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!

Inspiration for a year of adventures!

Now that the New Year has rolled in, the fuzzy head has cleared and you’re looking forward to a great 2012, it’s time to start planning your adventures.

With so many places in the World to visit, a massive range of activities to complete, and only 12 months to do it all in, we thought we’d put together a list of some of the best adventure ideas, month by month to inspire you.

All of them are provided by our ‘muchbetter‘ members, so you know that your adventure will have a positive impact on the area you go…

January – Northern Lights Wilderness Adventure

Experience the beauty of the Northern Lights on this multi-activity trip to Lapland. Cross country ski, snow shoe and dog sled amongst frozen lakes and untouched forests.

February – Winter Skills Snowhole Expedition

Instead of descending to the valley in the evenings of your expedition across the Cairngorm Plateau in Scotland, why not stay high and make the most of your time – sleeping in your own snowhole!

March – Ski Touring Holiday in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina might not be the obvious choice for a ski holiday, but the untouched wilderness is an experience not to be missed… Ski tour between the cities of Sarajevo and Mostar. Click here to see more ski touring holidays.

April – Marathon and Half Marathon Training on the Galapagos

You’ve got the New Years resolution to run a marathon, but the training has been cold and wet all spring… so why not treat yourself to this training camp in the beautiful surroundings of the Galapagos!

May – Klarlvdalen Kanot Canoe Tour

May has to be one of the best times of year to visit Sweden – it’s getting warmer, spring has sprung and the dreaded insects are only just waking up… These flexible self-led canoe tours are the perfect way to explore the Karlstad area of Sweden. See our canoe and kayak holidays page here.

June – Horse Trekking in Turkey

Run by Relief Riders, one of our muchbetter Pioneers, this is an amazing trip to Turkey, exploring the Cappadocia area on horseback. Along the way you’ll also be involved in some inspiring community based initiatives along the way.

July – Hiking Day Tours on the Peninsula of Trolls

Trolls?! Sounds intriguing! Explore this remote area of Iceland in July to experience the amazing scenery on offer. This area is as close to the Arctic Circle as you can get without actually being in it, but you’ll still be able to experience near 24 hour sunlight! Find more inspiring walking holidays here.

August – 1 or 2 week Surfariz

It’s the height of summer, Cornwall is experiencing a heat-wave, and the turquoise sea is as warm as it gets in the UK. So why not head down there for a week or two of surfing mixed with a bit of self-healing and relaxation through a range of alternative therapies. Follow this link for even more surfing holidays!

September – 2 Week Mountain Biking Adventure to Machu Picchu

Explore the mystical ruins of Machu Picchu on a mountain bike, whilst also visiting the hills around Cusco and the Incan settlements of Maras and Salineras. Lonely Planet author Katy Shorthouse and your local guide will tell you all you need to know about the fascinating culture. This link contains more info on cycling holidays.

October – Learn to Kayak in Nepal

Why not! With some world class whitewater, Nepal is a go-to destination for whitewater kayakers, so it’s also the perfect place to learn this amazing sport. This 4 day course is perfect for beginners to experts. Even morekayak holidays!

November – Learn to Dive with ReefCI in Belize

Diving gives you the opportunity to see a whole new world under the water… You’ll need to know how to do it though, so why not learn in the warm waters of Belize? You’ll also get the chance to be involved in some ocean conservation – protecting the ocean for your next visit! Find more diving holidays and marine conservation holidays here.

December – Snowshoeing in the Highlands of the Western Carpathians

What better way to finish off your year of adventures than a snowshoeing trip in Romania. It’s off the beaten track, so you’ll not bump into anyone else… T
he silence, empty forests and great local guides will ensure this is a trip you’ll never forget.

So there you have it – a year’s worth of adventure ideas. Your guide to making the most of 2012. We hope you’ll find some great ideas in here! There are so many incredible holidays on Much Better Adventures, we hope you’ll find what you are looking for. You can start your search from our Activities page, where you’ll find links to even more adventure ideas.

