I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – what a difference a day makes.
We’d started out on our trek along a section of the GR400 in the Auvergne region in France in the presence of azure skies and a scorching heat. The mission: three days to climb four volcanic peaks of Europe’s largest stratovolcano – all part of my #40by40 quest to climb 40 volcanoes by the age of 40.
As the sweat ran rivulets down my spine and soaked into my clothes, we worked our way slowly up above the tree line and were rewarded with rolling French countryside stretching out to the horizon, dyed deep green from hearty rainfall – not that you would have guessed it given there was barely a cloud in the sky.
Eight hours later, however, and my clothes, which had been damp from sweat, were now sopping, having been drenched by a monstrous deluge of rain. Continue reading
I might have been a bit quiet on the blog front as life has been seriously manic doing DIY ready for the return home of the boyfriend’s father after a 10-month stint in hospital following a bad stroke.
But slowly things are returning to normal, or as normal as things can be.
Plans, volcanoes and great adventures are afoot. Continue reading
Photo credit: Matt Cripsey
For the past two years I’ve been a member of the Croydon Mountaineering Club (yeah, yeah, I know there are no mountains in Croydon). What a great two years of adventures it’s been – climbing Scafell Pike, watching the sun set from the summit of Mt Snowdon, climbing sea cliffs, and even organising the after-dinner entertainment at the annual dinner.
It was certainly a bit scary turning up at the pub for the first time, having to talk to random people who used outdoor lingo like munros, cams, hexes, and benighted. It was perhaps even scarier going on the first outdoor meet where I worried about my fitness levels, my lack of climbing ability and having to sleep in a room with 10 snoring strangers. But the doubts subsided when everyone was enjoying the breath-taking views and then later, in front of a roaring fire, when we were having a drunken laugh and scoffing cheese and crackers.
So, if you have a yearning to get outside more or have toyed with the idea of joining a club but haven’t made the plunge yet, here are my five reasons why you should bite the bullet and join up. Continue reading
“Let’s do this cool gully,” said Richard, discussing the Sunday adventure plans in the Lake District, while sizing up his crampons and ice axes.
We were still in the cosy confines of the hut, nursing hangovers and savouring strong coffee, yet I was absolutely terrified of climbing a wall of ice with just some spikey bits of metal being all that would stop me from falling down the mountainside.
Even before setting eyes on the beast, just the thought of my first ice climb was making my hangover worse. I felt positively bilious.
All the usual doubts rose up and crashed down on me like a tidal wave: I’ve never been ice climbing before, how was I going to cope? I’m not good enough yet so how can I possibly do an ice climb? I don’t have the right kit with me. I don’t want to let the others down. What if I freak out and get stuck? Or worse, what if I fall off the mountain?
To be honest, that last thought wasn’t the one that concerned me most. It was the others – the ones that were like neon signs pointing out that I just wasn’t good enough. Continue reading
Yes, I know, I’ve been a bit quiet on the volcano front. That’s mainly because it’s been, shall we say – slow. Continue reading
Last month I was stoked to be approached by Limitless Pursuits, a website that shares the stories of men and women who have beaten the odds to achieve greatness in extreme sports, adventure and travel – all in a bid to inspire and motivate people to push their own limits.
And Limitless Pursuits wanted to interview little, old me. Like, wow! Continue reading
This path looked different in the daylight. It looked different going up instead of down too.
For starters, it seemed much steeper. My heavy breathing and visible sweating despite the cold temperatures was testament to that.
Also, there seemed to be a jolly lot of boulders, cold and slippery, that we were having to clamber over.
But as I stopped to admire the view once more, Llyn Peris a shimmery grey blue in the near distance lapping at the foothills of Wales’ Mt Snowdon, I realised this was quite a different journey to last time. Continue reading
As 2018 gets underway, here’s a quick look back at the 10 most read blog posts during the past 12 months from my blog. It’s a snapshot of what went on in my life in 2017. Continue reading
2017 – one blink and it was gone. Or so it seemed.
In reflection, it was a manic year of epic highs (awesome month-long trip home to New Zealand, gaining my British citizenship and starting a new journey of self-discovery through my mind). But it was also a year of epic lows (not one but two volcano failures, putting my volcano plans on hold while sorting out my British citizenship, and adjusting to a new reality of frequent hospital visits to see the boyfriend’s father who had a life-altering stroke).
At the start of 2017, I set myself a huge list of goals (not resolutions). The fact I can’t even remember half of what those were a year on probably says it all. Continue reading
Photo credit: Matt Cripsey
There is nothing like getting out of the big city and into the countryside – goodbye car exhausts and concrete jungle, hello fresh air, mountains and adventure.
Getting away from the noise and bright lights and reconnecting with nature is one of my favourite ways to de-stress and reboot.
And what better place to do that than Snowdonia National Park in Wales. Continue reading