Sophie’s World Tour

About the Author
Sophie Burge is 23 years old and lives in Hong Kong when shes not seeking fun and adventure elsewhere! She recently returned from a 6 month whirlwind trip with boyfriend Tim.
1. What did your world tour consist of and why did it appeal?
It might be more accurate to describe it as a Southern Hemisphere Tour, which is how it ended up after wed narrowed down our options! As hard as it was to do, the two of us whittled the choices down to our top priorities and reached a compromise. For him, the must-haves were Australia and Southern Africa; for me it had to be New Zealand and South America.
Among other reasons, these destinations appealed because we felt we were able to experience variations of the backpacking experience the label has definitely evolved into an umbrella term! For instance, in Australia we Greyhounded it everywhere, while in New Zealand we opted to rent a Spaceship campervan to give ourselves a little more freedom. In South America we made our own way around, making up the route as we went along, whilst in Southern Africa we used an organised tour so that we didnt have to worry about those kinds of decisions! Sometimes we were quite indulgent, paying for pricey sailing trips or for dolphin watching for example, and other times we slummed it with tins of beans and camping. For us, this level of variation was ideal as it helped to tick lots of boxes, and we felt that it guaranteed all the experiences we hoped to get out of our Big Trip.
In the end we had quite a limited time frame (6 months) to visit what turned out to be 12 countries, a decision which was met with much eyebrow-raising by many of the people we met throughout our travels. However, this method appealed to me personally because it meant we were constantly on the move and therefore we ensured we made the most of each day. Of course, thats not to say there isnt an appeal in having no real plan – we did meet a lot of travellers who would spend weeks in one town if they found they really liked that particular place. The way I saw it though, spending weeks in one place you love may just eat into time you could have spent in another place you love even more which you havent even discovered yet! Obviously, everyone has different preferences and expectations from their travels, but our choice was definitely right for us. If I have any regrets its that the trip should have been a year long, only so we could squeeze in more destinations!
2. What preparation would you recommend someone taking on a similar trip?
Our degree of preparation varied somewhat my advice would be to have a plan of action without it being too rigid. We decided to book all of our international flights in advance, which meant that we already had a rough timeline worked out (for example, 3 weeks in Australia, 4 in New Zealand, etc) and so obviously had to do some research beforehand into how long we thought we would want in each place. We used STA travel to help us find flights which I would highly recommend; they found us some great deals and were very helpful in offering suggestions to amend our trip.
Except for our organised tour in Southern Africa (which required advance booking), everything else we organised when we arrived. We hadnt any concrete ideas of what we were going to do when we arrived in each country, we only knew how much time we had between our inbound and outbound flights! In the case of South America we didnt even know which countries we would choose to spend our time in, other than knowing that we would fly into Buenos Aires and fly out of Lima. Those decisions were all made on the road, based on word of mouth passed from traveller to traveller and from the advice in various guide books (if you are travelling with other people and are planning on purchases guide books, Id suggest one person takes a Lonely Planet and another a Rough Guide as the comparison can be very useful). Any domestic flights we took were booked last minute whilst we were on the road, although we usually relied on long-distance bus travel.
3. What were the top [5] things you brought with you?
I travelled extremely light, so this is actually a hard one to answer! Id have to say:
A camera. Some might say differently (I know in an excerpt from backpacker bible The Beach Richard shares his contrary opinion), but Id say youre definitely going to want visual reminders of the beautiful places you saw. Only two months down the line from my Big Trip and I was shamefully already losing appreciation for how breathtaking it all was until I looked back through my photos. Just wow. The experiences themselves are priceless but the photos are certainly valuable too.
A fast-drying antibacterial towel. It makes such a difference to have one of these on the road, especially if youre moving quickly and dont have time to worry about drying a towel! Also great for camping.
A head torch. May not be very fashionable, but you never know when that might come in handy,
especially if youre staying in campsites! Beware though: if you venture into a rainforest lots of exotic bugs may be drawn to the light…
A travel diary. Truth be told Im a person who hates keeping a diary, but it was definitely worth it, if only for having a record of the names of small towns we passed through or touristy things we saw which I would never remember the names of otherwise! It certainly helped when I came to write this guide!
Washing powder. So you can wash clothes on the road in hostel sinks, where permitted! Saves money and effort on laundry services! We took eco washing powder.
4. Summary of the highs and lows
Highs where do I begin?
Sailing around the stunning Whitsunday Islands. Swimming with dolphins off the shores of Kaikoura, New Zealand. Seeing the awesome Iguazu Falls from both the Argentine and the Brazilian side. Cycling around the Vineyards in Mendoza, Argentina, whilst tiddly from wine tasting! Sand boarding in the beautiful desert town of San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, then again Huacachina, Peru. Travelling from Chile into the Altiplano of Bolivia and seeing the amazing salt flats. Staying in an Eco Lodge in the marvellous Bolivian rainforest. Visiting the beautiful Isla del Sol. Trekking to Machu Picchu. Hiking through Colca Canyon. Seeing Rio de Janeiro. Spending a week hiking in the Drakensburg, South Africa. Taking mokoro boats into the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Petting lion cubs in Zimbabwe. Spending time in Chobe Game Park, Namibia, and quad biking through the Namib desert. Meeting awesome people. Discovering that South America is actually pretty good at vegetarian food, despite the horror stories I heard!
Lows Few and far between!
Not having enough time to venture properly into Patagonia. Getting harassed by a homeless man in Valparaiso, Chile, for taking a photo of his dog without his permission (oops!). A 36 hour bus ride from Buenos Aires to San Carlos de Bariloche. The stress of crossing from Bolivia into Peru over Lake Titicaca during Peruvian strikes. Nearly getting arrested in Johannesburg for not carrying our passports to the cinema.

Sophie Burge is 23 years old and lives in Hong Kong when shes not seeking fun and adventure elsewhere! She recently returned from a 6 month whirlwind trip with boyfriend Tim.

What did your world tour consist of and why did it appeal?

It might be more accurate to describe it as a Southern Hemisphere Tour, which is how it ended up after wed narrowed down our options! As hard as it was to do, the two of us whittled the choices down to our top priorities and reached a compromise. For him, the must-haves were Australia and Southern Africa; for me it had to be New Zealand and South America.

Among other reasons, these destinations appealed because we felt we were able to experience variations of the backpacking experience the label has definitely evolved into an umbrella term! For instance, in Australia we Greyhounded it everywhere, while in New Zealand we opted to rent a Spaceship campervan to give ourselves a little more freedom. In South America we made our own way around, making up the route as we went along, whilst in Southern Africa we used an organised tour so that we didnt have to worry about those kinds of decisions! Sometimes we were quite indulgent, paying for pricey sailing trips or for dolphin watching for example, and other times we slummed it with tins of beans and camping. For us, this level of variation was ideal as it helped to tick lots of boxes, and we felt that it guaranteed all the experiences we hoped to get out of our Big Trip.