Best of the Grapevine, 2011

Its been a busy year at Much Better HQ new staff, new systems, loads and loads of great new companies and holidays and lots more of you guys our visitors!
The Grapevine has also been packed full of articles 163 if you count this one! Given that its the end of the year, we thought wed take a look through the past year and pick our favourite article of each month. Without further ado here we go!
January
Aspiring Adventures ask: Volunteering, who benefits?
Steve and Katy from Aspiring Adventures debate who really benefits from volunteers. With the rise of voluntourism placements, it was a particularly enlightening article.
February
Tom goes snowshoeing with Indie Outdoors
In February I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to try something totally new to me snowshoeing. Walking through untouched snow was certainly something Ill remember for a long time!
March
The softshell on your back.. who made it?
Our resident techspert (see what I did there?!) Ed has been writing a series of articles on the sustainability of kit we all use in the outdoors. This article delved into the softshells which are gaining in popularity at the moment…
April
Cycling in Iceland a how to guide.
Iceland is one of those countries that, once youve been, youve just got to go back to… Heres a great account of Tom and Legs trip, cycling around Iceland.
May
Finally, a muchbetter Alternative to Carbon Offsetting
We all travel, we all know that this does have a negative effect on the environment. So how can we minimise this? Check out what we think is the perfect alternative to carbon offsetting.
June
VIDEO – a muchbetter member’s TED talk
If you are aware of TED Talks, youll know that TED feature some of the most interesting and inspirational speakers from virtually any subject. One of our very own muchbetter members, Omar Samra from Wild Guanabana is one such individual.
July
How to – Environmentally Friendly Diving
An interesting and informative piece on how you can reduce the impact of your diving a must read for divers!
August
Meet the members – Diamond Beach Village
Despite having loads of great general interest articles, we are a site designed to help you find great holidays! We have a regular Meet the Members series, and so heres a fantastic example of a muchbetter member.
September
Obituary – George Band
It was a sad moment in the office when we heard of the death of George Band a highly accomplished mountaineer who perhaps didnt get the recognition he should have.
October
Adventure sport in schools, what should be done?
With surfing entering the curriculum for high school students in Hawaii, we debate what can be done about introducing more adventure sports into schools.
November
The Toxicity Of Surfing – Infographic
More surfing this time looking at the environmental impact of the surfing industry. Could do better, we think!
December
Rowers rescued as boat is capsized by freak wave on Transatlantic charity challenge
December bought a dramatic firsthand account of what happens when your rowing boat capsizes in the mid-Atlantic!
Well, theres a year in articles for you! Thats only 12 of the 163 articles weve posted in 2011, so theres plenty more to explore in the Grapevine!
Were always looking for contributors, so if youve got a story to tell, do get in touch!
Heres hoping for a similarly packed 2012, we hope you all have a good one!

Its been a busy year at Much Better HQ new staff, new systems, loads and loads of great new companies and their holidays, and lots more of you guys!

The Grapevine has also been packed full of articles 163 if you count this one! Given that its the end of the year, we thought wed take a look through the past year and pick our favourite article of each month. Without further ado here we go!

January – Aspiring Adventures ask: Volunteering, who benefits?

Steve and Katy from Aspiring Adventures debate who really benefits from volunteers. With the rise of voluntourism placements, it was a particularly enlightening article.

February – Tom goes snowshoeing with Indie Outdoors

In February I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to try something totally new to me snowshoeing, with Indie Outdoors. Certainly something I’ll never forget!

March – The softshell on your back.. who made it?

Our resident techspert (see what I did there?!) [Ed. “Rubbish!”] Ed has been writing a series of articles on the sustainability of kit we all use in the outdoors. This article delved into the softshells which are gaining in popularity at the moment…

April – Cycling in Iceland a how to guide.

Iceland is one of those countries that, once youve been, youve just got to go back to… Heres a great account of Tom and Legs trip, cycling around Iceland.

May – Finally, a muchbetter Alternative to Carbon Offsetting

We all travel, we all know that this does have a negative effect on the environment. So how can we minimise this? Check out what we think is the perfect alternative to carbon offsetting.

June – VIDEO – a muchbetter member’s TED talk

If you are aware of TED Talks, youll know that TED feature some of the most interesting and inspirational speakers from virtually any subject. One of our very own muchbetter members, Omar Samra from Wild Guanabana is one such individual.

July – How to – Environmentally Friendly Diving

An interesting and informative piece on how you can reduce the impact of your diving a must read for divers!

August – Meet the members – Diamond Beach Village

Despite having loads of great general interest articles, we are a site designed to help you find great holidays! Heres a fantastic example of a muchbetter member – Diamond Beach Village, from our Meet the Members series.

September – Obituary – George Band

It was a sad moment in the office when we heard of the death of George Band a highly accomplished mountaineer who perhaps didnt get the recognition he should have.

October – Adventure sport in schools, what should be done?

With surfing entering the curriculum for high school students in Hawaii, we debate what can be done about introducing more adventure sports into schools.

November – The Toxicity Of Surfing – Infographic

More surfing this time looking at the environmental impact of the surfing industry. Could do better, we think!

December – Rowers rescued as boat is capsized by freak wave on Transatlantic charity challenge

December bought a dramatic firsthand account of what happens when your rowing boat capsizes in the mid-Atlantic!

Well, theres a year in articles for you. Thats only 12 of the 163 articles weve posted in 2011, so theres plenty more to explore in the Grapevine!

Were always looking for contributors, so if youve got a story to tell, do get in touch.

Heres hoping for a similarly packed 2012, we hope you all have a good one!

Ski Train tickets now available

If you’re planning on heading to the mountains this winter for some skiing, but not too keen on burning a chunk of fuel in an aeroplane, you’ll be happy to hear that ski train tickets are now available…

With tickets only becoming available 2-3 months before travel dates, buying tickets in advance can be a bit of a nightmare when planning a trip.

