Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea where the mountains refuse to be tamed, and where nature rules. Over the centuries the island, which is a region of France, has been invaded more than two hundred times, and the local people, who are fiercely proud, love to quote “Often invaded, never put under.” It’s an attitude and spirit, which continues today.
The landscape of Corsica is so much wilder than I ever imagined; rocky ridges, pristine forests full of aromatic plants, tumbling rivers of crystal clear water, high pasturelands where the shepherds still graze their sheep, and forest dens where the wild pigs forage in the undergrowth. For those who like statistics; Corsica is the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean, after Sicily, Sardinia and Cyprus. It is 183 km long, 83 km wide, and has 1000 km of coastline with over 200 beaches. I have been a full time International Mountain Leader for fourteen years, and I am happy to report that the island is now top of my list of favourite places to walk in the mountains.
On 30 June 2019 I finished the 42k Mont Blanc Marathon.
I came across the Tracks and Trails introduction to trail running camp in Chamonix in 2016 when I was looking for one final challenge before I started my career as a solicitor. Tracks and Trails had great reviews and the camp seemed like the perfect opportunity to get out of my comfort zone, try something new and run in one of the most beautiful places in the world. I signed up alone with absolutely no experience in trail running, a new pair of trail shoes, and a few hours of running on a treadmill at an incline.
Little did I know that I would quickly fall in love with trail running during that week that I would be back in Chamonix running the 42km Mont Blanc Marathon. During the camp Julia taught us everything from how to tackle technical descents, the pros and cons of using poles, running across snow, nutrition, heart rate monitoring and pacing. In the back of my head I kept thinking about the Mont Blanc Marathon and it stuck with me for another three years.
How can 'fast packing' skills help you on your next walking holiday? What is fastpacking?
Well it's an interesting term! Is it how quickly you can pack your bag to leave the house on holiday? Or how fast you can stuff all your kit back into your rucksack in the morning to leave the hut (while your guide waits patiently outside)?
Almost a year ago, I embarked on an adventure and entered the world of trail running.
I did not really know what to expect when I signed up to try trail running in Chamonix, as part of Stance #HoodtoTrail project.
Tour Memories - from a Forgetful Traveller
Only Eight Thousand Nine Hundred and Ninety Eight to go!
I’ve been on many Tracks and Trails tours, this one was both unfamiliar and familiar - The Hallingdal Track in Norway.
Unfamiliar because the terrain, vastness and challenges were not like other trips; familiar because Lindsay, our tour guide, worked tirelessly to make it happen smoothly. No only was the countryside varied but the accommodation was too (one of the reasons why I love T&T); ranging from our first night in a top notch swanky hotel to sharing a country park with reindeer, muskox, wolves (howling) and school kids (behaving!).
After the festive cheer and indulgence, winter can be a tough time of year to remain active. Shorter days and cold weather can test our resolve for getting outdoors and exercising, even if we reap the rewards of this effort when the spring arrives.
Here are our 10 reasons why taking up a new winter activity or booking a winter holiday is a good idea and could be the perfect antidote to any hint of the winter blues.
A guide to choosing a suitable headtorch for running or hiking, to help light up those dark nights and see you safely through from dusk until dawn.
Whether you’re heading out for an evening run, got caught out as the sun set on a hike, or just finding your way to the campsite facilities, a decent headtorch will make all the difference. Advances in lighting capacity and battery technology now offer us a dazzling range to choose from, depending on our budget and needs. Simple models with minimal adjustment sit alongside more advanced models, offering programmable lighting modes, multiple beams, and even intelligent reactive lighting that economises battery power.
For many UK mountain lovers the annual Kendal Mountain Festival is a permanent fixture. It was a great pleasure this year for Tracks and Trails to be part of the action both as a guest speaker in the Mountain Running Session and in the Hood To Trail trail running film premiere.
A country full of surprises. Without a doubt Bulgaria has wonderful mountains offering some extraordinary opportunities for snowshoeing. With a reliable snowfall it is fast becoming a well-recognised destination for winter activities and is our new snowshoe trip for 2019.
Featuring in winter 2019 is Finland. We have two new cross country skiing trips in this truly Nordic country.
We have been surprised and amazed by the richness of the culture and history in Finland. The welcome has been warm and the Finnish people keen to share their knowledge and passion for their country. To sit round a lunchtime camp fire deep in a remote forest and listen to tales of goblins and suchlike, and stories of the folklore of the Sami people is a joy.
Aurora? What can I say about Aurora as she came to be known? Every night of the week around dinnertime somebody in the group would consult the “Aurora” app to check the probability of seeing the Aurora Borealis and when it would be best to layer up and venture out into the night. Such was the nightly conversation that THE Aurora, took on a female form and simply became known as ’she’ or Aurora. Regular question - when is Aurora coming out to play tonight? I’d not seen the Northern Lights before and truly they are astonishing - mesmerising, like watching flames in a fire but way colder and incredibly beautiful. I’ll definitely be going back to Äkäslompolo with T&T but first I have to tick off their Hallindgal trip in March. Bring it on!