In the end we had quite a limited time frame (6 months) to visit what turned out to be 12 countries, a decision which was met with much eyebrow-raising by many of the people we met throughout our travels. However, this method appealed to me personally because it meant we were constantly on the move and therefore we ensured we made the most of each day. Of course, thats not to say there isnt an appeal in having no real plan – we did meet a lot of travellers who would spend weeks in one town if they found they really liked that particular place. The way I saw it though, spending weeks in one place you love may just eat into time you could have spent in another place you love even more which you havent even discovered yet! Obviously, everyone has different preferences and expectations from their travels, but our choice was definitely right for us. If I have any regrets its that the trip should have been a year long, only so we could squeeze in more destinations!

What preparation would you recommend someone taking on a similar trip?

Our degree of preparation varied somewhat my advice would be to have a plan of action without it being too rigid. We decided to book all of our international flights in advance, which meant that we already had a rough timeline worked out (for example, 3 weeks in Australia, 4 in New Zealand, etc) and so obviously had to do some research beforehand into how long we thought we would want in each place. We used STA travel to help us find flights which I would highly recommend; they found us some great deals and were very helpful in offering suggestions to amend our trip.

Except for our organised tour in Southern Africa (which required advance booking), everything else we organised when we arrived. We hadnt any concrete ideas of what we were going to do when we arrived in each country, we only knew how much time we had between our inbound and outbound flights! In the case of South America we didnt even know which countries we would choose to spend our time in, other than knowing that we would fly into Buenos Aires and fly out of Lima. Those decisions were all made on the road, based on word of mouth passed from traveller to traveller and from the advice in various guide books (if you are travelling with other people and are planning on purchases guide books, Id suggest one person takes a Lonely Planet and another a Rough Guide as the comparison can be very useful). Any domestic flights we took were booked last minute whilst we were on the road, although we usually relied on long-distance bus travel.

What were the top 5 things you brought with you?

I travelled extremely light, so this is actually a hard one to answer! Id have to say:A camera. Some might say differently (I know in an excerpt from backpacker bible The Beach Richard shares his contrary opinion), but Id say youre definitely going to want visual reminders of the beautiful places you saw. Only two months down the line from my Big Trip and I was shamefully already losing appreciation for how breathtaking it all was until I looked back through my photos. Just wow. The experiences themselves are priceless but the photos are certainly valuable too.

A fast-drying antibacterial towel. It makes such a difference to have one of these on the road, especially if youre moving quickly and dont have time to worry about drying a towel! Also great for camping.

A head torch. May not be very fashionable, but you never know when that might come in handy,especially if youre staying in campsites! Beware though: if you venture into a rainforest lots of exotic bugs may be drawn to the light…A travel diary. Truth be told Im a person who hates keeping a diary, but it was definitely worth it, if only for having a record of the names of small towns we passed through or touristy things we saw which I would never remember the names of otherwise! It certainly helped when I came to write this guide!

Washing powder. So you can wash clothes on the road in hostel sinks, where permitted! Saves money and effort on laundry services! We took eco washing powder.

Summary of the highs and lows

Highs where do I begin?

Sailing around the stunning Whitsunday Islands. Swimming with dolphins off the shores of Kaikoura, New Zealand. Seeing the awesome Iguazu Falls from both the Argentine and the Brazilian side. Cycling around the Vineyards in Mendoza, Argentina, whilst tiddly from wine tasting! Sand boarding in the beautiful desert town of San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, then again Huacachina, Peru. Travelling from Chile into the Altiplano of Bolivia and seeing the amazing salt flats. Staying in an Eco Lodge in the marvellous Bolivian rainforest. Visiting the beautiful Isla del Sol. Trekking to Machu Picchu. Hiking through Colca Canyon. Seeing Rio de Janeiro. Spending a week hiking in the Drakensburg, South Africa. Taking mokoro boats into the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Petting lion cubs in Zimbabwe. Spending time in Chobe Game Park, Namibia, and quad biking through the Namib desert. Meeting awesome people. Discovering that South America is actually pretty good at vegetarian food, despite the horror stories I heard!

Lows Few and far between!

Not having enough time to venture properly into Patagonia. Getting harassed by a homeless man in Valparaiso, Chile, for taking a photo of his dog without his permission (oops!). A 36 hour bus ride from Buenos Aires to San Carlos de Bariloche. The stress of crossing from Bolivia into Peru over Lake Titicaca during Peruvian strikes. Nearly getting arrested in Johannesburg for not carrying our passports to the cinema.

Wow, sounds like a pretty epic trip! Need somewhere to start planning your own world trip? Have a look at our activitiespage to get some inspiration!

Meet the members – Diamond Beach Village

Who are you and your team?
Rachael Feiler 31, from Cornwall, England and my Mum Helen Feiler and my boyfriend Hassan Ali Said 28 from Mombasa and 16 staff all from the Kenyan Coast.
What inspired you to start, and how long have you been doing it?
My Mum started Diamond Beach Village in 2001, she fell in love with Manda, back then there was nothing on the beach front. She purchased the land from a local family and stayed for 6 months building the simple bandas and beach bar. I visited her for 2 weeks in the Christmas holidays, I was in my 3rd year at university. I fell in love with the place too. I have been here running Diamond since 2003 and my Mum now comes out for the winters to paint and relax.
It was a huge struggle to get the place running, there was no fresh water on the island, no other buildings, no power, no mobile phones, no internet and also no guests as no one knew we existed. Travel agencies I contacted in the early days liked the look of the place but why risk sending clients to a new place when there were other established hotels they could trust?
Why did you choose Manda?
There was no reason to choose Manda over Zanzibar for example, there was not a rational decision that we were going to move to Africa and set up a lodge somewhere. It just happened and was all a bit back to front. My Mum jumped right in on her first 2 week holiday and it started from there. Nine years later and a lot of laughter and a lot of tears I think we can say we have succeeded in making Diamond Beach a very special retreat. In December we shifted from the very small bar at the front of the kitchen to the Blue Moon Bar which we built (in the Blue Moon) and this has been a huge asset to the business.
What makes you muchbetter?
Diamond started small and we have stayed small and discrete as the beach has filled up with large houses along the coast line. Things have changed a lot on the island, we have desalinated water piped in, wireless internet and mobile phones but the ethos that we started with has remained the same. Local food, local staff, local materials. The main thing is people sleep well and eat well and feel looked after. We now have solar power, all water is recycled and I think that the local islanders feel that Diamond is their first stop if there is a problem in terms of medical help, a boat to cross to Lamu, a jerry can of water or some paraffin if the shop (Manda has a shop!) is out. It really does feel like a village and the atmosphere is perfect.
Insider tip for your area
In November Lamu has its own Culture festival but what people ususally don’t know about is the Maulid festival which is earlier by 2 weeks every year and in 2012 will be the middle of March. It is a celebration of the birth of Mohamed and is a wonderful sight to see the perade thorough the streets ending at the Mosque with music and local dance.
What is the view from your office?
The view from my office is slightly boring, I have kept the Indian Ocean and the sand dunes for those who need it more while sipping on a cold Tusker. I can see our charcoal fridge, the water catchment, store room and the only cement house on Diamond.
The last bit of news from Manda is that Diamond is getting a new edition in November, our first Diamond baby! Hassan and I are over the moon and I can’t think of a better place to bring up our child!

