Hiking in Tuscany, Italy

We are sitting round the dinner table at Lavacchio when my mother jumps up to check the eggs. She’s not aiming to make an omelette; she’s just interested to see if the first chicks of the season are starting to break their way out of the eggs.

South Tyrol, known by the Italians as Alto Adige and German-speakers as the Südtirol, is a picturesque, tranquil region in northern Italy and home to the Dolomites mountain range. The Dolomites, also known as the ‘Pale Mountains’ for their limestone hue, are a UNESCO World Heritage site and the South Tyrol’s truly unique natural wonder. It’s no exaggeration to say that the forests and mountains here are widely regarded as being among the most attractive landscapes in the world. Indeed, the recognition given by the protected status of UNESCO since June 2009 is testimony to just how well preserved and unspoilt the natural environment remains.

What a great week in Tuscany exploring the Apuane and Appenine Alps. This really is a wonderful area of deep beech and chestnut forests and rocky ridges of limestone. I love the autumn season as the trees are heavy under the weight of fruit and nuts. The chestnut trees offer up sweet chestnuts for eating and also for the production of chestnut flour.

 

Well, it's been an interesting few weeks tackling Mont Blanc from all sides! First, there was my epic (well, epic for me) road bike ride around Mont Blanc taking in many of the Cols made famous by the Tour de France. Three and a half days solo with over ten hours in the saddle each day due to my lack of preparation - most fit folk seem to do around a maximum of 7 hrs on the stages! But it was certainly an experience and apart from a very sore rear I finished in good form. In fact it really got me into road biking and I am now planning my next epic. 

 

Lindsay and I were joined by a Nordic Walking group from Ashbourne, Derbyshire at the weekend. Working in conjunction with their local Instructor, Sam, we arranged for a group of 20 walkers to spend a relaxing weekend based in the Chamonix Valley. Using Argentiere as our base we enjoyed walking in 3 countries in 3 days.

 

Well, it's another sunny morning in Tuscany at the villa at Lavacchio. Our guide this week, Kathy Grindrod, is just about to head off on the first day of walking with our guests who arrived yesterday at Pisa airport. The walking here is great with the limestone landscape offering ridges, and jagged peaks and towers, natural arches and bridges.

 

Welcome to Nepal, Solukhumbu Valley, Everest Region! I have just completed a fantastic 5 weeks leading treks to Everest Basecamp and up the famous Everest view point Kala Pattar (5550m). What with wonderful scenery, challenging climbs, beautiful people and culture I already know that I will soon be coming back!

  

What a wonderful discovery - the Apuane Alps in Tuscany. Just been staying in the area for ten days with a view to perhaps offering trips there next year in 2010! The area is truly wild and beautiful with forests of beech trees covering the mountainsides with rocky limestone ridges rising high above the treeline. It was my first visit to this part of Italy and it did not disappoint me.

 

Just back from a ten day Tour de Mont Blanc with a great bunch of guys. Interesting for a female guide to deal with an all male team, but they were no trouble - according to Russ he was in no doubt who was in charge! We had great weather for the trip with glorious sunshine and some stunning views of the glaciers and peaks.

 

Just back from a great trip round the Dents du Midi range in the Swiss Valais region. This is the most westerly massif in Switzerland and on the whole not too many people visit the area. This in itself is surprising because it is absolutely stunning, the seven jagged summits of the Dents du Midi provide a great centerpiece for this 'tour'.