Trig point, Brecon Beacons, Wales
Trig point, Brecon Beacons, Wales
  • Eurocycle 2019 high res photos
    • 16/11/2019
I've finally got round to editing the photos from my "big" camera, and have uploaded them to flickr >>> here <<<

In other news i am back in Nottingham working for a few months. Annnd what with this british weather and gloomy onset of winter i am wondering if that was the sane choice rather than going to the southern hemisphere.
  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles
    • 05/10/2019
The big box
(I need to pack my bike for the plane ride home)
Walked across town to find a bike shop, and hooray they have a load of cardboard bike boxes from recent deliveries sitting around, more than happy for me to take one away - slightest catch is the size - fully assembled e-bike size rather than efficiently packed size - still, too big is better than too small right?
Until the airport transfer guy says its too big. Not that a brompton folding bike would have fitted in his minivan. Idiot. Thankfully Aleks the helpful hostel manager conjures up a better minibus driver and I get to the airport still much earlier than necessary, where they don't seem to care about the size, ( even though it definitely exceeds the max length in their small print by 40cm, but I guess they haven't read it)
And back to Luton, uneventfully, the box is battered but the contents is undamaged and soon reassembled.
Finding the way out of airports is always a challenge and i have to keep repeating "drive on the left, drive on the left" as it seems so weird and unintuitive. 10km of dark lanes later (fortunately I did remember to charge my lights), and I'm in a pub for a pie and a proper pint of ale, what a relief after nothing but pilsner all summer!

Contemplation of a pavlova, text commentary of Liverpool vs Salzburg, and unintentionally eavesdropping on some entitled tory snobs on the next table, thinking how weird it is that I can understand what everyone around me is saying, (and thinking I preferred it when I couldn't) is interrupted by the arrival of four more cyclists, a surprise at 9pm on a dark night - turns out they are part of the local C2C cycling group, out for a regular evening "pub ride" - they have spotted my bike outside and all profess to be very impressed and jealous with my trip, although by the sound of it they cover more miles in a week than i have all summer. Generous ale fuelled offers of campervans to stay in and invitations to speaking engagements rebuffed, I'm off to find a nice field to sleep in under a clear starry sky and the Luton airport landing path.
Nice field turns out to contain noisy pheasants, but the rude awakener is a distant aeroplane engine morphing into a tractor roaring past exactly 6am. Poor farmers. Just a hint of a glow on the horizon, and in the chill of the morning I end up watching the horizon turn to molten gold, the sky from crystal blues to pinks and oranges, maybe not in that order, and finally the sun itself rises into view like a fried egg.

Signal failure at Doncaster
  • not just another cave
    • 05/10/2019
Skocjan cave
Took the train for a day trip like a proper tourist (although the real tourists go on by guided coach). The cave starts off nice but not revolutionary since I have visited 3 other caves recently, some nice stalactites and stalagmites, and a rather massive cavern - then I realise there is a difference - this is the first tour with an English speaking guide - but he almost rushes past these wonders, and upon turning the corner you forgive it - the cave opens up into an underground canyon, 150m high floor to ceiling, where the river has eroded away the limestone over quite some time...
Lamp lights show where the path meanders off into the distance, carved or fixed into the cliff side, into a slight mist, every bit evoking a scene from Lord of the rings or something, its fantastical.
So that was cool.
  • Loobleyarna
    • 05/10/2019
Small capital, green city, pretty town,
Lovely to stroll along the river past the cafes and the fountain and the triple bridge and the opera house, all overseen by the castle, all very charming, bakeries selling bureks and pizza and cherry cake everywhere, the occasional flurry of a swarm of Chinese tourists with the clicking of their massive cameras like the thrum of the wings of locusts.

In a poem, every word does a job

Always something wholesome in the main square - Olympic sports taster session, university open day and talent show style performances, free concert, and then a big screen showing the European volleyball championship final, an occasion where early elation turned to muted frustration and then the disappointed crowd fragmenting and melting away like mist burning off [ the rest]
  • Conquerors of the useless world
    • 27/09/2019
The Vrsic pass was a fairly reasonable climb, as it has 50 numbered hair pin bends winding up and down the mountain, giving a manageable gradient of about 10% on the Kranjska Gora side I was attacking from, so the biggest obstacle in reaching the summit was a flock of sheep deciding to cross the road near the top.
Quite chilly now but have to keep stopping to admire the soca river on the way to Bovec, with the peaks vanishing into clouds.