Back again with another in our Meet the Members series, where we let our muchbetter members introduce themselves. Its Diamond Beach Village’s turn today!

Who are you and your team?

Rachael Feiler 31, from Cornwall, England and my Mum Helen Feiler and my boyfriend Hassan Ali Said 28 from Mombasa and 16 staff all from the Kenyan Coast.

What inspired you to start, and how long have you been doing it?

My Mum started Diamond Beach Village in 2001, she fell in love with Manda, back then there was nothing on the beach front. She purchased the land from a local family and stayed for 6 months building the simple bandas and beach bar. I visited her for 2 weeks in the Christmas holidays, I was in my 3rd year at university. I fell in love with the place too. I have been here running Diamond since 2003 and my Mum now comes out for the winters to paint and relax.It was a huge struggle to get the place running, there was no fresh water on the island, no other buildings, no power, no mobile phones, no internet and also no guests as no one knew we existed. Travel agencies I contacted in the early days liked the look of the place but why risk sending clients to a new place when there were other established hotels they could trust?

Why did you choose Manda?

There was no reason to choose Manda over Zanzibar for example, there was not a rational decision that we were going to move to Africa and set up a lodge somewhere. It just happened and was all a bit back to front. My Mum jumped right in on her first 2 week holiday and it started from there. Nine years later and a lot of laughter and a lot of tears I think we can say we have succeeded in making Diamond Beach a very special retreat. In December we shifted from the very small bar at the front of the kitchen to the Blue Moon Bar which we built (in the Blue Moon) and this has been a huge asset to the business.

What makes you muchbetter?

Diamond started small and we have stayed small and discrete as the beach has filled up with large houses along the coast line. Things have changed a lot on the island, we have desalinated water piped in, wireless internet and mobile phones but the ethos that we started with has remained the same. Local food, local staff, local materials. The main thing is people sleep well and eat well and feel looked after. We now have solar power, all water is recycled and I think that the local islanders feel that Diamond is their first stop if there is a problem in terms of medical help, a boat to cross to Lamu, a jerry can of water or some paraffin if the shop (Manda has a shop!) is out. It really does feel like a village and the atmosphere is perfect.

Insider tip for your area

In November Lamu has its own Culture festival but what people ususally don’t know about is the Maulid festival which is earlier by 2 weeks every year and in 2012 will be the middle of March. It is a celebration of the birth of Mohamed and is a wonderful sight to see the perade thorough the streets ending at the Mosque with music and local dance.

What is the view from your office?

The view from my office is slightly boring, I have kept the Indian Ocean and the sand dunes for those who need it more while sipping on a cold Tusker. I can see our charcoal fridge, the water catchment, store room and the only cement house on Diamond.

The last bit of news from Manda is that Diamond is getting a new edition in November, our first Diamond baby! Hassan and I are over the moon and I can’t think of a better place to bring up our child!

Sounds like a beautiful place to visit! You can see their listings on Diamond Beach Villages profile.

Indian Ocean rowing record just broken… just.

Two British guys have just completed an epic 3,200 mile row across the Indian Ocean, from Australia to Mauritius. Taking 116 days, the pair (James Adair and Ben Stenning) rowed 3 hours on, 3 off, day and night – resting while the other rowed. They are the first pair to complete the trip, without a support boat, and only the 3rd pair to complete the distance in a rowing boat.

But, they only just made it there alive. On the final night, just before landfall in Mauritius, a large wave capsized their 23 foot vessel, throwing them into the sea. Their boat was smashed in the storm, while Adair and Stenning were dragged across coral reefs, resulting in cuts across their torsos, having tried to swim to shore. Attempts to light parachute flares, originally destined for a triumphal arrival, resulted in further cuts to their hands, thanks to having numb hands from rowing. Worried about sharks, Ben kept looking under water to make sure the pair were safe.

With their communication equipment damaged, the alarm was raised when their land-based navigation team lost radio contact. Helicopters failed to spot them, despite using high-powered spotlights. It was only when a team of Mauritians in boats, who came out to the reef, found an oar close by to the pair, that they started shouting and whistling to attract their attention. Dragging them across the shallow coral on mattresses, the Mauritians hauled the pair onto the rescue boats, and took them ashore, to their waiting (and very nervous!) families.

James and Ben are recovering, before returning to London – “I suppose we will have to get back to reality in London now, catching the tube to work, topping up the oyster card. Hmm.”

James and Ben are raising money for 2 charities – GBS Support Group and Tumaini Childrens Home.

You can find out more information on James & Ben here, and this is a link to the official Indian Ocean Rowing Race 2011 site.

Are you able to access your local waterway?

Im not a big user of the UK waterways I went on a river cruise in York once, and Ive crossed the odd stream whilst mountain biking, so access problems dont really have a huge effect on me. I am, however, a believer of gaining greater access to the great outdoors for everyone, whether its improving bridleways to aid disabled access, opening up more coastline to walkers, cyclists and horse riders, or improving waterways access to the whole range of sports people who use them kayakers, canoeists, gorge walkers, gill scramblers, rowers and swimmers (amongst others!).
So it came as a shock to me that only 2% of the waterways in England and Wales have access rights to the public. As a member of the public, how can 98% of our waterways be inaccessible to me?
Back in 1932 a mass trespass of Kinder Scout, in the Peak District, took place in order to show the need for open access to our countryside, so that everyone can enjoy and take advantage of it. The result has been a huge development of paths, BOATS and bridleways, opening up the countryside to the masses. Though restrictions are still in place for horse riders and cyclists in England and Wales (another topic to discuss another time!), we are now able to visit and experience a massive variety of English and Welsh countryside, thanks to the Kinder Scout Trespass.
Waterways have played a significant role in shaping the UK, in a whole variety of ways. From the locations of our oldest settlements, based around the defensive position of river confluences to the ability to use our rivers and canals as a way of transporting goods around the country, rivers are an integral part of our history and heritage. We are currently excluded from most of this, perhaps now is the time to change this.
The Rivers Access Campaign, funded by Canoe England, is highlighting this problem, and aims to improve access for the public. Through letter writing, publicity campaigns (including some rather cool expeditions!) and getting the press involved they are hoping to increase our access to our waterways. Visit the River Access Campaigns website to see more information, and find out how to get involved. Even if you arent a user of the waterways, can you imagine not being able to access the UKs forests, moorlands and mountains???

