Dear Tracks and Trails Guests
We hope this finds you in good health and coping with these unusual times. Without doubt dealing with and managing the impact of COVID-19 has been challenging for everyone, with the travel industry no exception.
As we adjust to a ‘new normal’ we would like to reassure you that future bookings are safe with Tracks and Trails. Our dates and prices are now available online and due to a high volume of transfers from affected departures in 2020, many of our trips are filling up fast. In the meantime, we are continuing to monitor the situation and the impact of COVID-19 on each of our trips and have the following updates for you.
Trips Departing in 2020
On all trips that were cancelled we are pleased to have been able to offer the option to either transfer trip funds or receive a full refund. We have now suspended the operation of all our trips starting up to and including Sunday 29th November 2020.
Trips Departing in 2021
Reduced number of trips and departures to allow us to focus on our most popular destinations.
Greater flexibility with regard to payment of your trip balance which is now due 6 weeks before departure, rather than 8 weeks.
Scheduled Departure holidays will be cancelled when the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office of the UK advises against ‘all but essential travel’.
Your money is legally protected by International Passenger Protection whether as payment for a specific holiday or as a credit note.
If we have to change or cancel your booking you have the following four options:
If you need to change or cancel your booking we would ask that in the first instance you contact your travel insurance provider to see if your circumstances qualify for a claim to be made with them. If your claim is not successful you have the following three options:
* If the cost of your new trip/date is different, a refund or balance will be due.
** We would like to be clear that if Tracks and Trails has to cancel your booking due to restrictions imposed because of Covid-19 that an administration fee of £65 will be charged per person. This will apply to all bookings confirmed after 10 October, 2020 and is necessary to cover costs incurred in planning your trip.
During the past few months we have worked hard to ensure that we are well informed about the current COVID-19 situation, how this affects the travel industry and have adapted the management of our trips in the following ways:
Links to Official Sites
We encourage you to use the links below for further information and the latest updates on the situation. We have also compiled our own list which relates to each of our destinations, giving both the UK Government advice, and the advice of the country you would be travelling to. We hope you find it helpful, but would state that we cannot be held responsible for the information displayed as the guidance can change with little or no notice.
UK Government Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office: FCDO
The Association of British Travel Agents: ABTA
National Health Service in the UK: NHS
Interviewed for the Financial Times last month, Tracks and Trails owner and trail running guide Julia Tregaskis-Allen was asked for her opinion on whether sharing self-filmed videos of running narrow ridges is something the athletes and/or their brands should be taking any responsibility for.
“These athletes are most certainly pushing the extremes of running,” says Julia Tregaskis-Allen, a mountain running guide based near Mont Blanc. She describes the footage as “massively inspiring” but admits: “the consequences of a slip, trip or rock moving on a knife-edge ridge don’t bear thinking about."
“Any mistake would be fatal, but the subsequent concentration, skill level and thrill is part of the end result and pleasure.”
Tuscany is without doubt a wild and wonderful destination for those who like to walk in the mountains in relative solitude. Jagged ridgelines, and stunning limestone peaks, and often a whole mountain to yourselves. Journalist Sarah Stirling spent a week with our guests on our Wild Tuscany walking trips based at the beautiful Tuscan farmhouse of Col di Lavvachio.
The comment most often made by our guests is that the mountains were 'not what we expected', but in a good way! Do not imagine this is the rolling green hills of Chianti country. This is gorgeous mountain ridges, oak and beech woodlands, peaks and views all the way to the Mediterranean.
We hope you enjoy reading her article on the trip, which is attached below as a PDF, and that you will join us in 2017 to experience your own Wild Tuscany adventure.
Mountain Trail Running
Tracks and Trails running guide, Julia Tregaskis-Allen, was joined by journalist Sarah Stirling in the mountains for a 'recce run' across the Jura. Sarah, a freelance journalist, writing for the Adventure Travel Magazine explored the trails both by foot and by bike scouting out Julia's next guided running trails.