Spent a day in Bovec, taking a beginners white water kayak lesson since it was drizzling anyway might as well get wetter, but managed to avoid falling in.

Next day completed a measly and super slow 40km down the valley to Tolmin, checked in to the hostel and checked out the nearby gorge walk, which was OK but another example underwhelmation having [ the rest]
  • Bled Sweat and Triglav
    • 22/09/2019
Impossible to argue with how photogenic lake bled is, and the lake is a delight to swim in. Hard to imagine a better tourist honeypot, thank noodles it isn't the height of the summer season!

After an extra day chilling out its a short hop to lake Bohinj, a bigger body of water in a glacial valley, surrounded by towering cliff faces. The real peaks are hidden behind these walls, shrouded in clouds.

The target is Triglav, highest peak in the Julian Alps at 2863m.
Starting from the valley at 600m above sea level, this meant a two day trip, staying overnight in Dolic hut a mere couple of hours below the summit.
Unfortunately the glorious weather is not forecast to continue for two days straight until Friday, so Tuesday I climbed Vogel, a mere 1900m, in low clouds so no views, Wednesda [ the rest]
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Iceland 2020
North to South traverse hike of Iceland
A return to trekking after the last couple of trips by bike. 400 miles across volcanic desert should be gruelling enough to shed some lockdown pounds...
Eurocycle 2
Taking the summer off to explore former Austro-Hungary, Western Balkans region
I've never been to any of these countries before, except for a brief school history trip, so this should be an interesting trip, expecting a mixture of western europe and communist influences, a mixture of mountains, rivers, plains, historic cities and rural villages.Maybe some interesting wildlife? I've mapped out a load of points of interest to visit, but have tried to avoid looking at photos so that everything can be a surprise!
Africa Overland 2017
Safari tour in a big yellow dustbin lorry
Travelling from Nairobi to Victoria Falls, through game reserves and whatnot, with Oasis Overland
North Sea Cycle
cultural bike ride around northern europe
Over a couple of months, i'll be testing my legs by riding from Zeebrugge in Belgium to Bergen in Norway. Approx 3000 miles, sounds like a lot but not very much each day on average...
Caribbean 2016
3 weeks of sun, sand, and craziness
A much needed relaxing break in the Cayman Islands... was what i expected, but instead almost none stop action, sports, sightseeing and partying. And then 10 days in Cuba, a beautiful, welcoming, and bewildering place like no other. And then back to Cayman for more awesome...
Tour du Mont Blanc 2015
A 10 day hike around Europe's biggest peak
The alps in the summertime are majestic. This walk, between 1500 and 3500m took in breathtaking views, high altitude camping, wildlife, and charming locals. After completing the walk i spent a few days relaxing on the shores of, and in, Lake Geneva.
Wales Walk 2014
A three week struggle across Wales on the Cambrian Way
Having skipped Wales on last year's LEJOG, i wanted to finished the job. The Cambrian Way provides 18,000 metres of ascent, the same as Everest - and twice that of the Pennine Way or Cape Wrath Trail. So it was hard work!
LEJOG 2013
1800 mile trek from one end of Britain to the other
After being a nomadic traveller for two years, I wasn't ready to go back to real life and get a job, but i wanted to do something constructive. Whilst in other far flung parts of the world i was often embarrassed by my limited knowledge of my home country. So i bought a train ticket to Penzance. And i walked.
South Pacific 2012
Beaches and reefs, palm trees and cava
A month relaxing in the Cook Islands, another month relaxing in Fiji and Samoa, with lots of diving, snorkeling, book reading, cava drinking, sunbathing and such. Then hitting the tourist trail on New Zealand's North Island, from Cape Reinga to Wellington. Off to Australia for a couple of weeks of modern world, then flying to Singapore, numerous public transport adventures through Malaysia and Thailand to the gap yearers mecca of Bangkok before flying home.
North America 2011
Backpacking around the US and Canada
Summer camps in New Hampshire, backpacking around the East Coast, protesting at the White House, traveling across Canada to track down my namesake, couchsurfing and hitchhiking through California, bears, snowboarding, crazy cyclists, Christmas in San Diego