Im not a big user of the UK waterways I went on a river cruise in York once, and Ive crossed the odd stream whilst mountain biking, so access problems dont really have a huge effect on me. I am, however, a believer of gaining greater access to the great outdoors for everyone, whether its improving bridleways to aid disabled access, opening up more coastline to walkers, cyclists and horse riders, or improving waterways access to the whole range of sports people who use them kayakers, canoeists, gorge walkers, gill scramblers, rowers and swimmers (amongst others!).

So it came as a shock to me that only 2% of the waterways in England and Wales have access rights to the public. As a member of the public, how can 98% of our waterways be inaccessible to me?

Back in 1932 a mass trespass of Kinder Scout, in the Peak District, took place in order to show the need for open access to our countryside, so that everyone can enjoy and take advantage of it. The result has been a huge development of paths, BOATS and bridleways, opening up the countryside to the masses. Though restrictions are still in place for horse riders and cyclists in England and Wales (another topic to discuss another time!), we are now able to visit and experience a massive variety of English and Welsh countryside, thanks to the Kinder Scout Trespass.

Waterways have played a significant role in shaping the UK, in a whole variety of ways. From the locations of our oldest settlements, based around the defensive position of river confluences to the ability to use our rivers and canals as a way of transporting goods around the country, rivers are an integral part of our history and heritage. We are currently excluded from most of this, perhaps now is the time to change this.

The Rivers Access Campaign, funded by Canoe England, is highlighting this problem, and aims to improve access for the public. Through letter writing, publicity campaigns (including some rather cool expeditions!) and getting the press involved they are hoping to increase our access to our waterways. Visit the River Access Campaigns website to see more information, and find out how to get involved. Even if you arent a user of the waterways, can you imagine not being able to access the UKs forests, moorlands and mountains???

How to race the Three Peaks Yacht Race

How fit and/or experienced do I need to be?
You can compete at just about any level, there are people that have represented England up at the sharp end and people that walk the whole event. Theres even separate trophies for just about every individual section of the race. Not just for the fastest either, theres the high converted Last Inn cup for the last over all team (inside the time limit) and the Kilma Clogs for the slowest overall on the mountains and the award for the best decorated boat and the raised for charity too.
What training methods would you recommend?
As much or as little as you want/can do really, I ride a bike just about every day and do a few short runs and one long one a week maybe the other odd event here or there too.
What kit would you recommend?
Keeping it light is always nice, theres a fair size kit list on this event. Top tip for this race would be a Blizzard bag else you need to carry a sleeping bag and a survival bag which weighs a lot more and will be bulkier too. In my opinion a Cyclocross bike is perfect for the event. Ive seen a few road bikes in previous years with punctures near Ennerdale, thatll waste you a lot of time.
What were the highs and lows for you during the event?
Light winds and rowing the yacht again!!! Most teams carry oars for when theres no wind some teams are better set up than other with rowing sliders and 4 oars or simple lashings with 2. Some have more success than others too largely based on the weight and style of boat. I can promise you rowing a 36ft 7+tonne boat for hours on end gets hard work! Its the un recognized discipline thats not listed with the sailing running and cycling.
All in, how much would it cost me to do this? How do I organize it? Any logistical advice?
Depends a lot on the boat, if you have/know somebody with a suitable boat who wants to race of find a team in need of a runner then 200-300pp for entry fees, food, fuel etc. If you dont and have to charter a yacht then could be a fair bit more, all depends on how fast a boat you want
Logistics for this race is a major part of the event. First thing a boat and a team the PYR website is good for that or the Sleepmonsters website too. This year due to injury we had to use them ourselves to secure a replacement runner at 2 weeks notice and sailor at 2 Days notice!!!! The physical logistics of getting there and back are always a challenge, I dont have a car so just getting to that start line with my kit for a week and a bit plus my bike is a challenge. Thankfully Ive met a few other races who are local to me who often help. This year my bike and one kit bag was sent up in advance on a yacht leaving the Isle of Wight. Then I had a 6.5 hour train journey from Southampton to Barmouth. Then theres logistics of getting everything back from Corpach near Fort William. I managed to use one of the crews cars to get back to Wales this year where I met up with my wife and friends for the weekend before getting a lift back to Southampton. My bike arrived 3 weeks later and I still have a kit bag currently in Ireland I think! long story. I think that may arrive back in next week, who knows what sort of state that will be in after festering for 4 weeks on the yacht.
What charity did you support and why?
This year we raised 500 split between the BKPA and the RNLI, for my late step Dad who suffered with chronic kidney disease and the RNLI because they did a great job in rescuing our skipper on a training sail last year when a pulley broke and flew striking him in the head leaving him with a nasty gash very close to his eye and a concussion. The RNLI (Barmouth especially) always support and help the race start too.
The acid test: Are you keeping the health and fitness up, and do you plan to do anything like this again?!
Yeah fitness isnt too bad, got a little niggle in my Achilles at the moment which is frustrating me, riding but no running because of it at the mo. Yeah Ive got the bug plenty more planned, next biggish one is the Endurance life Extreme Coast 2 Coast.

Imagine having to race up the highest peaks in England, Wales and Scotlandas quickly as possible on foot. Then add in the necessity to sail between them, and then get to the mountain itself, usually by bike. Sounds tough, doesn’t it? Kieth Harris completed this year’s race, and here is is account of how you can too…

How fit and/or experienced do I need to be?

You can compete at just about any level, there are people that have represented England up at the sharp end and people that walk the whole event. Theres even separate trophies for just about every individual section of the race. Not just for the fastest either, theres the high converted Last Inn cup for the last over all team (inside the time limit) and the Kilma Clogs for the slowest overall on the mountains and the award for the best decorated boat and the raised for charity too.

What training methods would you recommend?

As much or as little as you want/can do really, I ride a bike just about every day and do a few short runs and one long one a week maybe the other odd event here or there too.

What kit would you recommend?

Keeping it light is always nice, theres a fair size kit list on this event. Top tip for this race would be a Blizzard bag else you need to carry a sleeping bag and a survival bag which weighs a lot more and will be bulkier too. In my opinion a Cyclocross bike is perfect for the event. Ive seen a few road bikes in previous years with punctures near Ennerdale, thatll waste you a lot of time.

