On Saturday evening I headed off to Wildmoor Heath in the hope to capture a sunset over the heath with all the heather in bloom. Unfortunately when I got there it was rather cloudy but I was blessed with seeing … Continue reading
On the weekend of 20th & 21st January 2018 I attended the Adventure Travel Show for the first time. Now, I’d never actually heard of the show before considering its been running for 22 years! I booked tickets for the weekend after hearing about it Wanderlust Magazine (or it may have been their email newsletter – I can’t remember), I’ve been reading the magazine for a while now and daydreaming about travel for months, getting itchy feet and such so I thought why not?
The event is held at Olympia in London not going to lie I usually come here for Olympia Horse Show so it was quite a transformation! If you haven’t heard of the Adventure Travel Show either its the UK’s only event dedicated to discovering the world off the beaten track.
I attended a number of talks over the Saturday & Sunday which I have listed below:
- Exploring Canada’s Wilderness – Richard Harpham
- Quintessential Canadian Paddling Trips in Algonquin and Killarney Provincial Parks – Ted East & Randy Mitson, Destination Ontario.
- Kit Lists Unpacked – Ann Foules, trekMountains.
- Get off the beaten track – Andy Jennings, Moto Aventures.
There were two other talks I was interested in attending on the Saturday (the times clashed a bit) but I ended up down in first aid for a few hours so unfortunately missed out on Ocean Giants: close encounters in out Blue Planet and Justine Gosling’s talk on exploring the Arctic.
On the Saturday I also attended a seminar which was Improving your travel photography hosted by Keith Wilson.
- Adventures in Sudan – Simon Grove, Explore Worldwide
- Epic paddling adventures into the wilds of Canada – Harlan Schwartz & Jake O’Flaherty, Destination Ontario.
- How to start your adventure (Panel) – Dave Cornthwaite & Friends
- How to get to the start line of an adventure despite other people’s doubts – Lindsey Cole
- Things I wish I knew before travelling – Duncan Milligan
- Things no one tells you about travel – but should – Pip Stewart
- Brilliant Baja – Helen Bryon, Wildlife Worldwide
- Things to consider when choosing a volunteering project abroad – Tom Gore, Kaya Responsible Travel.
As you can see I attended a number of talks, there was an array of talks to choose from and sometimes it was difficult to choose which one to attend if the times clashed!
I enjoyed all the talks I went to, but I must say I have four favourites which I loved hearing and they were;
Things no one tells you about travel – but should – Pip Stewart
Got those little voices that try and stop you doing things? We all do! In this talk, adventurer Pip Stewart will suggest how to stop them through sharing her own experiences, from the highs and lows of her 16,000km cycle ride from Malaysia to London (including nearly being blown up by unexploded mortars) as well as what it was like living with indigenous communities in the remote Amazon. Warning: monkey heads and termites for breakfast may be featured.
How to get to the start line of an adventure despite other people’s doubts – Lindsey Cole
One of the hardest things about an adventure is getting to the start line. There’s a lot of planning, wondering if it’s possible and other people can put you off. I explain how I use negative responses I’ve received during planning to not just get to the start line but also to the end. Examples of adventures: walking the Rabbit Proof Fence, Circumnavigating Australia with truck drivers, roller skating to Bude and running with Kenyans.
Things I wish I knew before travelling – Duncan Milligan
How do you stop yourself getting into situations that aren’t quite what you were expecting? What sort of mind-set allows for the best travel experiences? How do you avoid the normal pitfalls of travelling through the developing world? Learn from the mistakes of one man who has made them all and survived to tell the tale.
How to start your adventure (Panel) – Dave Cornthwaite & Friends
Dave Cornthwaite and guests share a feast of tips about how to come up with amazing adventures, the best ways to plan and how to make sure your first big adventure goes without (much of) a hitch.
So, here’s 5 things I took away from the talks I attended and yes, they are probably from the four talks listed above!
