To be able to slow down and take life at the pace of the 'montagnards' is hugely appealing right now. Too much social media, press, politics, Covid, Brexit and such like make me shy away from the digital world and long to be back in the mountains. In a remote valley in the French Alps I discovered a haven of tranquility where chatting to your neighbour is more important than your Facebook 'Likes', and where the seasons dictate the pace.
It's been a turbulent time for the past 18 months. The global pandemic that is Covid-19 has had a personal, financial and physical effect on everyone. Now we are having vaccines and hoping for normality and freedom to return, and this too could prove to be a daunting time with uncertainty never far away.
Summer is approaching and we know that the easing of 'lockdown' in the UK is encouraging many of you to contemplate a holiday. If travelling abroad is not on your radar this summer, then you might be looking at what you can do in the UK. With this in mind we have a few ideas on how to head for the hills and enjoy the great outdoors. What is more staying local will cut your carbon footprint and benefit the environment, while most likely also reducing the impact on your wallet.
We have trips on offer in Scotland and England as Scheduled Departures, and then, of course, you can also consider booking a private trip with Tracks and Trails which is one of the best ways to ensure some summer fun.
If there was ever a winter when cross-country skiing was a perfect ‘fit’ then this is it! No lift queues, no cheek to jowl crush in the cable car, no teeming lunchtime bars and restaurants. Why would you do that when you can head into the wilderness instead, and enjoy perfect 'social distancing'?
We already offer a wide range of cross-country adventures, but now we’re also giving you the chance to get ‘off-track’. By this we mean cross-country skiing away from the prepared trails - a true mountain journey.
"What's the best way to be sure of a holiday this winter?" A question we are hearing more and more often as we fast approach the winter holiday season. No easy answer, to be honest, as it all depends on government decisions made far from the Tracks and Trails office.
What we can suggest is that booking a private trip, bespoke or tailor-made, whatever you wish to call it, is probably one of the best ways to ensure some winter fun. So consider getting together a group of family or friends, or people you met on previous holidays and we will help you come up with a plan. Create your own 'bubble' of travelling companions.
So here is my honest response to those of you who have kindly asked "How are you doing?", "Is the team at T&T OK?", "Are you able to run trips this winter?" Firstly, it means a lot to everyone here at Tracks and Trails that you care enough about the team to send messages of support.
We have always believed that our guests are part of our extended adventure travel family. With so many repeat bookings I meet up with the same people year after year and believe me right now I really am missing you all. Here is my take on working in the travel industry during a pandemic.
"I'm joining you on a cross country ski holiday and wondering how I can get fit for skiing?". Preparing for an adventure holiday is very much part of the excitement and anticipation, but without access to snow how can you possibility get ski fit? Roller skiing is definitely one of the answers.
There are many cross-country skiers learning and training on rollerskis. It’s a great way to improve technique, fitness and balance between winter trips and will add extra enjoyment to your winter holiday. Fern Cates is a former 'Team GB' Cross Country Skier and teaches roller skiing. Here is her short guide...
This November 17th, America will celebrate National Hiking Day. As an activity hiking has come a long way since the days when it was simply considered the preserve of the vagrant, or impoverished who could not afford other forms of transport to get from A to B.
That all changed during the Romantic era of the Victorian years which inspired people such as Henry David Thoreau, a naturalist and philosopher who reflected on how to live simply in nature. From then on hiking or walking became a pastime of the educated and grew in popularity.
One of the greatest challenges in running a travel business during the current pandemic is keeping abreast of the changes in restrictions and guidance that is being given by individual countries. These can cover everything from the size of group, number of people in a minibus, eating in a restaurant, who can share a bedroom, when to wear a mask, when to complete an 'arrival' form before travelling, and many many more.
We have pulled together links to each of the countries we travel to in the hope that it might be useful. These are links to the UK Government website referring to the country you are travelling to, and also the Government website of your destination country. We hope it helps and any feedback is welcome.
During September Tracks and Trails Director, Julia Tregaskis-Allen, took part in the ‘Miles for refugees challenge’ with her 4 month old daughter, Eve. Together they walked 160 miles raising £334 to help the British Red Cross support refugees in the United Kingdom. Julia would like to thank all those who supported her with donations and also those of you who joined her on the walks.