What were the highs and lows for you during the event?

Light winds and rowing the yacht again!!! Most teams carry oars for when theres no wind some teams are better set up than other with rowing sliders and 4 oars or simple lashings with 2. Some have more success than others too largely based on the weight and style of boat. I can promise you rowing a 36ft 7+tonne boat for hours on end gets hard work! Its the un recognized discipline thats not listed with the sailing running and cycling.

All in, how much would it cost me to do this? How do I organize it? Any logistical advice?

Depends a lot on the boat, if you have/know somebody with a suitable boat who wants to race of find a team in need of a runner then 200-300pp for entry fees, food, fuel etc. If you dont and have to charter a yacht then could be a fair bit more, all depends on how fast a boat you want

Logistics for this race is a major part of the event. First thing a boat and a team the PYR website is good for that or the Sleepmonsters website too. This year due to injury we had to use them ourselves to secure a replacement runner at 2 weeks notice and sailor at 2 Days notice!!!! The physical logistics of getting there and back are always a challenge, I dont have a car so just getting to that start line with my kit for a week and a bit plus my bike is a challenge. Thankfully Ive met a few other races who are local to me who often help. This year my bike and one kit bag was sent up in advance on a yacht leaving the Isle of Wight. Then I had a 6.5 hour train journey from Southampton to Barmouth. Then theres logistics of getting everything back from Corpach near Fort William. I managed to use one of the crews cars to get back to Wales this year where I met up with my wife and friends for the weekend before getting a lift back to Southampton. My bike arrived 3 weeks later and I still have a kit bag currently in Ireland I think! long story. I think that may arrive back in next week, who knows what sort of state that will be in after festering for 4 weeks on the yacht.

What charity did you support and why?

This year we raised 500 split between the BKPA and the RNLI, for my late step Dad who suffered with chronic kidney disease and the RNLI because they did a great job in rescuing our skipper on a training sail last year when a pulley broke and flew striking him in the head leaving him with a nasty gash very close to his eye and a concussion. The RNLI (Barmouth especially) always support and help the race start too.

The acid test: Are you keeping the health and fitness up, and do you plan to do anything like this again?!

Yeah fitness isnt too bad, got a little niggle in my Achilles at the moment which is frustrating me, riding but no running because of it at the mo. Yeah Ive got the bug plenty more planned, next biggish one is the Endurance life Extreme Coast 2 Coast.

Sounds like a great event to have a go at! If you have competed in any events and want to tell your story, check out the ‘How to’ template in our range of article templates. Don’t forget to also have a look at the muchbetter Events Calendar for a whole range of adventure sport events from around the world.

If you are keen on trying your hand at sailing, or an experienced mariner, check out our range ofsailing holidays!

Event Notice: The Blue Mile

The WWF are encouraging you to get out in the water and cover a mile by any means possible – swim, kayak or walk beside it!

Its part of The Blue Mile initiative to raise money and awareness for the WWF’s work on protecting our rivers and seas, and they want you to join in and get sponsored.

On the 4th of September they are holding their flagship Blue Mile event, so why not pop down there and cover a mile of open water with them. Details of how to take part in the Blue Mile event can be found here, along with information on how you can set up your own event where you are.

The muchbetter Adventure Event Calendar

Welcome to the muchbetter Adventure Event Calendar – your community guide to the best independent, unique and notable adventure sports events and challenges happening all over the world.

Below is a list of events by month, with links to Event Notices, How To guides and articles from participants describing what its like to take part in events. We have also included links to the official websites.

Get involved – you can leave comments, suggest events and share your stories at the bottom.

January

Lorne Pier to Pub (8/1/2011) – 1.2km swim race, 2 hrs south of Melbourne on the Great Ocean Road, Australia.

Official Website.

Winter Feast Duathalon series opener (15/1/2011) – Duathalon for beginners in Scotland (subsequent races in Feb and April).

Official Website.

Raid de la Savane (15-23/1/2011) – Running race in Burkina Faso – 110km.

Official Website.

The Coastal Challenge(21-28/1/2012) – Running race in Costa Rica – 250km.

Official Website.

Dolomitenlauf(22/1/2012) – Cross-country ski race in Austrian Dolomites – 60km.

Official Website.

February

Cole Classic (5/2/2012) – Australia’s largest sea swimming race near Sydney – 1 and 2km options.

Official Website.

Sapporo International Ski Marathon (5/2/2012). Cross Country ski event – 3 to 50km options.

Official Website.

The Bonk Hard Chill (19/2/2011) – Missouri based adventure race, including running, paddling and mountain biking.

Official Website.

Iditarod Trail Invitational (from 26/2/2011) – 350 or 1000 mile bike, ski or foot race in Alaska.

Kathi’s Howto guide to the Iditarod Trail Invitational.

March

Yak Attack (3-14/3/2012) – Mountain bike stage race in Nepal – 400+km.

How to… race the Yak Attack. Official Website.

The Wee Triathalon (19/3/2011) – Beginner triathlon in Glen Nevis, Scotland.

Official Website.

Cape Epic (25/3/2012) – South African mountain bike stage race – 707km.

Official Website.

April

Marathon des Sables (1-11/4/2011) – Ultra-marathon in the Moroccan Sahara – 243km.

Whats is like to run the Marathon des Sables.

Devises to Westminster International Canoe Marathon (6-9/4/2012) – Canoe race finishing next to the Houses of Parliament, London – 200km.

Official Website.

Oxfam Trailwalker NZ (10-11/4/2011) – Walk 100km in 36 hours in aid of Oxfam, from Lake Taupo NZ.

Official Website.

MacAvalanche (30/4/2011) – Scottish endurance downhill mountain bike race.

Video report.

May

Friends of the Earth Big Green Bike Ride (6-11/4/2012) – Join Friends of the Earth for the whole cycle ride from London to Edinburgh, or just one of the stages.

Official Website.

Fellsman race (12-13/4/2012) – 62 mile fell race in Yorkshire.

Event Notice. How to guide.

Big Ice Race(15-28/4/2011) – World championship XC skiing race across Greenland – 590km.

Official Website.

Keswick Mountain Festival (18-22/5/2011) – Includes a range of events.

Event Notice.

Ocean Kayak Race (22/5/2011) – 20-30km sea kayak race in Anglesey, Wales.

Official Website.

Comrades Marathon (29/5/2011) – 89km running race in South Africa.

Event Notice.Official Website.

June

Tour Divide (10/6/2011) – Mountain bike race from Banff, Canada, to the Mexican boarder – 4418km.

How to race the… Tour Divide.Official Website.

West Highland Way Race (18/6/2011) – Running race along the West Highland Way, Scotland – 153km.

