming a serious threat, such as when a bear strolls into an urban area on the hunt for a bite to eat.

In these situations it is vital that people are made aware of just how significant an impact seemingly small actions can have. Education campaigns can work to reduce the amount of waste that is left in the first place, but they can also be effective in recruiting groups of volunteers willing to give up their time to care for the areas they so enjoy.

The water-users campaign group, Surfers Against Sewage coordinate an annual, nationwide beach clean to remove the staggering volumes of waste that wash up on our shores. Marine litter can travel the oceans for decades and at one of this years beach cleans the volunteers even unearthed, amongst tonnes of more recent waste, a crisp packet from the 1960s.

In North Wales the Snowdonia Society organises regular clean up operations and has even reported bringing nappies, barbecues, and champagne bottles back down the mountain. These items clearly should never have been left on the side of Wales highest peak, but even orange peels and banana skins can take a couple of years to biodegrade.

I enjoy taking part in off-road trail running races, but it always pains me to see a fellow competitor casually discard a carbohydrate gel wrapper. These individuals are in the minority, but they risk ruining things for the majority as landowners will be understandably reluctant to grant permission for future events to those groups they consider to be damaging to the environment.

The problem is even worse on mountains that require a great deal more effort and equipment to scale. Everest may be the worlds highest mountain, but it is becoming so popular that the amount of waste produced is now a big problem. It is common for expeditions to leave tents, gas canisters, oxygen bottles, utensils, and electronic equipment. Not to mention human waste and, sadly, bodies. Thanks to global warming and receding snow levels waste from the very first expeditions is coming back to the surface.

In the case of Everest, and similar mountains, the dilemma is a tricky one. Undoubtedly climbers and expedition organisers have a responsibility towards their environment, but they have to balance it with the perhaps greater responsibility towards those around them. Being able to climb unencumbered may not just make the difference between summiting and a failed expedition, but it may also make the difference between a safe attempt and a fatal one.

So when youre enjoying a hard earned banana and admiring the view over some stunning vista, please consider the natural world around you and leave things just as you would hope to find it yourself.

Written by Jonathan Bean, of Ethical Athlete, for Much Better Adventures.

The African Travel Checklist

Heading out to explore the vast African wilderness is, I think, quite a polarizing idea amongst a lot of people. On the one hand, its something that a lot of people dream about, venturing to the birthplace of humanity itself. On the other, lots of people are put off by the number of things to worry about. What vaccinations do you need? Is your destination safe? What local customs do you need to understand to get by? What will the conditions be like? Whichever side of the fence youre on, heres a list weve compiled to try and make the whole process of beginning your African adventure as straightforward and painless as possible!

Health

Your health is obviously going to be a priority whenever you travel anywhere, and nobody is going to be surprised to hear that there are some precautions youll need to take before visiting Africa. You should make sure to book an appointment with your doctor at least one month before your departure. This will allow you to discuss the pending vaccinations as well as any other health related queries you might have. Again, make sure you do this with plenty of time to spare, because the vaccinations typically need to be administered a while before you depart so that they have time to take full effect.

Also make sure that you get hold of some Malaria tablets and follow the recommended dosage to the letter. Your doctor will clarify this issue for you. If youre travelling between different countries in Africa it might be pertinent to take a vaccination for Yellow Fever, too, as some require a certificate to allow entry from one country to another.

Clothes

Make sure that you pack for every possible scenario. Just because you are heading to Africa doesnt mean that there will be sun throughout your trip. If youre heading out on a Safari or a climb up Kilimanjaro you will need to purchase and bring clothing and footwear that suits these types of trips. Make sure that you always bring some sort of hat because the heat of the sun in Africa can be excruciating, and sunstroke and heavy burning can set in before youve even had a chance to notice it. If you have an area of your body where you dont have sunscreen you need to make sure that it is covered up at all times to avoid sunburn. We all know that nothing ruins a holiday like spending the whole time in pain and peeling!

Safari Preparations

Heading out on a Safari is a once in a lifetime experience but you will need to take several things into consideration. First and foremost you need to bring clothes with a very bland colour. This is so that they will not attract the attention of the animals around you. Beige is always a winner and a light shade of brown always works well. Bring your hat for sun protection and wear long sleeves and pants to protect yourself from both the sun and mosquitoes. In all this preparation, dont forget the most important thing of all; your camera! You will see some amazing animals and scenery on a safari so make sure you take plenty of batteries (and film, if youve decided not to go digital) and snap some really amazing pictures!

