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Hiking

Gordon’s Travel Shelfie: The Salt Path and The Only Way is West

Gordon’s Travel Shelfie: The Salt Path and The Only Way is West

Comparative Review Two books, recently released, cover the same territory. Not in the geographical sense as one is set in Northern Spain and the other in South-west England. The Salt Path by Raynor Winn and The Only Way is West by Bradley Chermside are both accounts of the authors walks along long-distance footpaths. Not only that but in doing the hikes both authors are changed. As the books cover similar themes but in totally different styles and emphasis I decided to briefly review each in a comparative review. Having read both I cannot recommend one over the other. That would do one of these two well-written books and injustice. It is for you to decide which to read but I would recommend both. The Salt Path by Raynor Winn After having their home and livelihood repossessed Raynor Winn and her husband…

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Five things you must do in Exmouth, Western Australia

Five things you must do in Exmouth, Western Australia

Exmouth is remote; at least the Western Australian version is. Stuck up on a hot, dry, cyclone prone peninsula it was ignored by the indigenous people as a place of punishment. Only the military showed any interest, firstly during World War II and later as a satellite communications hub. Now, however, Exmouth is the centre of a thriving adventure scene. Situated on a finger of land on Australia’s western coast it is washed by the Indian Ocean on one side and the quieter sheltered waters of the gulf on the other side. Much of the North-west Cape is protected. The Cape Range National Park covers the western half of the cape and the Ningaloo Marine Park the whole of the Ningaloo Reef, Australia’s ‘other’ barrier reef. In addition, there are also smaller reserves and protected areas along the coast. Although this means…

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Sicily Unpacked: Active in San Vito

Sicily Unpacked: Active in San Vito

Under the waves lapping on the rocks in the sheltered cove of Sicily’s north-western tip it was a completely different world to that above the waves. Seaweed in all its myriad forms covered the rocks. Flashes of silver revealed where tiny fish were feeding. On many of these submarine rocks clusters of black spiny spheres of sea urchins lay in wait for their prey. A thousand flashes of light reflected off a shoal of fish twisting and turning pretending they were larger as one than they were as individuals put in an appearance. A brightly coloured rainbow wrasse as colourful as any tropical fish was feeding on algae from the rocks. Even a lone harmless jelly fish put in an appearance… Snorkelling is not the only activity around San Vito lo Capo, a small town on the peninsula in the…

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Activity breaks to keep you fit

Activity breaks to keep you fit

It is about the middle of January that the New Year’s resolutions made are first broken then forgotten. Most common among the broken resolutions are those involving keeping fit, being more healthy or exercising more. Mid-January is also the time of year when we begin thinking about the where and what of our travel plans. Perhaps, for the reasons above, you are looking to be a little more active on your holiday. Alternatively you might be an active person looking for something a little different in an activity break. I have researched and discovered a few activity breaks that appealed to me and thought you might like to share them with me. Some are to far flung and unusual places and others are gentler and easier to get to. For those who hesitate to take an activity break fearing it…

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Dartmoor: Top 10 things to do

Dartmoor: Top 10 things to do

Dartmoor National Park occupies a large portion of Devon just to the north of Plymouth. It has recently earned fame as the setting for War Horse and was the setting for Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles. The granite massif that rises up from the Devon lowlands is, for the most part, a bleak and desolate moorland; a unique landscape in Britain. It was for this reason that, during Napoleonic times Dartmoor prison was built there. There are plenty of things to do on Dartmoor and, what I like to call Greater Dartmoor. Here then are my Top Ten in no particular order. How many are in your top ten? 1. Cycle Drake’s Trail Drakes Trail is a hiking and cycling route from Plymouth to Tavistock passing by Sir Francis Drake’s birth place and Buckland Abbey which he owned in later…

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Hiking the Fishermen’s Trail

Hiking the Fishermen’s Trail

The day was overcast and the waves rolled in from the Atlantic relentlessly pounding the sandstone cliffs. Spray rose several metres into the air. Perched on the very edges of the cliffs fishermen stood with their lines cast down to the maelstrom of white, gray and blue swirling beneath them. It was obvious now why the sandy trail along the cliffs was called the Fisherman’s Trail. Jose, our guide, took us to the edge to peer over at the rocks below. Huge chunks of cliff the size of a London bus lay at the foot of the cliffs where they had fallen. He pointed out one rock that with large circular “footprints” across it. Those, he said, had been identified as the footprints of elephants; proof that elephants had once roamed Portugal. It was quite convincing tale but I was…

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Hiking Boots, Cheese, Schubert

Hiking Boots, Cheese, Schubert

“What,” I asked, “Do Schubert, cheese and hiking have to do with each other?” Visiting Bregenzerwald, a forgotten corner of western Austria I was soon to discover how the three are closely linked by their association with the lush alpine meadows of the region. Real tradition is important in Bregenzerwald and is still a part of everyday life. It was the desire to keep the traditional way of life of the small farming communities that was the impetus behind the formation of the Käsestrasse or Cheese Road. In Bregenzerwald the average number of cows per farm is twelve. Becoming part of the globalised agricultural machine would wipe out the livelihood of Bregenzerwald’s 1200 farming families and their traditional way of life. Working on the dual philosophy that small is beautiful and quality is better than quantity a group of visionary…

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Activity holidays to get you moving

Activity holidays to get you moving

A report published in the Lancet suggests that as many deaths are caused by inactivity as by smoking (see BBC report). Not enough people are exercising apparently. So here are a few ideas for activity holidays to get you moving that I have tried. Cycling along the Danube Cycling along any river is relatively easy if you go with the flow because rivers flow downhill. Pick one of the great rivers of Europe to cycle beside and because they were once the great trade routes you will pass plenty of history, several cities and loads of great scenery. I chose a 300km section of the Danube to Vienna. I cycled each section and had my luggage transported ahead to my next hotel for me. All of this was arranged by ??? Who also offer other cycle routes along other European…

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