Official Website.

3 Peaks Yacht Race (25/6/2011) – Race to climb Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis, travelling between them by Yacht.

Official Website.

Big Five Marathon (25/6/2011) – Marathon and half marathon in a game reserve in South Africa, mixing with the ‘Big Five’ animals.

Official Website.

July

Coasts and Castles Ride (10-12/7/2011) – Charity fundraiser on bike between Newcastle and Edinburgh.

Event Notice.

Badwater Ultra Marathon (11-13/7/2011) – 135 mile ultra marathon through Death Valley.

Official Website.

Endurance Downhill (23/7/2011) – As many runs down the Nevis Range DH course as you can in 6 hours.

Official Website.

Iron Bike (23-30/7/2011) – Tough multi-stag mountain bike enduro event in the alps.

Official Website.

Raid The North Extreme (23-31/7/2011) – 500km+ adventure race, using bike, foot, rope and paddel in British Columbia.

Official Website.

La 6000D (30-31/7/2011) – 60km ultramarathon with over 4000m ascent, in the French Alps.

Official Website.

Tough Guy Nettle Warrior (31/7/2011) – One of the toughest, maddest and most painful challenges around, in the UK.

Official Website.

August

Descenso Internacional del Sella (6/8/2011) – Canoe race down the Sella Riva in the north of Spain – 20km.

Official Website.

Norseman Xtreme Triathalon (6/8/2011) – One of the longest and toughest triathalons in the world (and certainly in Norway!).

Official Website.

Causeway Coast Adventure Race (13/8/2011) – Irelands foremost adventure race.

Official Website.

Grand Raid (19-20/8/2011) – Mountain bike marathon event in the Swiss Alps.

Official Website.

BjrklidenArctic Mountain Marathon (19-20/8/2011) – 2 day orienteering event in the arctic, up to 70km of distance to cover. Sweden.

Official Website.

Pikes Peak Marathon (20-21/8/2011) – Run up to 2400m over 21.5km.

Official Website.

Grand Raid des Pyrnes(26-28/8/2011) – Trail running event in the French Pyrnes, 80 and 160km options.

Official Website.

September

The Blue Mile (4/11/20121) – Cover a mile of water in aid of the WWF.

Event Notice.

The Big Ben Nevis Triathalon(10/9/2011) – Off road triathalon on and around Ben Nevis.

How to complete the Big Ben Nevis Triathlon.Official Website.

Raid Goelix (17/9/2011) – Multisport (sea kayak, run, bike) event in Bretagne, France.

Official Website.

Ghana Cycle Challenge (30/9/2011) – Charity fundraising cycle event in Ghana.

Event Notice. Neil’s Story – Ghana Cycle Challenge.

Spartathalon(30/9 – 1/10/2011) – Ultra-distance running race in Greece – 245km.

Official Website.

October

Triple Crown Bouldering (1/10/2011) – 1st of 3 in a series of bouldering competitions in the southeast of the US.

Official Website.

Relentless 24 (8/10/2011) – 24 hour mountain bike race in Scotland.

Offical Website.

Alpkit Outdoor Festival (14-16/10/2011) – Outdoor activity weekend festival.

Alpkit Outdoor Festival

Namibia 24hr Ultramarathon (15-23/10/2011) – 126km (3 marathons!) in 24 hours – one of the toughest ultramarathons around.

Official Website.

The OMM (29-30/10/2011) – Off-road running event – self supported for 2 days in Central Scotland (location changes each year).

How to race The OMM.

November

La Ruta de Los Conquistadores (2-5/11/2011) – Mountain bike stage race in Costa Rica.

Official Website.

The Druid Challenge (11-13/11/2011) – 80 mile, 3 day walking or running race in the UK.

Official Website.

The Highland Fling (12-13/10/2011) – Australian mountain bike marathon event in NSW – 55 and 110km options.

Official Website.

Les buffles de Ngh An(19/11-1/12/2011) – Running event in Vietnam – 110 and 60km options.

Official Website.

Real Ale Wobble (19/11/2011) – Mountain bikes, ale, and the Cambrian Mountains (Wales) – a perfect mix! – 15, 25, 35 mile options.

Official Website.

Sani Stagger (26/11/2011) – Running race crossing the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa – 21 and 42km options.

Official Website.

December

The Grim Original (3/12/2011). Crawl, wade or run through an army training ground near Aldershot, UK – 8km.

Official Site.

If you know of other events which should be included, or have up to date information on any listed, please leave a comment below. Where dates have been passed, please let us know if you know of next year’s dates!

If you would like to promote an event click here for a ‘News and events’ template.

Write about an event or challenge you have taken part in – click here for a ‘Your story’ template or here for a ‘How to’ template.

To take the spotlight and to contribute any article on travel, adventure sports or green issues, you can see a whole range of templates here.

Amy’s muchbetter guide to Keswick

Why Keswick?

Keswick has been crowned one of the Lake Districts adventure hubs for obvious reasons. The provision of outdoor retailers and adventure activity providers is abundant. Youre spoiled for choice of adventure, with the breathtaking landscape right at your finger tips.

No where else in the Lake District can you find yourself in such a lively and vibrant town with the mountains and lakes just a moment away. Theres no escaping the dramatic fells, they tower above the town waiting to be explored. Its not just a destination for experienced adventure seekers, there are also loads of fantastic activities for those looking for an introduction into adventure sports.

Favorite spots for Amy in Keswick?

Keswick itself is alive with atmosphere but just 5 minutes stroll from the town centre you can find yourself along the shores of Derwentwater.

Friars Crag lakeside walk is a hot favourite for lakeside views, its an easy walk but the views across the water and down in Borrowdale are the superb. (Not necessarily adventurous but beautiful!). The Borrowdale Valley is an incredible walking destination with a varied landscape with walks available for most abilities, whilst visiting make sure you explore some of the charming valley villages for a pint in a village pub.

Its also a great place to go rock climbing. The nearby Newlands Valley is the perfect place to try ghyll scrambling. Canoeing, windsurfing and sailing can be enjoyed on Derwentwater or Bassenthwaite Lake, both just a stones throw away from the town centre. Whinlatter is the best place for mountain biking, cycle through the beautiful forest park and enjoy wonderful views across Bassenthwaite Lake and onto Blencathra and Skiddaw.

Favorite places to grab some food in Keswick?

Good Taste sells honest good grub made by celebrity chef Peter Sidwell. The Lakeland Pedlar serves delicious fresh vegetarian food and is very popular with cyclist. Theres a huge range of pubs to sample, which sell classic pub food, too difficult to pick a favourite but no harm in trying a few

Favorite places for a drink in Keswick?

