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
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
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
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
Look outside and winter is knocking on the door – it’s dark by 4:30pm, the trees look skeletal and lifeless, and that chilly wind turns your nose and ears to ice. Brrrrr!
I admit, I’m never good at this time of year. I really don’t like the cold. My hands and feet feel like they are permanent iceblocks. Continue reading
I’ve realised I’m not that great with the unknown. It can be scary not knowing what’s around the corner or on the other side of that bank of cloud when you’re high up on a mountain.
When faced with the unknown or uncertainty when we’re out on an adventure, we often instantly jump to the worst-case scenario: imagining we might be stuck on a rock face with a 30m drop below, getting lost in the woods and never finding our way home, or falling off the side of a mountain when visibility drops. Continue reading
[Read part one of boggy volcano here]
Day two of my ninth volcano, walking across the Cheviot Hills in England’s Northumberland National Park, and we were off. The rain of yesterday was gone, replaced by a gentle frost and lashings of lush sunshine. Now this was more like it.
My walking boots were still sodden from yesterday’s dismal weather and bog-hopping. Pulling on my cold, stinky, sopping socks that morning had given me shivers. I’d held the offending items at arm’s length, nose wrinkled, viewing them with contempt, before plunging my feet into their soggy centres. I admit, a whimper had escaped my lips.
But now, as we tramped uphill, my feet felt toasty – or as toasty as wet feet can feel. The second day of our adventure across the volcanically formed Cheviot Hills was to take us from Barrowburn back to Wooler via some summits. The original plan had been to include a few more summits but going on the day before’s poor time-keeping (and my poor fitness), I decided to scrap some that were more out of the way. Thus, our route was more direct.
Of course, that wasn’t taking into account the possibility of getting lost – and get lost we did. Continue reading
The road stretched ahead of me, weaving its way into the lonely depths of Northumberland National Park. As the boyfriend and I strolled along, the click of my walking pole on the road, the rolling mountains of the Cheviot Hills rose up around us, luring me in with their promises of high adventure.
At this point, I had a spring in my step. I was outside the concrete confines of London, relishing in the sublime English countryside, setting out to climb my next volcano (number nine) in my #40by40 quest – albeit it was an ancient one, resulting from volcanic activity when the continents of Scotland and England crashed together some 350-400 million years ago.
I breathed in the pollution-free air. Apart from the sticky humidity and spittles of rain, it felt good to be alive.
That feeling lasted all of about two hours. Continue reading
Just over two years ago I came up with a crafty idea. I thought, why not set myself the ambitious quest to climb 40 volcanoes by the age of 40 – a feat that needed to be achieved in a five-and-a-half-year time frame?
It was a bold, daring plan, borne out of a fascination of lava and plate tectonics… and the itchy-feet desire to make more of my life and challenge myself. I’d just quit my pharmaceutical journalism job of five years to go freelance and I needed a new purpose. I chose adventure. Continue reading