By heading to www.raileurope.co.uk you can purchase tickets to Bourg St Maurice, Aime La Plagne and Moutier, from 109 return. Other routes are also available, as well as Eurostar routes.

Tickets are currently available for dates from 11th Dec to 12th Jan, with later dates becoming available shortly.

If travelling by train isn’t possible for you, you should check out the Much Better Adventures carbon friendly Flight Finder!

Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival about to kick-off

Edinburgh seems to have a disproportionate amount of mountaineers for a large UK city, perhaps thanks to a thriving outdoor scene generally in Scotland, so its no surprise that it hosts one of the UK’s biggest mountain film festivals.

This year the festival has a fantastic line-up, including films and talks from Jonny Dawes, Catherine Destivelle and Al Humphreys. Talks and films are being shown at the George Square Lecture Theatre at Edinburgh University (travel details here), from the 6th to the 9th of October, in the mornings, afternoons and evenings.

Members of the public also have the chance (still!) to submit photos for the photography competition, along with films for the festival.

To get you in the mood, here is a little taster of what you can expect…

Check out the Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival website for further details of all the events.

If you have any events which you wish to be publicised in the Grapevine, please send them through to us!

UK avalanche awareness talks are back this autumn

With more and more people hitting the ski slopes in winter, there comes an increase in those who want to get off the beaten track, and carve their own fresh tracks in the snow. Off-piste skiing and snowboarding, along with winter mountaineering and ice climbing, is a great way to experience the mountains in winter. As everyone knows, avalanches are incredibly dangerous, and often it is those who leave the more populous areas in search of virgin snow, who find themselves in danger.
In order to help educate people about the risks, the Henrys Avalanche Talks (HAT) series is back touring the UKs indoor ski slopes this autumn. Covering the basic rules of how to avoid avalanches, and what to do when they do hit, the talks may well help you stay safe this winter. HAT are offering more in-depth talks on 2 dates, for those after more detailed information.
Tickets are 8 and you can catch the talks at the following dates;
Ride Hard Ride Safe Introductory Talk 7.30pm
Tuesday 25 October 2011 7.30pm Xscape, Leeds
Wednesday 26 October 2011 Xscape, Glasgow
Thursday 27 October 2011 The Snowdome, Tamworth
Wednesday 2 November 2011 Ellis Brigham , Covent Garden
Tuesday 8 November 2011 Xscape, Milton Keynes
Wednesday 9 November 2011 Ellis Brigham , Castlefield, Manchester
Ride Hard Ride Safe In-depth Talk 8pm
Thursday 3 November 2011 Ellis Brigham , Covent Garden
Thursday 10 November 2011 Ellis Brigham, Castlefield, Manchester
More information on the HAT talks is available on the Henrys Avalanche Talks website.

With more and more people hitting the ski slopes in winter, there comes an increase in those who want to get off the beaten track, and carve their own fresh tracks in the snow. Off-piste skiing and snowboarding, along with winter mountaineering and ice climbing, is a great way to experience the mountains in winter. As everyone knows, avalanches are incredibly dangerous, and often it is those who leave the more populous areas in search of virgin snow, who find themselves in danger.

In order to help educate people about the risks, the Henrys Avalanche Talks (HAT) series is back touring the UKs indoor ski slopes this autumn. Covering the basic rules of how to avoid avalanches, and what to do when they do hit, the talks may well help you stay safe this winter. HAT are offering more in-depth talks on 2 dates, for those after more detailed information.

Tickets are 8 and you can catch the talks at the following dates;

Ride Hard Ride Safe Introductory Talk 7.30pm

Tuesday 25 October 2011 7.30pm Xscape, Leeds

Wednesday 26 October 2011 Xscape, Glasgow

Thursday 27 October 2011 The Snowdome, Tamworth

Wednesday 2 November 2011 Ellis Brigham , Covent Garden

Tuesday 8 November 2011 Xscape, Milton Keynes

Wednesday 9 November 2011 Ellis Brigham , Castlefield, Manchester

Ride Hard Ride Safe In-depth Talk 8pm

Thursday 3 November 2011 Ellis Brigham , Covent Garden

Thursday 10 November 2011 Ellis Brigham, Castlefield, Manchester

More information on the HAT talks is available on the Henrys Avalanche Talks website.

Meet the members – Nature Travels

Sweden has loads of great adventure opportunities, from beautiful walks in summer to dog-sledding and skiing in winter. Nature Travels take full advantage of this wonderful country, and here they introduce themselves to the Much Better community!

