A Weekend at Another Place, The Lake

I seem to have found the antidote to “post-expedition blues” in Another Place, The Lake. Situated on the shores of Ullswater in the north Lake District, this hotel offers the perfect combination of comfort and luxury, paired with the captivating rugged scenery of this far-flung corner of the country - exactly what I was in need of after almost half a year in a tent. If that wasn’t enough to distract me from the return to “normal life”, there are adventures a-plenty awaiting on the doorstep, meaning it would not be hard for me to fill my time…

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Under a Stormy Sky: An adventure in the Lakes

Since November, a large proportion of my time outdoors has been spent in a kayak with my friend Kate as we train for our world first expedition in April. However, much as I am loving all this time on the water, seeing photos of snowy hills across the UK populating my social media feeds – and not getting to play in any of the snow myself – was almost too much to bear.

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Arctic Norway a.k.a "The One That Went Wrong"

Thwack thwack thwack thwack.Our feet pounded against the floor of the airport as we raced through it, oblivious to the stares of the other travellers as we barged our way past. My small rucksack, containing only the essential passports and boarding passes, smacked against my back as we ran. Everything else we needed for the trip was in our main packs. Where were they? I dared to glance down at my watch, immediately regretting it as the worst was confirmed. Our flight had gone.

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Sun and stars in the Sahara

I remember reading years ago about how, as you approach the Sahara Desert, the whole horizon is occupied by what seems to be a never-ending range of mountains which loom out of the ground in all their burnt amber glory. Ever since reading about them, I have dreamt about the dunes of orange sand that are tall enough to reach the sky and stars. I’ve imagined the long-limbed, lumbering camels that carry their masters for miles upon miles, their steady, swaying strides never faltering. For me, this encapsulated the ultimate adventure: the hardship of the intense sun and persistent sand, combined with the beauty of the inhospitable desert and the exhilaration of travelling high on the back of such a foreign four-legged animal. Finally, after years of impatiently flicking through photos and reading accounts of camel treks in the Sahara, it was my turn.

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Mountains and mint tea: a Moroccan adventure

“Only another fifteen minutes to the top,” Youssef said encouragingly, seeing our weary expressions and sweaty, glistening faces. I breathed in deeply, the altitude making it hard for my lungs to get enough oxygen. As I inhaled, I looked around, marvelling at the sharp ridges of craggy rock that fanned out below me before disappearing into the soft haze of the horizon.

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A Night Under the Stars (aka my first bivvy adventure)

As the sun sets on a glorious and uncharacteristically warm Saturday evening in April, what would you find the majority of the English population doing? Probably lounging in their garden, cremating some food on the barbeque, fetching more chilled beers from the fridge… What was I doing? Sitting alone on a hill in Oxfordshire, enveloped by my sleeping bag, watching the sun slowly sink below the glowing horizon.

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A Scottish Winter Weekender

“Stick your axe out! Stick your axe out!” I could barely make out Mungo’s words before they were whipped away by the near gale-force winds. I was on my back skidding down the side of a snow-covered Scottish mountain towards the boulders at the bottom of the valley… Head first. Using all my will-power to focus on the instructions being yelled at me, I threw my ice axe out to my side, two numb hands desperately clinging onto the metal handle, defying my damp gloves’ urge to lose traction. The pick feathered across the surface of the snow for a gut-wrenching moment, before finally gaining purchase.

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​Kungsleden Part 6: All good things must come to an end

At the start of the year, I wrote a To Do list of things I wanted to achieve this year. Already ticked off include ‘Graduating’ and ‘Read more books’, and it looks like I can now tick off ‘Walk the Kungsleden’. That’s right: my final week on this sensational route has come to an end! Including my various detours along the way, I have covered some 485km over 32 days.

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​Kungsleden Part 4: Wretched rocks and soggy socks

Well, I'm not going to sugarcoat it: the last 5 days have been tough. For starters, I left Kvikkjokk Mountain Station with a heavier load than I've had to carry so far; I needed 5-6 days worth of food compared to previously only needing enough for 2-3 days. This meant I was carrying about 18kg to begin with, a weight that obviously decreased as I made my way through my rations (as if I needed extra incentive to eat...). Add into the mix some difficult terrain to navigate through…

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Kungsleden Part 3: The departure of summer

Summer in Lapland appears to have been and gone. No, honestly, I'm not just being melodramatic: each morning I wake up to a crisp frost coating the ground and layer of determined ice over water; the once green leaves on the trees I'm now so frequently surrounded by are turning yellow, gold and red as each day passes; darkness is creeping in ever earlier each evening, welcomed in by some of the most glorious sunsets I've witnessed. Rumour has it, the Aurora Borealis have made their first appearances in the area…

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Kungsleden Part 2: Wrath of the Arctic Winds

Have you ever wanted to know what it's like to sleep in a leaking tent in the Arctic wilderness, whilst ferocious winds rage around you, so strong they not only permanently bend the poles of your tent but also force it into collapsing on your face at 4am, waking you up to the sensation of suffocating? No? Well neither had I, but life has a funny way of opening our eyes to new experiences...

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