Security and Safety

Even though Africa is a wonderful place you need to consider your own safety and security. If possible you should avoid driving where possible in most African countries. The roads are usually a lot poorer than what you will be used to at home and the laws arent followed as strictly. There are usually a lot of older cars maintained to quite low safety standards on the roads, so it can be a bit of a gauntlet.

You also need to know that you are heading into potential Third World countries where the standard of living can be very low. That is why you need to keep your money close to your heart and dont flaunt your wealth. As with any tourist destination, there will be unscrupulous thieves looking to swipe a handbag, camera, or whatever else is on offer. Most importantly, keep your passport somewhere where theres no way it can be taken from you without you noticing. In order to minimize any risk, make sure you have an extra wallet with your credit card and the majority of your cash for emergencies. Only have a small amount of money in your primary wallet since this wont attract the same amount of attention from potential thieves.

Respect

Always make sure that you are respectful to the locals and their property. Keep in mind that you are a guest and that you are visiting on their terms, not yours. Be polite to staff, government officials and most importantly the Police. If you feel insecure in a situation, it is better to move away and get back to an area where you feel safe rather than confronting people.

Cold as it might sound, you should also be wary about giving money to people asking for it. Helping out the less fortunate is, obviously, a noble gesture, but it might also draw attention to your wealth and cause you to be hassled somewhat by others.

So, still want to visit Africa? Of course you do! Any adventurous traveler should mark the continent down on their list of places to visit, and, hopefully, this list has made the whole thing just that little bit simpler. Just remember to keep your wits about you, exercise caution and common sense, and, most of all, enjoy your adventure!

This article was brought to you by the travel bloggers at Vroomvroomvroom.co.uk, bringing you car hire from all major English airports and around the UK.

Sophie’s muchbetter guide to Iceland

Why Iceland?
Of all the places I have visited as an adventure sports/travel journalist, nowhere has come close to touching me in the way Iceland has. Geographically positioned in the middle of nowhere just south of the Arctic circle, it is an isolated country yet one which is literally overflowing and not just with the lava from the volcanoes and steam from the geysers. This is a land literally full of energy, yet somehow it feels serene. Its people are friendly, innovative and creative yet capability and calmness oozes from their core. Here there is a feeling that anything is possible as long as you keep your feet on the ground, optimism founded in reality if you will. Sure you might become an international rock star but youll need to make sure you can drive a boat, kill a goat and build a shelter from a whale carcass..should the need ever present itself. The best time to experience Iceland is pretty much right now as it is currently more affordable than it has ever been.
Best skiing
A journey to Iceland is an adventure in itself but if you really want to get a feel for the place then head to the North part of the island. A plane ride from Reykjavik to Akureyi is just a 40 minute hop and more akin to getting on a bus than going to an airport 30 minute check in time, no security and a free cup of tea. Love it. The Troll Peninsula is where all the best ski touring is in Iceland, where 2,000m of heart pumping ascent is swiftly followed by a main of freshies in steep couloirs. Icelandic hospitality can mean hot tubs, massages, and beers for afters! The terrain here really is immense, endless and undiscovered and even towards the end of the season you can be part of the first group to ski tour one of the local valleys. Rewards for our efforts were considerable, Icelands super stable snowpack allowing for lap after lap of waist deep powder under calm, sunny skies. Dreamy yet true.
Best Town
If you only make it as far as Reykjavik, I wouldnt blame you. If you had to live in a city Reykjavik would be a wonderful choice with great coffee shops, top level restaurants, trendy boutiques, and lively bars on every corner, it really is a vibrant, creative and enormously fun place to hang out. If mainstream tourism is not really your thing and youd prefer to live like a local during your stay, then why not take an morning run along the waterfront with the locals, then fuel up on caffeine and cake at the bohemian Caf Babalu before heading over the road to get a Norse tattoo with the friendly and experienced artists at Kingdom Within Tattoo. Reyjkavik is special, you might as well mark the experience!
Wash down the pain with a few cocktails at your hotel bar before heading out for some good value and super tasty tapas at Tapas Barinn. Take note that whilst all the usual Spanish suspects are on the menu, you can always go for the Icelandic version and get involved with a bit of smoked puffin, a fillet of Icelandic foal, or a slice of minke whale with cranberry sauce!!
Best Day Adventures
Staying in Reykjavik is an adventure within itself but so is getting out and about. There are a plethora of outfitters offering visitors some adventurous day trips with a variety of options including rafting, glacier hiking, caving, ice climbing, whale watching, kayaking and snowmobiling the variety of operators have pretty much all adventurous bases covered. For a truly unique experience I highly recommend a snorkeling tour in the crystal clear, and impossibly blue waters of the Silfra canyon. Any concerns of the cold are kept at bay by the combination of a fab dry suit and the realization that you are swimming between the tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia a pretty unique opportunity to say the least!
Best Road Trip
If youre only on the island for a short break then the Golden Circle is probably the best known tourist route on the island. Starting in Reykjavik, this is a 300km loop which takes in Thingvellir National Park, the amazing Gullfoss waterfall and the Strokkur and Geysir geysers in the geothermally active valley of Haukadalur. This gives you a taster of the best of Iceland in one day but if you prefer the more organic and authentic approach, why not take Route 1 that runs around the entire country. Only finished in 1974 this 1,339 km ring road takes you through the towns of Reykjavik, Sellfoss, Hofn, Egilsstadir, Akureyri, Blonduos, and Borgarnes and through some of Icelands most extreme landscapes. Achievable in about 9 days, this is a great journey with amazing scenery and not a lot of people!
Something a bit different.
If you want to go somewhere truly off the beaten track then head to the very north west of the country to the Westfjords. With natural harbours, big mountains, fabulous cliffs and spectacular waterfalls, the Westfjords are one of Icelands most impressive hidden gems.
Check out our Flight Finder for cheap, low carbon flights to Iceland!