1. Who are you and your team (name, age, where you are from?)
Nature Travels Ltd is owned and managed by Bob and Sofia Carter. Bob is British, Sofia Swedish (from the Stockholm Archipelago). We have both lived and worked in Sweden for many years and, after spending 5 years in Switzerland, relocated to the UK and founded Nature Travels. We are now in our sixth year, having celebrated our fifth birthday in March 2011.
The third member of the Nature Travels Team, Andrea, sadly left us to return to Austria in July and our new member of staff will be starting with us in September, so their identity will be revealed shortly!
2. What inspired you to start, and how long have you been doing it?
Sofia previously worked in restaurant and hotel management in Sweden, Bob in language travel and IT, and we have both always had a private interest in ecotourism, conservation and a wide variety of outdoor activities. We felt strongly that Sweden was very much underrepresented as a destination for world-class outdoor activities, not only in winter but also in summer. We felt that attractions such as a city break to Stockholm or trip to the Ice Hotel were well-known, but that the wonderful opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, horse riding, hiking, ski touring and dog sledding were comparatively little-known, especially in the UK. It is our mission to enable more travellers to discover the beauty, variety and vastness of Sweden while maintaining a strong focus on sustainable practices.
3. Why did you choose Sweden?
For many reasons. We love Sweden and know the country, its culture, language, landscape and the range of activities it has to offer, and believe that we can legitimately claim to be UK experts on outdoor and ecotourism activities in Sweden. We believe the country has huge potential as an outdoor destination and are enjoying helping more and more travellers discover its delights. In 2011, around 1200 clients travelled with us, and we have consistently grown beyond our projections since we started trading in March 2006. Sweden is also a world-leader in sustainable tourism practices, giving us a choice of quality local partner companies with which to work. For an overview of the following activities on Much Better Adventures, please see:
Dog sledding [link text to http://www.muchbetteradventures.com/listing/view/568/dog-sledding-in-swedish-lapland]
Sea kayaking [link text to http://www.muchbetteradventures.com/listing/view/570/archipelago-sea-kayaking-in-sweden]
Hiking [link text to http://www.muchbetteradventures.com/listing/view/570/archipelago-sea-kayaking-in-sweden]
4. What makes you muchbetter?
We work only with small, locally-owned ecotourism partner companies in Sweden, many of whom would be unable to work with larger tour operators due to the nature or size of their business. All guides and other staff are local and we adhere to strict environmental practices both here in the UK and when selecting local partners. For more information on Nature Travels ecotourism policy, please see http://www.naturetravels.co.uk/ecotourism.htm
5. Insider tip for your area
When travelling by train in Sweden, wait until just within 90 days of travel to book your tickets. Fares will be much cheaper than if booking further in advance. But book as soon as possible within 90 days, because the lowest fares are limited availability!
6. What is the view from your office window? Please include a photo!
This is a lovely Peregrine Falcon (we think) paid a visit to the office garden a while ago!

Who are you and your team?

Nature Travels Ltd is owned and managed by Bob and Sofia Carter. Bob is British, Sofia Swedish (from the Stockholm Archipelago). We have both lived and worked in Sweden for many years and, after spending 5 years in Switzerland, relocated to the UK and founded Nature Travels. We will begin our seventh year of trading in March 2012. The third member of the Nature Travels Team is Viki, whose main area of responsibility is dealing with customer enquiries and bookings.

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

Sofia previously worked in restaurant and hotel management in Sweden, Bob in language travel and IT, and we have both always had a private interest in ecotourism, conservation and a wide variety of outdoor activities. We felt strongly that Sweden was very much underrepresented as a destination for world-class outdoor activities, not only in winter but also in summer. We felt that attractions such as a city break to Stockholm or trip to the Ice Hotel were well-known, but that the wonderful opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, horse riding, hiking, ski touring and dog sledding were comparatively little-known, especially in the UK. It is our mission to enable more travellers to discover the beauty, variety and vastness of Sweden while maintaining a strong focus on sustainable practices.

Why did you choose Sweden?

For many reasons. We love Sweden and know the country, its culture, language, landscape and the range of activities it has to offer, and believe that we can legitimately claim to be UK experts on outdoor and ecotourism activities in Sweden. We believe the country has huge potential as an outdoor destination and are enjoying helping more and more travellers discover its delights. In 2011, around 1200 clients travelled with us, and we have consistently grown beyond our projections since we started trading in March 2006. Sweden is also a world-leader in sustainable tourism practices, giving us a choice of quality local partner companies with which to work.

What makes you muchbetter?

We work only with small, locally-owned ecotourism partner companies in Sweden, many of whom would be unable to work with larger tour operators due to the nature or size of their business. All guides and other staff are local and we adhere to strict environmental practices both here in the UK and when selecting local partners. You can see our Sustainability Policy here.

Insider tip for your area

When travelling by train in Sweden, wait until just within 90 days of travel to book your tickets. Fares will be much cheaper than if booking further in advance. But book as soon as possible within 90 days, because the lowest fares are limited availability!

What is the view from your office window?

This is a lovely Peregrine Falcon (we think) paid a visit to the office garden a while ago!