- “Be a bit careful – travel with change you in unexpected ways. Don’t chose happiness, chase adventure” – Pip Stewart
Pip’s talk is one of my top 2, it was a really interesting and engaging talk it was another I found made me chuckle and I loved seeing the little clips shown throughout the talk.
- “All these people will try to put you off. It’s easier not to do it then it is to do it.” – Lindsey Cole. Lindsey’s talk is defiantly in my top 2, not going to lie. It was so relatable but it was also really funny and she had us all chuckling away in the audience. Some of the messages Lindsey shared with us that she had received from people were shocking but her responses made me cry of laughter. And hey, why not? Adventure is addictive after all.
- “Say yes more – nudge towards adventure. Adventures can start anywhere” – Dave Cornthwaite & Friends
- “Don’t take the same pictures that you have already seen in magazines, online or postcards. Why repeat it? Is it really your photo?” – Keith Wilson
- “Travel can show you your superpower. It will strip you to your essence” – Pip Stewart.
Of course, there wasn’t just the talks at the event there was tons of stands to walk around and loads of brochures to pick up! All in all I had a great weekend and will defiantly be back next year and I might even pluck up the courage to speak to people!
Have you been ? Plan to go next year ?
I feel like keeping a journal is becoming a chore. It’s covered with scruffy handwriting, words I can’t even make out due to the hand cramps.
I have no idea where we went today, I took note of a few places we passed, but that’s about it. Bob, Fran and I drove to numerous places to find the wild horses. I got promoted to the front of the car, so I wouldn’t get left behind again, which is also a bonus as I can see out more of windows.
The majority of the day is spent driving in the car do the different locations. Bob said you could drive the length of the UK all the miles we put in. I can see his point, you can drive for miles and miles out here, not passing any towns or houses, whereas back home you would. I mean we have not passed a single gas station out here. I wonder what happens if they run out of fuel?
Thing is, I don’t mind the long drives, as it is something I have always loved; looking out windows, watching the world pass by and keeping a look out for wildlife of course. Thus, this is what I did on this journey. As soon as we left a whopping great big bird flew over the jeep. Spreading its wings, it soared overhead.
A Bald Eagle. It was huge! And so close, you could see its big menacing beak! It’s a shame I didn’t have my camera out. How unfortunate, as I saw 2 Bald Eagles today and no one will ever believe I’ve seen one now.
En route we saw loads of wolf tracks and when I say loads, I mean loads; I would love to see a pack of wolves out here!
In actual fact we saw a number of different tracks today. Because of the recent snowfall it’s easy to spot. Wolves, Moose, Cougar and Pine Martin were the tracks we saw today, along with a Golden Eagle and a Flicker which is a type of woodpecker.
Back to the journey…
Looking out for signs to give an indication to where we are heading, I noticed we passed Bearberry. Not long after, we pull into a forestry area, and spot three horses immediately close to some trees. The bay stallion looked like he’d been in the wars to protect his mares, scars covering his body. We carry on in this area and come across three more horses, all bays again. They were on the edge of the road in a snowy area, which was great, and then it started snowing. Luckily I managed to get some snaps before it got too heavy. As we left, directly opposite we spotted a chestnut stuck in a power line area, so Fran and Bob opened the fence up so he could find his way out.
Moving on we entered this massive forest and didn’t see horses for what felt like hours. We took various paths and eventually found them in a little valley area where the grass was sparse. The strange was we’d driven past areas with loads of grass, yet no horses! In this area we saw 3 young studs. It was a lovely spot for pictures and created a lovely background with beautiful light. I’m glad they played ball and posed as some of my favourite images come from this area.
Considering the amount of miles we put it, we saw very few horses. It’s funny how they are getting culled because ‘there’s too many’. From about 2pm-5pm we saw none. We even went off-roading up this steep hill, (“Hold onto your hats people” was Fran’s Quote), which was a little hairy, but the view was fantastic.
After a long day I was dropped back at the hotel and rang a Sarah whom moved out here 10 years ago from London. It was recommended I get in touch with her by Bob and Fran so I did that this evening and ended up going out to dinner with her and her family. It was a lovely meal and really nice to eat with people instead of alone.