You can read Sarah's article here where she finds out about this charming, friendly, historic mountain region of France.
Get fully kitted up this summer with all the best trail gear available.
As part of the June/July 2014 Trail Running Magazine bumper gear review trail running guide, Julia Tregaskis-Allen, was asked to test 4 of the best poles currently on the market. You can now download the full article here:
Lindsay has just been featured in the British Mountaineering Council magazine, Summit! Now, you too can kit yourself out like an International Mountain Leader. Never, thought she would be held up as a 'model' example of mountaineering chic!
Trail Running mag went off-road in Chamonix with the Torq Trail Team and guided by Julia from Tracks and Trails this summer. Reviewed here written by Claire Maxted of Trail Running Magazine Julia led a 3 day camp for a group of endurance runners on their first Alpine trails & altitude experience.
Travel Extra - Outdoor Fitness
Fast-Track Trails in France. Katy Dartford discovers the thrill of off-road running around Chamonix with Tracks and Trails.
Published September 2012.
Trail running in the Alps
A Guardian Newspaper Review featuring our Trail Running Camp by Susan Greenwood. Published 15th June 2012.
Stretch your legs – and your concept of running – with a trail-pounding camp in the shadow of Mont Blanc by Susan Greenwood.
Journalist Katy Dartford experienced a Spring Trail Running weekend with us, complete with, old snow and great food Katy tells gave this review on www.sportsister.com website.
Tracks and Trails featured in a February 2012 Telegraph Magazine as one of their 'Four of the Best Fitness Holidays'. Download the article to find out more.
We have just had an article written by Lindsay about snowshoeing published on the UKhillwalking.com site. If you would like to try snowshoeing, or even if you are a fan already, then this gives you a good feel for the enjoyment to be had of a walk in winter.
The thing about boys and new toys is that they always have to push them to the limits. Sometimes give an 'old boy' a new toy and he will be even more determined to see just exactly what it can do. On this particular occasion my 'other half' was crunching his way across a neve slope with the prospect of a very quick freefall descent to Chamonix if he blew it. The annoying thing was that I was supposed to be introducing him to snowshoeing! It had somehow turned into him showing me how it should be done. I wonder if any other mountain folk have had the same experience with their partners
Most of us like achieving a challenge, be it big or small. As a runner much of the time the goal is centred around a time, pace or distance. However for a mountain marathon there is a lot more to consider. In 2009 I wanted to run the Everest Marathon, and the main goals for this event is to reach Everest Basecamp healthy and acclimitised.
Read my top tips on trail running at altitude some of which are featured in this months 'Trail Running Magazine' - see attached article.
"What is it like to go out into Scotland's hills with little or no sight? Lindsay Cannon spends the day with a group of visually impaired walkers who rely on their four other senses."
Blind Summit will be broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland, on Monday, 13 December at 1530 hrs, that is, of course, 1630 hrs in Chamonix! Lindsay recently spent a day out with visually impaired hillwalkers in the Cairngorms and recorded their experience for radio. Yes, once again the Tracks and Trails team have been featured in the media.
For more information or to listen to the programme click on Blind Summit
The Guardian Green Travel List for 2010 has selected Tracks and Trails as one of their top 75 eco-friendly travel companies. Journalist Tamsin Omond visited Chamonix last week and featured us in the Guardian Newspapar's Travel section today and ONLINE. The piece, featuring travel companies that care for the environment wanted an insight into accessing the 'back country' with little impact to the environment. See below for Tamsin's review on her day out with us.
We had a great review in Scottish Field, Scotland's premier lifestyle magazine. Journalist Anne Smith joined us for a weekend of winter activities in Chamonix Valley in France. She thoroughly enjoyed the chance to experience snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and downhill skiing while staying in the eco friendly Chalet les Pelerins.
Tracks and Trails has made the headlines again featuring on the front page of the winter edition of the Austrian Alpine Club newsletter. Club member John Dixie wrote an excellent article about his trip in 2009 with Tracks and Trails in the Champex area of Switzerland.