Why Iceland?

Of all the places I have visited as an adventure sports/travel journalist, nowhere has come close to touching me in the way Iceland has. Geographically positioned in the middle of nowhere just south of the Arctic circle, it is an isolated country yet one which is literally overflowing and not just with the lava from the volcanoes and steam from the geysers. This is a land literally full of energy, yet somehow it feels serene. Its people are friendly, innovative and creative yet capability and calmness oozes from their core. Here there is a feeling that anything is possible as long as you keep your feet on the ground, optimism founded in reality if you will. Sure you might become an international rock star but youll need to make sure you can drive a boat, kill a goat and build a shelter from a whale carcass..should the need ever present itself. The best time to experience Iceland is pretty much right now as it is currently more affordable than it has ever been.

Best skiing

A journey to Iceland is an adventure in itself but if you really want to get a feel for the place then head to the North part of the island. A plane ride from Reykjavik to Akureyi is just a 40 minute hop and more akin to getting on a bus than going to an airport 30 minute check in time, no security and a free cup of tea. Love it. The Troll Peninsula is where all the best ski touring is in Iceland, where 2,000m of heart pumping ascent is swiftly followed by a main of freshies in steep couloirs. Icelandic hospitality can mean hot tubs, massages, and beers for afters! The terrain here really is immense, endless and undiscovered and even towards the end of the season you can be part of the first group to ski tour one of the local valleys. Rewards for our efforts were considerable, Icelands super stable snowpack allowing for lap after lap of waist deep powder under calm, sunny skies. Dreamy yet true.

Best Town

If you only make it as far as Reykjavik, I wouldnt blame you. If you had to live in a city Reykjavik would be a wonderful choice with great coffee shops, top level restaurants, trendy boutiques, and lively bars on every corner, it really is a vibrant, creative and enormously fun place to hang out. If mainstream tourism is not really your thing and youd prefer to live like a local during your stay, then why not take an morning run along the waterfront with the locals, then fuel up on caffeine and cake at the bohemian Caf Babalu before heading over the road to get a Norse tattoo with the friendly and experienced artists at Kingdom Within Tattoo. Reyjkavik is special, you might as well mark the experience!

Wash down the pain with a few cocktails at your hotel bar before heading out for some good value and super tasty tapas at Tapas Barinn. Take note that whilst all the usual Spanish suspects are on the menu, you can always go for the Icelandic version and get involved with a bit of smoked puffin, a fillet of Icelandic foal, or a slice of minke whale with cranberry sauce!!