My time is slowly coming to an end here, and I don’t want it to. I am really enjoying myself despite the snow and cold. It’s so peaceful out here.
This morning I went for a swim in the hotels pool (I’m not on holiday I promise). It was lovely, I haven’t swum in years and despite me thinking I’ve forgotten how to swim, I still can. Though I am much weaker than I used to be when I was younger. A bonus was I had the pool all to myself too.
On arriving at WHOAS facility’s I pitched in with some chores, cleaning pens and leading the rescue wildies to water before heading out with Gregg.
On the trip out we headed to Bearberry, Ghost and Ya Ha Tinder where I saw this incredible frozen waterfall with a plunge pool at the bottom, it was a challenge to reach but very rewarding it was stunning!
Saw 17 horses in total today and loads of hawks. I had the pleasure of seeing my first elk too. The mountains are huge and vast covered in an array of green conifers, it really is something else.
The recent snowfall meant lots of fresh tracks of wolves etc too!
The plan for this post was to link to my previous post in 2014 on my trips to the park…but I can’t seem to find them…Sorry! (I think I probably wrote the blog posts in my head and thought I’d actually written and published the post but turns out I never did…I think this happens a lot!)
One late October Saturday I made my third trip to Richmond Park, London in the hope of taking some autumnal deer photographs. This time I was meeting some fellow photographers arranged through ‘meetup’.
Compared to my other two trips two years ago it was a rather cloudy, dull day and there weren’t as many autumn coloured trees as I was expecting!
The freelance photographer who had organised the trip had already circuited the park prior to our meeting time at 10am so we knew what direction to head in (this was really handy as the first time I went I walked for ages getting lost before finding the deer – haha). We spent a lot of time photographing the deer under the trees in the more wooded areas as it looked like a more natural environment rather than the open grassland areas. Now I have a confession, two years ago I bypassed completely ignoring the deer in the wooded areas as I just figured it was too dark and my images would end up really grainy! Yes two years later I found it a bit tricky and frustrating as the dull day made it even darker but hey I still came away with some great pictures (not blowing my own trumpet I’m just pretty proud of how they came out). Though my favourites taken on this day are still the ones taken in the more open areas!
I was thinking about the different lighting conditions and challenges over the trips I’ve taken and I must say my favourite set of images comes from this trip! I’ll share a few of my favourites from the day! At some point, I’d love to get some sunrise/sunset shots of the deer!
Here are two links to photos taken in 2014…
I slept like a log.
Normally in new surroundings I find it difficult to sleep, but not this time. It was 7.30AM; an hour before my alarm.
I arrived at the B&B the day before. After struggling to find a taxi due to my booked taxi not showing, I finally made it. To top it off when arriving at the B&B nobody answered the door for 20 minutes. Great, it’s a scam I thought. Now what do I do?
I crawled out of bed and peeked through the blinds. The sky was tinted pink like candyfloss, the light reflecting off the city buildings “wow…..” I breathe.
I’d been told to help myself at breakfast and make myself feel at home. I showered and crept down the stairs. I feel slightly awkward just helping myself. I do it anyway, no one else is around.
It takes me a while to find the cutlery; I’d truly gone through all the draws now.
It was a lovely, warm day with clear blue skies.
I keep looking the wrong way when crossing the roads. People must be able to tell I’m not from here, which must be what the strange looks are for. The walk into the city was straight forward and relaxing with a slight breeze ruffling through my hair.
I used the weather to my advantage, and went up the Calgary Tower, the third tallest building in Calgary and much like the Empire State building in New York.
I’m glad I did. What a site! You can see for miles.
The views are spectacular! I gasped as I walked around, soaking in each direction I look out of. I can see the snow covered mountains in the distance. It’s beautiful.
It’s strange; everything looks flat up here and looks to be no hills. It’s so brown here; where’s the green trees and grass?
I wander back over to the glass bottom and look down. Whoa it’s a long way down. I feel myself start to sway and grab the bar. I must have pulled a face, as a Canadian lady turned and said “Yes, that is the building swaying in the wind”.