The trip was fully booked with Club members who spent a week exploring the peaks and cols of the Valais region. This included a night at the world famous Grand St Bernard Monastery which seemed to be enjoyed by all. The Monastery, which has welcomed travellers and pilgrims for a thousand years, is totally isolated in the winter months by heavy snowfall. It can only be accessed by those willing to make the effort to travel on snowshoes or touring skis and as such provides a magical winter trip. This year we are in fact featuring a night at the Monastery in our Mont Blanc Snowshoe weeks based in Argentiere in the Chamonix Valley.
The newsletter also featured an article by Lindsay looking at the different types of snowshoes and other equipment needed to travel in the winter mountains.
This year the Austrian Alpine Club snowshoe week will be in Etroubles in Italy. There are still places available!
Tracks and Trails had a great result in The Adventure Travel Magazine when journalist Sarah Stirling penned a glowing article on her long weekend with us in winter. She spent time snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and alpine skiing in the Chamonix Valley. Blessed with lots of fresh powder she had the chance to see the area at its best.
Tracks and Trails featured in The Sunday Telegraph last weekend. Richard Hammond, author of www.greentraveller.co.uk and 'Clean Breaks - 500 new ways to see the world' (published by Rough Guides) wrote a fantastic travel article on alternative winter breaks.
For the article click here:
Richard Hammond - Winner of the British Travel Press Awards, Travel Editors’ Green Award 2009
Travel Editor of National Geographic magazine’s new Green magazine supplement
Founder of greentraveller.co.uk: "The leading British website for eco travel - great for news, green travel tips and inspiration for a low-impact holiday." The Times
Altitude with Attitude! Talk about a 'runner's high - read how journalist, Antonia Kanczula, enjoyed her first trail runs in the Alps. Antonia learned how to run like a mountain goat in the beautiful French Alps. As a result Tracks and Trails was featured in the September issue of Health and Fitness Magazine.
T&T's featured on BBC Radio Derby's Aleena Naylor show. The programme covering alternative holiday destinations interviewed Julia to discuss walking and health activity holidays for all age groups and fitness levels.
Following our June trail running week last year, World Champion Athlete & Mountain Leader, Lizzy Hawker was interviewed by the Observer newspaper. Lizzy, a sponsored athlete, coaches with Julia on the Tracks and Trails summer trail running week. Her passion to run, race and discover the mountains is inspirational. Download and read all about her training, background and next ventures in the Observer newspaper.
Tracks and Trails has recently been on BBC radio when Julia spent a day walking in the Chamonix Valley with presenter, Mark Stephen.
She's too modest to write this, so I am going to instead! Julia did a fantastic job taking radio presenter Mark Stephen for a day out in the Chamonix Valley and introducing him to alpine walking. The two set off from the Aiguille du Midi cable car station climbing up to the mid station before getting off and heading along the beautiful 'balcony' walk to Montenvers, above the fabulous Mer de Glace. The end result was a chance to 'listen in' to the two of them making thier way high above Chamonix on this classic walk which since Victorian times has delighted mountain lovers. Julia came across really well as she introduced Mark to the area, providing lots of information which covered everything from the flora and fauna, to local culture and history. It was a great example of an International Mountain Leader in 'full flow' enthusing about her surroundings and the wonderful opportunites they provide to experience the Alps. ...Lindsay
A BBC film crew from 'The Adventure Show' joined us for a winter walk on Mont de l'Arpille in Switzerland.
Newsletter written by journalist Laura Burgess for the Ecoescape green travel guide website, following her first snowshoeing experience with us.
A snowshoeing article, written by Lindsay for The Scottish Mountaineer magazine. Even if we say so ourselves this gives a good introduction to the history of the snowshoe and its place today in modern outdoor activities.
Reporter Alf Alderson has recommended Tracks and Trails in an Easyjet Mag article on snowshoeing!