You can check out the following Nature Travels’ adventures here; Dog sleddingin Lapland,Archipelago Sea kayaking, Hiking on Kings Trail an in Serak.

MuleBar bring out compostable wrappers.

MuleBar are rolling out compostable wrappers across their range as a way of combating the environmental pressure caused by food wrappings. With increasing numbers of people taking part in events, and consuming energy products during their leisure time, our countryside is becoming covered in plastic.

MuleBar’s compostable wrappers are obviously not an excuse to drop litter, but enable you to take home and dispose of them in an environmentally sensible way, echoing the company’s sustainable ethos.

Using non-GMO wood pulp from certified sources, the wrappers can be composted at home, or industrially. The way the composting takes places means that the wrappers won’t degrade on your shelves, as they require warmth, moisture and the presence of micro-organisms to initiate the degradation.

The compostable wrappers are first being used on the most popular flavour, Apple Strudel, and their range of products can be found on theMuleBar website, in cycle shops and independent sports retailers (as well as in selected Tesco stores).

Whilst we’re on the subject of MuleBar, check out the MuleBar GIRL video below – great little edit!

Ladies Pursuits from liammurphyfilms.com on Vimeo.

Meet the members – Let Loose With Adventure

My name is Kevin Albin. I am 54 years old, originally from London and now living in France. I run a trekking and expedition company, Let Loose with Adventure. I guide on all my own trips, and do use trusted and professional freelance staff and doctors when the trip requires it.
I was a police officer with Thames Valley Police for 25 years, and although I loved my career, I wanted to do something afterwards. As I’d always been involved in activities such as walking, climbing and travelling, getting into the outdoor industry was an obvious choice. I retrained as an International Mountain Leader and set up my own company. The name Let Loose with Adventure came from being ‘let loose’ for a second career. I also work freelance for a number of companies, some youth development and some charity based.
On leaving the police I went to work on some conservation projects in Borneo. I loved it. We had a great opportunity of working in Danum Valley for the Royal Society and then Maliau Basin on a mapping project for scientists. S.E. Asia became quite a magnet for me. The more I worked there freelance the more I wanted to run my own trips there. There is a lot going on in Borneo and people are trying to hold back the logging and retain the forests for wildlife. I also work in the Pyrenees, and this appealed to me as not only is the area stunning in beauty, it’s full of wildlife and so a great place to see animals but also to track them. It’s not the honey pot that the European Alps have become and it has kept a lot of its natural feel.
I would say that everything I do genuinely comes from the heart. I have recently been short listed in the Wanderlust Magazine World Guide Awards, something I am absolutely thrilled about and on reading some of the things my previous clients have written, I am pleased to learn that my feelings for people and the things we do have been what my clients appreciate.
The jungle is a beautiful place; it really is alive with amazing animals, plants, and the people that life there are very special. It is, of course, hot and humid, and you have to make the effort to spend time there. Some people can initially find this difficult. My top tip is not to fight this. Do all the right things for acclimatization but allow your body to adjust and relax into your new environment, it has a lot to offer.
My office is in my home on the ground floor. As I look out there now, there’s wigwam that my 6 year-old son has built to sleep out in. He has already travelled to many places and been in the forest a few times. Last year, he and I took off on a three week trip to Canada to do some canoeing and fishing. I’m pleased he has a taste for the outdoors.

Back again with another introduction to one of our muchbetter members; Let Loose With Adventure!

Who are you and your team?

My name is Kevin Albin. I am 54 years old, originally from London and now living in France. I run a trekking and expedition company, Let Loose with Adventure. I guide on all my own trips, and do use trusted and professional freelance staff and doctors when the trip requires it.

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

I was a police officer with Thames Valley Police for 25 years, and although I loved my career, I wanted to do something afterwards. As I’d always been involved in activities such as walking, climbing and travelling, getting into the outdoor industry was an obvious choice. I retrained as an International Mountain Leader and set up my own company. The name Let Loose with Adventure came from being ‘let loose’ for a second career. I also work freelance for a number of companies, some youth development and some charity based.

Why did you choose your various destinations?

On leaving the police I went to work on some conservation projects in Borneo. I loved it. We had a great opportunity of working in Danum Valley for the Royal Society and then Maliau Basin on a mapping project for scientists. S.E. Asia became quite a magnet for me. The more I worked there freelance the more I wanted to run my own trips there. There is a lot going on in Borneo and people are trying to hold back the logging and retain the forests for wildlife. I also work in the Pyrenees, and this appealed to me as not only is the area stunning in beauty, it’s full of wildlife and so a great place to see animals but also to track them. It’s not the honey pot that the European Alps have become and it has kept a lot of its natural feel.

What makes you muchbetter?

I would say that everything I do genuinely comes from the heart. I have recently been short listed in the Wanderlust Magazine World Guide Awards, something I am absolutely thrilled about and on reading some of the things my previous clients have written, I am pleased to learn that my feelings for people and the things we do have been what my clients appreciate.