Best Day Adventures

Staying in Reykjavik is an adventure within itself but so is getting out and about. There are a plethora of outfitters offering visitors some adventurous day trips with a variety of options including rafting, glacier hiking, caving, ice climbing, whale watching, kayaking and snowmobiling the variety of operators have pretty much all adventurous bases covered. For a truly unique experience I highly recommend a snorkeling tour in the crystal clear, and impossibly blue waters of the Silfra canyon. Any concerns of the cold are kept at bay by the combination of a fab dry suit and the realization that you are swimming between the tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia a pretty unique opportunity to say the least!

Best Road Trip

If youre only on the island for a short break then the Golden Circle is probably the best known tourist route on the island. Starting in Reykjavik, this is a 300km loop which takes in Thingvellir National Park, the amazing Gullfoss waterfall and the Strokkur and Geysir geysers in the geothermally active valley of Haukadalur. This gives you a taster of the best of Iceland in one day but if you prefer the more organic and authentic approach, why not take Route 1 that runs around the entire country. Only finished in 1974 this 1,339 km ring road takes you through the towns of Reykjavik, Sellfoss, Hofn, Egilsstadir, Akureyri, Blonduos, and Borgarnes and through some of Icelands most extreme landscapes. Achievable in about 9 days, this is a great journey with amazing scenery and not a lot of people!

Something a bit different

If you want to go somewhere truly off the beaten track then head to the very north west of the country to the Westfjords. With natural harbours, big mountains, fabulous cliffs and spectacular waterfalls, the Westfjords are one of Icelands most impressive hidden gems.Check out our guide on cycling in Iceland here!

This article was written by Sophie – check out her profile and other articles!

5 Mandatory Pit Stops Across the Jurassic Coast

With Summer 2012 just ahead, its about time to start planning your next holidays. And if youre looking for a chance to explore Her Majestys lands, why not head down south to the Jurassic Coast? In case youre wondering what the deal is, heres a clue: its nothing to do with dinosaurs!
Since 2001, the “Jurassic Coast” is the official designation of a stretch of coast facing the English Channel. Spanning nearly 100 miles (from East Devon to East Dorset), it’s one of the few designated World Heritage Sites in the UK. Whether you’re a British or a foreigner, it’s worth taking your time to traverse this scenic route; this article will highlight the most interesting towns you’ll come across.
Exmouth
Photo Credit – http://www.flickr.com/photos/saras2uk/4487689829/
This is widely regarded as the Western end of the Jurassic coast, and its a great place to start this adventure! Exmouth is a port town and seaside resort located on the eastern bank of river Exes mouth, featuring plenty of access routes and transportation networks; which means you shouldnt have trouble getting there no matter from where you come.
Once youre here, you might as well take some time to explore the town. There are plenty of historical monuments and landmarks worth checking out. Ask the locals for the A La Ronde and The Barn, if you feel like exploring your surroundings. When youre ready to begin your journey, its 18 miles until the next stop in this itinerary.
Beer, Devon
Photo Credit – http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/628932
What better place to pursue a Summer adventure than a place called Beer? Granted, the name of this village is not derived from the beverage but rather from an ancient term referring to the dense forestation in this area. Still, if youd like to explore what used to be a smugglers cave, this is a great place to visit!
One of the main touristic attractions in this village is a huge complex of man-made tunnels called the Beer Quarry Caves. This site (located on the outskirts of Beer) has long served as the main national source of Beer stone, a special type of limestone that has been used to build many monuments over the years, as well as for sculpting purposes.
Charmouth
Photo credit – http://www.flickr.com/photos/30302870@N08/3106053278/sizes/z/in/photostream/
Just 11 miles to the west of Beer, youll come across another charming village worth visiting: Charmouth. This peaceful village was built around the mouth of River Char, and it’s notable for its quiet and whimsical sceneries, which are known to have inspired the likes of Jane Austen.
There are some lovely beaches in the area, and in the cliffs above some of those beaches theres a rather unique highlight: abundant remnants from the Jurassic period, which are constantly scoured by geologists and fossil enthusiasts (be wary while exploring those rocks though, as they are often slippery and subject to flooding tides).
Isle of Portland
Photo credit – http://www.flickr.com/photos/marilynjane/401006732/sizes/z/in/photostream/
Another 29 miles westbound off Charmouth, and youll get to the next stop in this journey of Jurassic Coast exploration: the Isle of Portland. This cheerful island is actually land-tied, meaning you can walk to it from the coast, through a tiny deposition landform called a tombolo.
There are many interesting things to see in the Isle of Portland, especially if youre interested in architecture. But one of the most striking attractions here is the Portland Harbour, which remains to date one of the largest harbours ever built by man.
Swanage
Photo credit – http://www.flickr.com/photos/herry/2640685250/sizes/z/in/photostream/
33 miles further to the west along the Jurassic Coast, and you’ll get to Swanage – once a small fishing village, now an attractive tourist resort. This is a great place to relax and bask in the sun, but there are also plenty of interesting monuments and buildings left over from the Victorian era, during which time Swanage was a highly sought after seaside holiday destination for the affluent.
Presently, there are also plenty of festivals and events taking place around the year – the highlight being the week-long carnival celebrations, which includes plenty of masquerades, balls and parades. This colorful celebration encompasses the week before lent, and its well worth checking out.
This guest post was brought to you by UkHolidayPlaces.co.uk, a leading source for holiday accommodation across the UK.