To try local ale, you can visit the Keswick Brewery which offers tours and beer sampling, a great way to spend a few hours on a rainy day. The Royal Oak in Borrowdale is the perfect stop when exploring this breathtaking valley. Another Royal Oak, this time in Braithwaite, is a great place to have a rest after exploring Whinlatter Forest Park or on the C2C route by bike.

Whats the best time of year to come to Keswick?

Summer can get very busy, which is great for atmosphere but not so great for last minute bookings with adventure activity providers. Spring and Autumn are quieter and actually more beautiful times of year to come because of the colours and generally (please note generally!) more reliable weather, (check out the weather). The Lake Districthas had some great winters recently (typically in December), Keswick and the North Lakes have received great dumps of snow and opportunities for heart racing winter activities is to be had.

Anything else you need to share for people planning a muchbetter adventure to Keswick?

The Tourist Information Centre found in the main square of Keswick is an adventure base, this means staff are knowledgeable about local opportunities and can point in the right direction for planning your perfect adventure, as well as being the place to go to pick up the latest brochures and leaflets on what to do and where to go.

If youre looking for a green place to stay, Nurture Lakeland supports accommodation providers who are committed to looking after the local environment, a list of these can be found on the Green Directory.

If youre a walker or fell runner, visit Fix the Fellsto discover how you can fill in your footsteps by reducing your impact on the fells or donating to maintain our upland landscapes.

Interested in visiting the Lake District?

Check out all the friendly, local and independentAccommodation inKeswick,Walking and cyclingHolidays inKeswick, Climbing and cycling Schools inKeswick,Local Guides in Keswick, theRestaurants and PubsandBikeShops and rentals in Keswick.

You can contact them all direct through us to avoid commissions. We are working with them to discover who is alreadymuchbetter, and help others to get there.

You can also search for a place to stay throughNurture Lakelandwho have a list of fantastic accommodation providers that are doing their bit for the environment.These businesses are members ofNurture Lakeland, interested in sustainable tourism and may be fundraising for conservation projects in the area.

Know somewhere else? Let us know bysuggesting a place.

Or, if you like Amy fromNurture Lakelandhere, know theLake Districtlike the back of your hand and would you like to add pictures, videos or more information to this guide, get in touch and leave your comments!

Adventure with purpose. Atlantic Rising gives climate change a postcode

In this months Adventure with a Purpose I could have talked about Eric Larsen, explorer and climate change campaigner who recently became the first person to reach the north pole, south pole and top of Mount Everest in one year. An incredible achievement there is no doubt. As some of the past featured explorers demonstrate so well, Im always up for a bit of awareness raising and a good adventure to boot. This month however I discovered an adventure that went so much further than your classic awareness raising. Im talking about the fantastically innovative journey of the Atlantic Rising team. 15 months ago Tim, Will and Lynn set off on a voyage of discovery, to explore the Atlantic coastline and discover what will be lost if seas levels rise by 1 meter. Travelling, living and working in a Land Rover, they covered 32 000 miles and 21 countries, hopping on container ships for the Atlantic ocean crossings, and biking, sailing or walking in between. Travelling overland through West Africa, Latin America and the US they had no end of adventures, they returned to Southampton on the 7th December.

Not content with that, on their way they created a network between schools all along the route. This enables children from all over the world to build friendships, share stories, understand how climate change impacts us all differently and help the next generation to grow up feeling connected to distant places and people. In February, and again last week, the guys got to live out my own childhood dreams, launching a giant Message in a bottle, containing thousands of letters from students around the Atlantic, describing their local environments. It contains a tracking device so we can all also learn about the movement of the ocean currents and their role in distributing the earths heat. You can track it here.

Ever curious, I caught up with Lynn Morris, one of the 3 crew, to pick her brains on the purpose of adventure, climate change and my chances of hitching a ride on a container ship across the Atlantic,Alex: Adventure and exploration has been a common theme in raising awareness recently. Why do you think there is such a close connection?I suppose adventure and exploration is something that catches peoples attention and imagination and so it is a good way to raise awareness. But for us it was merely a means to visit the places we wanted to go.

The idea behind our journey was to find out how climate change is affecting people or could affect people around the edge of the Atlantic. To do this we needed to go to some pretty remote places so that was where the adventure came in. Getting stuck in the mud on a tidalestuary in Mauritania in the middle of the night was not something we set out to achieve!Alex: Did you follow the Plastiki voyage too? What do you think might be next in this realm of adventurous climate change campaigns?

Yes, I did follow the Plastiki and I loved what they were doing. Plastic in the ocean is a huge issue and I thought that was a very clever way of illustrating the problem.People have been asking us about Pacific Rising or Indian Ocean Rising but I think we might need a bit of a break before getting back on the road.Alex: How was the crossing on a container ship? Is it easy to ‘hitch’ a ride? Always wanted to do that…We were really lucky because all our shipping was sponsored by the shipping companies we used – Safmarine for the Africa to Brazil leg and Wallenius Wilhelmsen for Colombia to Mexico and Baltimore to the UK. So they kindly offered to take us as well as the car. I don’t think they routinely take passengers but there are exceptions. Crossing the ocean by ship is a brilliant, very calming experience – no distractions from phone or internet. Alex: Did you find different levels of concern and different views on climate change wherever you went, or was therea lot of common ground?When we spoke to students in the UK before we left they told us that climate change is a problem for the future – it is something for their grandchildren to worry about rather than themselves. But when you have

similar conversations with students in West Africa or South America they are under no illusions that climate change is affecting them today. They can give you examples of how things have changed.We were pretty shocked when we reached America – a country responsible for a large share of greenhouse gas emissions and one which could lead the world on climate change issues if it chose to.The US was the only country we travelled to where climate change was something people ‘believed in’ or not – elsewhere climate change is thought of scientific fact. There was plenty more talk of adaptation to climate change in the US, rather than mitigation. That is all very well for countries that can afford to adapt, but no help to people with little adaptive capacity.Climate change will affect the poorest first and worst and this is a terrible injustice because it is not these people who have significantly contributed to climate change. Alex: Sea level rise estimates seem to keep spiralling upwards. Does that mean you might have to go again before long?! How hopeful are you that as a global society we can tackle this?Yes it is true that sea level rise predictions seem to be going up which is only bad news. I expect as science progresses these are likely to become more accurate. It is important to remember that sea level rises are not uniform. In some places it will be higher and in others lower. Some US scientists are working on better ways to map this so we can project more accurately howdifferent areas are at risk.I am hopeful that we will be able to tackle this. I just hope that we don’t leave it too long. I think that there is a growing movement of people who are interested in climate change issues but we need strong leadership from politicians too to ensure that we as a society makebig changes.It is often hard to make the connection between our lives and climate change which is why I love what Atlantic Rising are doing – giving climate change a post code. Keep up the good work, and enjoy a nice cup of tea first!
Not quite sure how to get your head around it all? Nor were we, but check out this heartwarming BBC school report from a participating school on the south coast of the UK, and you will just what a great idea this adventure is.