Insider tip for your area

The jungle is a beautiful place; it really is alive with amazing animals, plants, and the people that life there are very special. It is, of course, hot and humid, and you have to make the effort to spend time there. Some people can initially find this difficult. My top tip is not to fight this. Do all the right things for acclimatization but allow your body to adjust and relax into your new environment, it has a lot to offer.

What is the view from your office?

My office is in my home on the ground floor. As I look out there now, there’s wigwam that my 6 year-old son has built to sleep out in. He has already travelled to many places and been in the forest a few times. Last year, he and I took off on a three week trip to Canada to do some canoeing and fishing. I’m pleased he has a taste for the outdoors.

Let Loose With Adventure run a range of trips in Europe, Asia and Africa, you can see their range of trips here, and their profile here.

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.

How to race the Iditarod Trail Invitational on foot

We recently bought you Kathis guide to completing the Iditarod Trail Invitational by bike, and now we have Jerym’s article on how to complete the 1000 mile race on foot.

The Iditarod Trail Invitational is a 350 or 1000 mile race across Alaska in winter – self supported, its a rather chilly undertaking! Jerym, an IT consultant from NZ (now living in London) has completed the 1000 mile Anchorage to Nome version of the race on foot, pulling his kit in a Pulk (sledge).

– How fit and/or experienced do I need to be?
You need to have done the Iditarod Trail Invitational 350 mile race to qualify for the 1000 mile version,
To compete in the 350 you need to prove to the organisers that you are capable of completing the 350 by doing their training course or one of a number of qualifying races, if you think you have done something else that qualifies you for the race you can discuss this with the organisers, Bill or Kathi.
Need to be able to cover about 30 miles per day over varying snow covered terrain carrying most of the gear you need to survive, i.e. Bivy bag / tent, sleeping bag, cooker, warm cloths etc
– What training methods would you recommend?
For the foot section, long walks / slow runs with a pack on, or some people tow old car tyres to simulate towing a sled in the snow. You should aim to train 5-6 days a week for at least 8-12 weeks building up so you are able to cover between 30-50 miles per day.
– What kit would you recommend?
For myself, I carry a -40 degree rated sleeping bag
Goretex bivy bag (but be aware the bivy bags condensate a bit in the extreme cold).
MSR White Spirits Cooker (Gas cookers stop working below about -25 degree)
Pan for boiling water, Plastic Knife / folk / Spoon / plate
Waterbottles or Camelback (note the pipes on these freeze easily at -40 so need to insulate them)
Merino wool base layer clothing
Various wool and Fleece mid layers to take on and off as the temperature changes
Gortex Outer Layers (Jacket & Trousers)
Down Jacket (very important for below -40)
RGH Design Mits and Inner Woolen Gloves
Thick wool socks with wicking technology to avoid blisters
Gortex Running Shoes
Neo Over-boots
Petzl Head torch
Garmin GPS
Utility Knife of some kind (e.g. Swiss Army knife)
Hauling sled (Pulk) if by foot
This is not a comprehensive list, but items I would definitely make sure you have.
– What were the highs and lows for you during the event?
Highs
The people you meet on the Iditarod trail Other competitors, support crew and people who live in the villages you pass through. Most people are incredibly friendly and go out of their way to help you.
Obviously crossing the finish line!
The magnificent Alaska scenery along the way
Lows
4am in the morning when youre tired, hungry and cold, and still have 50miles to the next check point
When the snow and extreme conditions slow you progress to below 2 mph and you know its going to take you over 5 hours to cover 10 miles, when you know you can do it in just over an hour on the road running!
Not seeing anyone for days and wondering if youre still actually on the right trail!
– All in, how much would it cost me to do this?
Entry:
$1000 for 350 mile race
$1150 for 1000 mile race
Flights to Anchorage depends on where youre coming from
Accommodation and Food in Anchorage $150 per day
Race Gear E.g. sleeping bag etc starting with nothing: Approx $3000
So I would say $5000 if youre doing it from scratch
– Logistically, how should I go about organizing it?
Talk to the Race Organisers, Bill and Kathi can give lots of advice, and are always happy too.
Follow the links on the website, previous racers blogs, they give good advice and often recommend the best gear to use.
Talk to racers who have done it if possible experience counts for a lot in these races and youll find most people are more than happy to share their knowledge.
Prepare a full gear list for the race
Test as much of it as possible before the race I.e. make sure you can start your cooker before you hit the trail!
Allow 2-3 months training time, min 3 days in Anchorage to acclimatize and recovery from jet lag, organise your gear and get anything else you need. There are a number of good outdoor stores there. Allow 7-10 days for the 350 mile race and 30 days for the 1000 miler
Allow a couple of days to recover and to return to Anchorage

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

You need to have done the Iditarod Trail Invitational 350 mile race to qualify for the 1000 mile version. To compete in the 350 you need to prove to the organisers that you are capable of completing the 350 by doing their training course or one of a number of qualifying races, if you think you have done something else that qualifies you for the race you can discuss this with the organisers, Bill or Kathi. You need to be able to cover about 30 miles per day over varying snow covered terrain carrying most of the gear you need to survive, i.e. Bivy bag / tent, sleeping bag, cooker, warm cloths etc

What training methods would you recommend?

