Why do one peak when you can climb two?

Back in March when I booked the trip of a lifetime to climb Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro it was on the basis that I couldn’t see the point of flying all the way to Tanzania and spending all that money, and only climbing one mountain. After all squillions of people have climbed Kilimanjaro (ok probably not that many but millions I bet), and its not hard to find lots of blog about people’s trips. So why not push myself a bit further and climb neighbouring Meru too?

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Asturias – Cares Gorge walk

After an amazing couple of days in Somiedo National Park we jumped on the early bus back to Oviedo to catch another two to eventually arrive in Arenas de Cabrales for two days of walking in the Picos de Europa mountains.

The tiny tourist info centre in Arenas provides free maps but they aren’t great. Green (easy) routes are easy to navigate as well waymarked but we did have an afternoon mishap trying to navigate a blue (medium) route back to Arenas as the path disappeared and we had to scale a wall and under a fence to get on a track. Serves us right for walking into Poo de Cabrales just for a photo of the road sign (immature i know!)

So the following day we went for a proper hike.

Ruta de Cares – 12km one way

229 cares gorge

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Asturias – walking in the Somiedo National Park

Having spent an afternoon in the major city in Asturias, Oviedo, we jumped on the bus to Pola de Somiedo for a couple of days of walking.

Having never visited Asturias before I was amazed at how big and beautiful the landscape is and I certainly would recommend Somiedo to everyone. Its quiet and being a national park it is never going to be over developed like some of the towns in the Picos Mountain area.

86 ruta de los lagos de la salencia
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A gorgeous day in the Lake District after heavy rain

One of the things I love about camping is the early nights; bed time at sundown. It is truly relaxing and restores inner calm after any frustration of everyday life, to be able to nod off as the sun sets.

The exception to this is when it rained an incessant heavy downpour from 7pm, making me feel like I might float away in my sleep, its my own fault for not proofing the tent before I left. She who doesn’t proof the tent sleeps in a puddle. Lesson learnt.

So I appreciate the small things, I moved my tent from the puddle and appreciate the reduced seepage through the ground sheet. I appreciate the luxury of my mp3 to be able to drown out the sound of the rain, and later I’ll be grateful for the ear plugs.

It was only the promise of good weather in the morning that made me stay put. “It had better be nice in the morning or I’ll drown the weather man in the puddle under my sleeping mat”.

Thankfully I woke to gorgeous sunshine, so all I needed was a coffee and the world was great again.

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A quiet walk in the Lake District in summer? Absolutely.

There is nothing better than a few nights in a tent to improve inner calm. So I was grateful to be able to escape to the Lake District for a couple of days this week, and made sure it was in a quiet valley so I could properly relax. I love the Lakes at any time of year, but summer fills the hills and makes it difficult to spend the day alone. So when I turned up at the Three Shires Stones on the Wrynose Pass at lunch time and had to abandon my car not quite off the road, I did think I’d struggle to find peace and quiet whilst out walking.

5 Red Tarn
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The interesting route up the Howgill Fells

It might be the quieter side of Cumbria but the Howgill Fells get just as many people walking them so its always good to find a path that is a bit quieter.

DSCF4244

Despite Cautley Spout being a great waterfall and worth the short walk in, the path at the side looks steeper than it is to the inexperienced walker, or in this case scienceboy who was dragged with me for the days walk. “Are we nearly there yet?” was the constant chatter to the top, I forgive him – its been a while since he’s joined me and I’ve certainly been on some long walks recently.

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20 miles, 3 waterfalls and one epic river walk – Pennine Way day 9

“A wonderful place to be a walker”

I was grateful for cloud when I rose this morning, although its still quite warm and humid. I trudge on, nursing two huge blisters from racing yesterday section in the blazing hot sunshine in inadequately thin socks, I’m indifferent to the prospect of walking over the moors in the mist. Anything is better than the baking sunshine of yesterday. However, it would be nice to have a view of High Cup Nick when I get there.

Day 9 – Middleton in Teesdale to Dufton – 20.6 miles/ 32.8km

The walk along the River Tees is beautiful, through fields of wildflower meadows and through Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve, the largest in England.

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Pennine Way day 8 – Tan Hill to Middleton in Teesdale

I read somewhere once that in the UK you are never more than 7 miles from a road. Walking across Bowes Moor from the Tan Hill Inn it feels like you are in the middle of nowhere.

6 bowes moor

Day 8 – Tan Hill to Middleton in Teesdale – 16.1 miles/ 25.8 km

After leaving what must be the most deluxe wild camp I’ve ever had (I must save up for a motorhome!) and heading out across the moorland there is not a soul in sight after only 40 minutes of walking. It doesn’t take long before you feel like you’ve left civilisation completely. Its 9am, as I reach the middle of the moor, already over 20 degrees C and I’m starting to feel like I’m walking in the desert.

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Picking up where i left off on the Pennine Way- Day 7

Its been 7 years since I started walking the Pennine Way. I always intended to walk it in sections but long distance walking has taken a side step for climbing ever upwards to reach summits and the sky and so for a few years I haven’t walked any of the route.  But I decided it was about time I got around to finishing it, and so dedicated a few days to making a dent in the remaining miles.

26 sign
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