With Summer 2012 just ahead, its about time to start planning your next holidays. And if youre looking for a chance to explore Her Majestys lands, why not head down south to the Jurassic Coast? In case youre wondering what the deal is, heres a clue: its nothing to do with dinosaurs!

Since 2001, the “Jurassic Coast” is the official designation of a stretch of coast facing the English Channel. Spanning nearly 100 miles (from East Devon to East Dorset), it’s one of the few designated World Heritage Sites in the UK. Whether you’re a British or a foreigner, it’s worth taking your time to traverse this scenic route; this article will highlight the most interesting towns you’ll come across.

Exmouth

This is widely regarded as the Western end of the Jurassic coast, and its a great place to start this adventure! Exmouth is a port town and seaside resort located on the eastern bank of river Exes mouth, featuring plenty of access routes and transportation networks; which means you shouldnt have trouble getting there no matter from where you come.

Once youre here, you might as well take some time to explore the town. There are plenty of historical monuments and landmarks worth checking out. Ask the locals for the A La Ronde and The Barn, if you feel like exploring your surroundings. When youre ready to begin your journey, its 18 miles until the next stop in this itinerary.

Beer, Devon

What better place to pursue a Summer adventure than a place called Beer? Granted, the name of this village is not derived from the beverage but rather from an ancient term referring to the dense forestation in this area. Still, if youd like to explore what used to be a smugglers cave, this is a great place to visit!

One of the main touristic attractions in this village is a huge complex of man-made tunnels called the Beer Quarry Caves. This site (located on the outskirts of Beer) has long served as the main national source of Beer stone, a special type of limestone that has been used to build many monuments over the years, as well as for sculpting purposes.

Charmouth

Just 11 miles to the west of Beer, youll come across another charming village worth visiting: Charmouth. This peaceful village was built around the mouth of River Char, and it’s notable for its quiet and whimsical sceneries, which are known to have inspired the likes of Jane Austen.

There are some lovely beaches in the area, and in the cliffs above some of those beaches theres a rather unique highlight: abundant remnants from the Jurassic period, which are constantly scoured by geologists and fossil enthusiasts (be wary while exploring those rocks though, as they are often slippery and subject to flooding tides).

Isle of Portland

Another 29 miles westbound off Charmouth, and youll get to the next stop in this journey of Jurassic Coast exploration: the Isle of Portland. This cheerful island is actually land-tied, meaning you can walk to it from the coast, through a tiny deposition landform called a tombolo.

There are many interesting things to see in the Isle of Portland, especially if youre interested in architecture. But one of the most striking attractions here is the Portland Harbour, which remains to date one of the largest harbours ever built by man.

Swanage

33 miles further to the west along the Jurassic Coast, and you’ll get to Swanage – once a small fishing village, now an attractive tourist resort. This is a great place to relax and bask in the sun, but there are also plenty of interesting monuments and buildings left over from the Victorian era, during which time Swanage was a highly sought after seaside holiday destination for the affluent.

Presently, there are also plenty of festivals and events taking place around the year – the highlight being the week-long carnival celebrations, which includes plenty of masquerades, balls and parades. This colorful celebration encompasses the week before lent, and its well worth checking out.

Click here to see a range of great walking holidays!

This guest post was brought to you by UkHolidayPlaces.co.uk, a leading source for holiday accommodation across the UK.