For the foot section, long walks / slow runs with a pack on, or some people tow old car tyres to simulate towing a sled in the snow. You should aim to train 5-6 days a week for at least 8-12 weeks building up so you are able to cover between 30-50 miles per day.

What kit would you recommend?

On the Iditarod Trail Invitational, I carry;

– -40 degree rated sleeping bagGoretex bivy bag (but be aware the bivy bags condensate a bit in the extreme cold).

– MSR White Spirits Cooker (Gas cookers stop working below about -25 degree)

– Pan for boiling water

– Plastic Knife / folk / Spoon / plateWaterbottles or Camelback (note the pipes on these freeze easily at -40 so need to insulate them)

– Merino wool base layer clothingVarious wool and Fleece mid layers to take on and off as the temperature changes

– Gortex Outer Layers (Jacket & Trousers)

– Down Jacket (very important for below -40)

– RGH Design Mits and Inner Woolen Gloves

– Thick wool socks with wicking technology to avoid blisters

– Gortex Running Shoes

– Neo Over-boots

– Petzl Head torch

– Garmin GPS

– Utility Knife of some kind (e.g. Swiss Army knife)

– Hauling sled (Pulk) if by foot

This is not a comprehensive list, but items I would definitely make sure you have.

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

Highs – The people you meet on the Iditarod trail Other competitors, support crew and people who live in the villages you pass through. Most people are incredibly friendly and go out of their way to help you.Obviously crossing the finish line! The magnificent Alaska scenery along the way.

Lows – 4am in the morning when youre tired, hungry and cold, and still have 50 miles to the next check point. When the snow and extreme conditions slow you progress to below 2 mph and you know its going to take you over 5 hours to cover 10 miles, when you know you can do it in just over an hour on the road running! Not seeing anyone for days and wondering if youre still actually on the right trail!

All in, how much would it cost me to do this, and how do I organise it?

Entry:$1000 for 350 mile race, $1150 for 1000 mile race. Flights to Anchorage, accommodation and food in Anchorage – $150 per day. Race Gear E.g. sleeping bag etc starting with nothing: Approx $3000 So I would say $5000 if youre doing it from scratch.Talk to the Race Organisers, Bill and Kathi at Alaska Ultra Sport can give lots of advice, and are always happy too. Follow the links on the website, previous racers blogs, they give good advice and often recommend the best gear to use.Talk to racers who have done it if possible experience counts for a lot in these races and youll find most people are more than happy to share their knowledge.

Prepare a full gear list for the raceTest as much of it as possible before the race I.e. make sure you can start your cooker before you hit the trail!Allow 2-3 months training time, min 3 days in Anchorage to acclimatize and recovery from jet lag, organise your gear and get anything else you need. There are a number of good outdoor stores there. Allow 7-10 days for the 350 mile race and 30 days for the 1000 miler. Allow a couple of days to recover and to return to Anchorage.

Follow this link to theIditarod Trail Invitational homepage, and if you would like to take a holiday in Alaska, why not check outAlaska Ultra Sport. If you’re planning a winter walking holiday yourself, then have a read through our winter walking holidays in Scotland page – a great place to start!

Photos – Authors own, and Kathi’s, from Alaska Ultra Sport.