BBC School Report – Atlantic Rising from Atlantic Rising on Vimeo.

Find out more on their site: http://www.atlanticrising.org

Article is part of the muchbetter Mag #8 – delivered to your inbox every month or so. Find out more.

But really, is there such a thing as a green wetsuit?

A few months back, we looked at the introduction by Patagonia of merino wool and recycled polyester into wetsuit construction. Read that here.At the time we mentioned that they and others were turning their backs on Petroleum based neoprene and turning instead to limestone to provide the answer. Yamamoto corp. are the manufacturers of this super stretch material that boasts a 95% closed cell impermeability. They supply to 70% of the high end brand named wetsuits in the world. Despite using this material, Patagonia remains fairly uneasy about the use of limestone based neoprene, dont settle for marketing greenwash! Limestone doesnt make a wetsuit more environmentally friendly Reducing dependence on oil and oil-derived chemicals is important. However, the trade-off in this case involves mining, pollution from diesel fuel combustion, and high energy usage Push for new, innovative materials and construction methods, because weve got a long way to go before anyone has a true green wetsuit. Todd Copeland. Whilst applauding Patagonias ambition to find a more sustainable neoprene, we should still recognize that yamamotos limestone based alternative is still a huge step forward. A 23% higher close cell structure than oil derived neoprene means that it is warmer per mm allowing for thinner suits and therefore using less raw material. A maximum elongation of over 480% – almost 7 times that of human skin makes for comfortable and most importantly long lasting suits reducing the turnover rate of wetsuits. These advantages are both good and bad for the future of sustainable wetsuits. Good in so much as this is a more sustainable option that out performs its petroleum based predecessor which we at muchbetteradventures.com contend any new sustainable alternative must do to be considered by the mainstream consumer. Bad in so much as Patagonia and everyone else looking for the next generation of neoprene have a high bar to jump in finding the truly sustainable alternative that has to kick limestone neoprenes ass. To visit just a few of the manufacturers using limestone based neoprene, follow this links below. Patagonia Body Glove Matuse Nemo Seventh Wave NinePlus ( local Cornwall ) and Gul. NB. You will notice that Gul have incorporated bamboo fibre into their Recore 3mm Eco Blindstitch Summer Steamer. Click here for our look at Bamboo fibres.

Sea Scotland differently – kayaking, sailing and walking in Scotland

Wilderness Scotland have just sent us their ideas for summer holidays in Scotland that are a bit of a break from the norm. We thought we would head to the coast of Scotland and share their ideas…

‘At last, it looks like summer is arriving in the UK! As we begin to feel the warmth of the sun, we are drawn to venture outdoors and explore Scotland’s wild and beautiful landscapes. What you might not have considered before, however, is exploring them from the sea – but a quick look at a map of Scotland shows how much fun this could be. All those islands, the secluded bays, the sea lochs – the adventure!This summer, we invite you to sea Scotland differently – from the deck of a classic yacht, up close from a sea kayak, or on foot from a spectacular coastal trail. We have some great trips to help you enjoy Scotland’s secret coastlines and landscapes.

Scotland by Sea Kayak: * Learn to sea kayak on our Introduction Course; or improve your skills on our new Intermediate Sea Kayaking Course – we also have a trip especially for families. * Enjoy day paddles from comfortable accommodations in our new West Coast Sea Kayaking Tour. * Venture into the wilderness on one of our moderate graded sea kayaking expeditions, exploring the Summer Isles or the Sound of Arisaig.

* Discover even wilder coastlines on our more challenging expeditions to Skye, Rona & Raasay; or to the Wild Coasts of the Outer Hebrides.

Scotland by Yacht: * Join our epic 10 day Island Odyssey trip, where we venture through the Inner & Outer Hebrides, with the goal of reaching St Kilda. This trip also includes hiking, as we enjoy walks on many islands. * Step aboard for our classic 7 day journey through Knoydart, Skye & the Small Isles, enjoying wild island walks and superb sailing each day. * Travelling with friends or family? Ask about our private yacht charters, which are ideal for groups of 4-8 people. We have some availability for August & September this year! * If you are short on time but don’t want to compromise on adventure then look no further than our 5-day sailing journey to St Kilda, starting and finishing in Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides. * For a leisurely sailing and walking experience, our Inner Hebrides trip in September is the perfect escape but you have to be fast – only 2 places are left!

Scotland’s Wild Coastlines by foot: * Journey to Scotland’s northern isles to discover the awe-inspiring coastal scenery of the Shetland Islands or the Orkney Islands on a wilderness walking holiday. * Discover the fjord-like scenery of Knoydart and the spectacular Small Isles on this Wilderness Scotland favourite, based at a wilderness lodge with an award-winning restaurant! * Strike north and explore the pristine environment of Scotland’s North West, hiking around lovely Handa Island, to legendary Sandwood Bay to the Scotland’s most northerly point – Cape Wrath.

You can find out more and get in direct contact with Wilderness Scotland through this page

You might also be interested in the mountain climbing and hiking offered by Mac’s Adventures, or the variety of trips throughout the Cairngorms from Mountain Innovation, including their new Mountains and Malts trip.

The Plastiki to set sail today on a global call to action

4 years in the making, the Plastiki will finally be setting sail from under San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge at 9.30 am PST today (Saturday), to deliver a truly important ‘message in a bottle’. Adventurer and environmentalist David de Rothschild, along with his crew including skipper Jo Royle, co-skipper David Thomson, Olav Heyerdahl, National Geographic filmmaker Max Jourdan and Myoo Medias Vern Moen, will embark on the adventure aboard a 60-foot catamaran made from 12,500 reclaimed bottles and srPET, a fully recyclable plastic. An off-the-grid vessel relying primarily on renewable energy systems, the Plastiki and her crew will journey more than 11,000 nautical miles in 100 days, drawing attention to the health of our oceans in particular the colossal amounts of plastic debris. A quick browse of their site told us for example that nearly 50% of all plastic bottles end up in the ocean. Did you know that?Their route will take them across the Pacific Ocean, stopping at many atolls and islands on the way for research and clean ups, before eventually docking in Sydney harbour.

By showcasing waste as a resource and demonstrating real-world solutions through the design and construction of the Plastiki, we think this is a truly innovative and important adventure. We wish them all the best, and will keep you updated on their progress.

We first reported on this trip back in November. Read it here.

For more info, visit http://www.theplastiki.com