We've just got back from two weeks in Sweden. What a place. People are friendly and helpful. The nature reserve we spent time in (Rogen) is not wilderness, but it feels like it. You hardly see another soul and when we were wild camping we would often wake to hear reindeer quietly walking through our camp.
Not to put too fine a point on it, five days of wild camping was enough. We spent a couple of days in Ramundsberget in a spa hotel chilling out and then our final weekend in Stockholm.
If you would like to see some photos, you can see them here.
Sometimes I read an article which just make me laugh with their great sense of humour, mixed with the delight of just doing something different.
Ants Bolingbroke-Kent got in touch with me about an article she wrote about a journey she made around the Black Sea on a Honda C90 motorbike. Honda C90s have been around for years and you can find them all around the world. They have great bikes.
So, while most people are doing motorbike tours on monster-sized BMWs, Ants was doing it on something whose engine was probably 80% smaller than most tourers on motorbikes.
Read the article here. It's a good one!
It's a frustrating morning if you are trying to get hold of tickets for the London 2012 Olympics unless, of course, you are into niche sports. If so, then I expect you are having a good day!
Well, my mind is elsewhere when it comes to the near future, to be honest. To get back into the swing of the life of adventure I knew long ago, the four of us are working on a mini-adventure in Scandinavia in the next few weeks.
We are heading into the middle of Sweden to canoe around the lakes in the Rogen Nature Reserve where is nothing but wilderness, water and wild beasts (perhaps a few other mini-adventurers. Wild camping for five days.
I saw this video on Tom's website and I had to share it.
It's been a few days since I updated my diaries on the website solely down to the fact that I have been away on business with the company I work for in Philadelphia for afew days.
As usual at these events, there is not much time for seeing the place because of the number of meetings I attend, the socialising (it's not all bad) and the travelling to and fro (helped by the fact that a friend of mine is a British Airways pilot and managed to get me a more comfortable seat across and back over the Atlantic!).
The main reason I have not updated my diaries is the jet lag and lack of sleep for the last few days. I got back on Thursday last week from the US and I have been in pieces since then. Air travel is necessary for my work but my body thinks different.
Anyway, I will start updating my diary on the website tonight and continue the journey through Morocco.
It's a wonder that anyone travels around the world when we have so much of the world delivered to us through our televisions. In the UK, the BBC broadcasts amazing wildlife, history and anthropological programmes, as well as travel and adventure programmes.
But, there is nothing like experiencing the world out there for yourself. You can't beat seeing Victoria Falls up close. You can't beat seeing the stars above you when you are sleeping out in the desert. You can't beat the hospitality of the wonderful people you meet when you are out there. You can't beat the smell of a Mumbai slum which you will never experience just by watching 'Slum Dog Millionaire'.
Unless you actually travel to these places you see 'on the box', you will be missing the essence of the places you see on television. Many people want to do adventure travelling but prevent themselves doing it for irrational reasons. I admit it. I had irrational fears about cycling down Africa twenty years ago, but Dan and I did it anyway.
On that thought, I have put together my top ten irrational fears about adventure travelling which could have prevented me from doing it. What do you think? Do you have any fears you would add to the list? Add a comment below if you do!
My Irrational Fears about Adventure Travelling
I'd love to hear your comments on my list!
I need to pick up the pace of writing up my travel journal. I'm on Day 26 of the diary and still in Spain. It's interesting reading my reactions to what we saw and heard. Some it rings true today, whether that's the local people's reactions to Moroccan immigrants or their attitudes to us.
Oh, for an extra hour or two in bed, and that’s what we all took. The sun was up and the mist was flowing along the Sound of Mull as we got ourselves ready for another day of exploring the island. On the road between Salen and Gruline we picked up a hitchhiker and dropped him off just past the MacQuarie Mausoleum (Australia’s first Governor). He was planning to walk past Loch Ba and up Beinn Talaidh (761m) and had been camping in Salen.
The road from Gruline which follows the south side of Loch Na Keal provides stunning views and takes you below cliffs which look as though they could come down on you at any time. The road turns south as it passes the island of Inch Kenneth and past secluded houses. One house was flying a Royal Marines flag outside.
The road wound up through the hills and down to follow Loch Scridain. There were few cars but plenty have been catered for judging by the number of passing places provided on all of the islands’ roads. We followed the road around the loch to the Pennyghael post office and shop. It was run by a friendly woman from northern England and we chatted about seeing eagles and otters while buying lunch and a map.
Soon after, we were driving up the “challenging road” to Carsaig on the Firth of Orn. At the end of the road, having past a lone cyclist, the route drops down to an area where only five or six cars can park. Having parked, we had our lunch by the storm damaged pier. In the car park, one couple in a mobile home were struggling to get up the hill but were soon helped by a family in a four wheel drive truck. We soon set off on the coastal path towards the Carsaig Arches near Malcolm’s Point. At Carsaig, there are a handful of houses in the small, green valley. The path takes you along the scree from the cliffs above which occasionally flew some golden eagles and plenty of crows.
Penny and Emily stopped after about an hour of walking while Toby and I pressed to try to reach the Arches. Some way further, I spotted an adder sliding under a stone by the path. I rolled the rock away to show Toby the grey and silver snake which hissed and looked ready to bite, before once more escaping to somewhere shadier and safer. Rounding the next headland, I decided the Arches were too far for us on this trip so we headed back to the girls, and back to the car.
Back in the car, we had to reverse back up the hill, having a similar problem to the earlier mobile home couple. After some clutch burning activity, we headed up the hill again and back to the post office and shop at Pennyghael for a cup of tea and a break.
Our homeward route took us through Glen More towards the beautiful Loch Spelve and Craignure, before stopping in the shop at Salen for supplies.
Mull is stunningly beautiful, wild and moving. We talked about the possibility of moving here to live today and yesterday. It sounds like a pipe dream but it’s one worth thinking about.
From the Crossan ferry to Lochaline, the road takes you through wild, open country for an hour on a single track road through the glacial landscape until you arrive in the small ferry terminal where the friendly port assistant sells you a ticket and briefs you about the short crossing to Mull.
The ferry dropped us off at fishNish, which is not much more than a concrete ramp, and we soon joined the main road on the east of the island, heading north. The road soon turns into a single track with plenty of passing places as it undulates and twists along the coast. Emily & Toby's excitement grew as we saw Tobermory in the near distance and they recounted stories about the characters and scenes from ‘Ballamory’.
In April, Tobermory was surprisingly empty of tourists and its shops were catered not for tatty mementoes and souvenirs but for local art, food and activities. The town has three distinct industries, namely fishing, whiskey and tourism.
Our home for the week, Kate’s cottage, formerly a bothy named after the centenarian occupier in the 1900s, was on the Glenaros estate overlooking the tumbledown castle below.
We've today arrived on the Isle of Mull after a day near Ben Nevis walking and sleeping, writing from a cafe in Tobermory. (The drive up to Fort William through Glencoe was beautiful, wild and inspiring.) We drove from Fort William this morning, took the short ferry ride from Corran and then drove down to Lochaline to take the 15 minute ferry ride across to Mull.
We plan to do some whale watching, bird watching and plenty of walking. It's great to be away from most of it (the internet does reach here!).
Will Hawkins lives in Lincolnshire with his family and is now a magazine editor and occasional adventure cyclist.
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