Nurture Lakeland at the Keswick Mountain Festival

This year, the Keswick Mountain Festival (18 22 May) set in the beautiful English Lake District has selected Nurture Lakeland as its charity of choice.
Keswick Mountain Festival (KMF) will be a family fun fest of adventure with something for everyone. Whether youre an experienced adventurer or new in the game, the KMF provides the perfect weekend to try out many activities and enjoy talks from house hold names in adventure.
If youre heading to this years festival, look out for exploration celebrities such as Ray Mears, Mike Beaumont, Sir Chris Bonington OBE, and Alastair Lee.
Nurture Lakeland is a charity that helps look after the breath-taking landscapes and fascinating wildlife of the Lake District and Cumbria. It also promotes sustainable recreational and challenge events and has commissioned lots of research into how adventure tourism can benefit the local area. As KMF is set in one of the Lake Districts adventure hubs, the events support for the multi-award winning sustainability charity goes hand in hand.
You can find Nurture Lakeland with their interactive and educational stand, come along to find out more about the work of the charity and how it is improving and maintaining the landscapes of the area.
Supporting Lakeland Landscapes
Nurture Lakeland will also be at many of this years adrenalin pumping events. The following will provide you with an opt out opportunity to donate; this means a small donation can be added onto your activity and benefit the local area.
1) planetFear Lakes Epic – Route teaser
Arguably one of the most naturally beautiful national parks in the UK, The Lakes District is renowned and respected as an incredible mountain biking destination. Throw in Englands highest mountains, unpredictable weather and unforgiving terrain and the result is a challenge in an amazing 2 day mountain biking adventure called the Lakes Epic!
Riders are expected to be physically and technically capable of riding (and walking) some challenging trails that include steep climbs, exposed single track, rocky and technical descents. The proposed route includes more than 100kms of riding and 3,000m altitude gains over the two days.
2) Keswick Sportive
A challenge for all levels of cyclist with a choice of three routes of differing distances & difficulty. Taking in some challenging & spectacular Lakeland climbs the event is held in conjunction with the Keswick Mountain Festival.
3) NASOP
The National Academy for Sport & Outdoor Photography is unique to the UK and provides photo-training and photography events for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. Their mission is to promote outdoor adventure sports and mountain photography in the UK through professional training workshops and exciting photo-events. At this years Keswick Mountain Festival, NASOP are running a range of inspirational photography courses.
Inspirational Talks
Nurture Lakeland is linked with this years Fell Theatre presentations, which will be hosting 25 talks over Friday Sunday. These hour long presentations will cover topics from mountaineering to conservation. Guest speakers will include our very own Sue Savage and Ruth Kirk, National Park Director Richard Leafe and the inspirational Andrew Holgate (Iron Man). Nurture Lakeland will be introducing each speaker and encouraging the audience to give donations when they exit. Each talk will be charged 3, 1 of which will come directly to Nurture Lakeland.
For more information on the Keswick Mountain Festival visit www.keswickmountainfestival.co.uk
For more information on the inspiring work of Nurture Lakeland visit www.nurturelakeland.org

This year, the Keswick Mountain Festival (18 22 May) set in the beautiful English Lake District has selected Nurture Lakeland as its charity of choice.

Keswick Mountain Festival (KMF) will be a family fun fest of adventure with something for everyone. Whether youre an experienced adventurer or new in the game, the KMF provides the perfect weekend to try out many activities and enjoy talks from house hold names in adventure.

If youre heading to this years festival, look out for exploration celebrities such as Ray Mears, Mike Beaumont, Sir Chris Bonington OBE, and Alastair Lee.

Nurture Lakeland is a charity that helps look after the breath-taking landscapes and fascinating wildlife of the Lake District and Cumbria. It also promotes sustainable recreational and challenge events and has commissioned lots of research into how adventure tourism can benefit the local area. As KMF is set in one of the Lake Districts adventure hubs, the events support for the multi-award winning sustainability charity goes hand in hand.

You can find Nurture Lakeland with their interactive and educational stand, come along to find out more about the work of the charity and how it is improving and maintaining the landscapes of the area.

Supporting Lakeland Landscapes

Nurture Lakeland will also be at many of this years adrenalin pumping events. The following will provide you with an opt out opportunity to donate; this means a small donation can be added onto your activity and benefit the local area.

1) planetFear Lakes Epic – Route teaserArguably one of the most naturally beautiful national parks in the UK, The Lakes District is renowned and respected as an incredible mountain biking destination. Throw in Englands highest mountains, unpredictable weather and unforgiving terrain and the result is a challenge in an amazing 2 day mountain biking adventure called the Lakes Epic!Riders are expected to be physically and technically capable of riding (and walking) some challenging trails that include steep climbs, exposed single track, rocky and technical descents. The proposed route includes more than 100kms of riding and 3,000m altitude gains over the two days.

2) Keswick SportiveA challenge for all levels of cyclist with a choice of three routes of differing distances & difficulty. Taking in some challenging & spectacular Lakeland climbs the event is held in conjunction with the Keswick Mountain Festival.

3) NASOPThe National Academy for Sport & Outdoor Photography is unique to the UK and provides photo-training and photography events for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. Their mission is to promote outdoor adventure sports and mountain photography in the UK through professional training workshops and exciting photo-events. At this years Keswick Mountain Festival, NASOP are running a range of inspirational photography courses.

Inspirational Talks

Nurture Lakeland is linked with this years Fell Theatre presentations, which will be hosting 25 talks over Friday Sunday. These hour long presentations will cover topics from mountaineering to conservation. Guest speakers will include our very own Sue Savage and Ruth Kirk, National Park Director Richard Leafe and the inspirational Andrew Holgate (Iron Man). Nurture Lakeland will be introducing each speaker and encouraging the audience to give donations when they exit. Each talk will be charged 3, 1 of which will come directly to Nurture Lakeland.

For more information on the Keswick Mountain Festival visit www.keswickmountainfestival.co.uk

For more information on the inspiring work of Nurture Lakeland visit www.nurturelakeland.org

Click here for the muchbetter holidays and accommodations in the Lake District.