“Well that’s reassuring to know, I wasn’t sure why I was swaying” I replied.
Gosh I love the Canadian accent.
I left the tower and with my feet safely back on the ground I went to explore downtown.
First impressions? It’s posh. Everyone is dressed up in posh suits, dresses and heels. I looked very out of place in my jeans, outdoor coat and canvas shoes. Wandering around I searched for a shop to buy a sandwich.
I feel worn out, my feet are killing. I should have broken my shoes in before coming. I head back in the direction of the B&B. I see a model horse outside a shop, oh my gosh! There are cowboy hats in there. I’m quite excited by the model horse. Turns out you can have your picture taken with and by the cowboy hats. I really want one. I step inside gingerly and am immediately greeted by an elderly cowboy.
He certainly looks the part.
Cowboy: “Hello, how are you today?”
Me: “I’m good thanks, how are you”
Cowboy: “Good, where are you from?”
Me: “The United Kingdom”
Cowboy: “Ooohhhh say hello for the Queen for me when you’re back won’t you”
I chuckled. Why do people assume you know the Queen as soon as they know you’re British?
Cowboy: “I have one person in here last week who I said the same thing too and turns out they work for Prince Charles, small world isn’t it?”
“Sure is” I reply.
I wander off and look at the hats, they are so cool! Yikes, rather expensive though. I wander over to the clothes rack, where there a sale section. Bonus, I make a beeline for it.
29 Canadian dollars and a top later, I leave the store and walk back to the B&B to relax before heading out to the thing I’d been dreading – Eating out alone.
Lucky for me I picked a small local restaurant with hardly anything there. I slid into a booth, ordered, ate and left in a breeze. Not that bad I thought to myself, walking back in the snow and bitter wind.
So the day has come, travel day. Woke up around 6ish got ready and double checked bags before leaving for the airport as the flight was at 10am. I felt sick with nerves and excitement in the car (or it was just because I was trying to finish my book in the car).
Check in was quick and bag was underweight limit (phew), waited around to board the plane with Katie and Hattie before our 3 hour flight to Helsinki. Once landed in Helsinki we had quite a bit of waiting around to do as our flight out to Kajaani left at 8.40pm. Our time was spent wandering the airport, finding somewhere to eat dinner (Pizza at a place called Caesars) and trying to hunt down the grocery shot to buy some supplies, I ended up getting apples, cucumber, water and a chocolate bar.
Soon enough it was time for our flight, I had trouble with my camera bag on this flight as it was too big for the overhead locker…we landed 1 hour and 15mins later at the rather small airport in Kajaani.
We was greeted by the transfer person and another guest staying with Martinselkonen. The place was a 2 hour drive away from the airport so we loaded up and set off. There is tons of trees over in Finland, I couldn’t quite believe it, when we were landed in Helsinki it looked really dry, flat and a bit like Spain…but now there is just trees, trees and more trees! At first I was really disappointed there wasn’t any snow but then about an hour into the drive there was snow! by the time we arrived there was tons of it!.
In the car the guide pointed out artic hare, slight northern lights and I think I may have saw a moose (it was a large animal near the side of the road but too dark to be certain). During the journey the guide got out the car and called to owls, the owls didn’t answer but it was rather nippy outside!
We arrived got shown the accommodation and headed off to bed.
So that’s a blog from about the travel day, unfortunately I haven’t got any pictures from this day so I will upload a picture separately this evening and will blog about day 1 in two days time :).
Volunteered with the Solway Wetlands today at Finglandrigg to plant devils bit scabious to help the habitat to attract the Marsh Fritillary butterfly!
After planting 220 of these plants we walked to an area where the Marsh Fritillary baby caterpillars are! They were all clustered together and were rather small!
Unfortunately I forgot my camera this morning so didn’t get any pictures, but it was a good day nonetheless! 🙂
But on the good side, the Solway Wetland uploaded some pictures to facebook! Here are a few links, be sure to check them out!