Glen Rosa via Brodick Castle – An introduction to Scotland’s stunning day walks

There’s no doubt about it: Scotland is one of the best countries in Europe to enjoy hiking of all sorts. From short strolls in and around the bustling Central Belt (the area spanning from Glasgow in the West to Edinburgh in the East, where two thirds of Scots live and work) to more challenging ascents up the Highlands’ many munroes, walkers of all ages and fitness levels can find something to suit their needs. With over 2,000 walks available over the country, you can virtually go for a walk every week for forty years, and seldom go through the same place twice! And yet, having lived in Glasgow for over three years, I have to admit that I’ve fallen in love with some particular spots, to the point where I’ll shamelessly do the exact same walk multiple times. Whether it’s because I want to take visiting friends there, or experience familiar landscapes in a different weather or season, some Scottish walks have become favourites of mine. And so, for my first post on this blog, I’ve decided to tackle a walk I’ve done several times on the beautiful Isle of Arran: a short walk to Glen Rosa that takes in the stunning gardens of Brodick Castle and the adjoining Highland cattle pastures.

The Isle of Arran is often dubbed “Scotland in miniature”, and for good reasons. From small, tranquil fishing towns to sheep- and heather-covered moory hills dominated by dramatic basalt peaks, Scotland’s largest island features many of the breath-taking sights that have become associated with the country. Add to this the fact that it’s one of the easiest islands to access from Glasgow, and you’ve got the perfect location for a whole range of day walks to tackle with your dog, your family, or your more athletic friends looking for a quick climb.

Getting to Arran

Getting to Arran
Approaching Arran

Getting to Arran from the Central Belt is an incredibly easy process: Scotrail trains and Caledonian ferries have teamed up to synchronise their journeys, meaning that transferring from train to ferry and back is pretty much stress- and hassle-free, and is all covered by a single, incredibly cheap ticket (just over a tenner for a return journey). All in all, it usually takes as little as a couple of hours from taking the train in Glasgow Central station to your arrival in the small port of Brodick on Arran. Continue reading Glen Rosa via Brodick Castle – An introduction to Scotland’s stunning day walks

Everest Base Camp trek, eleven days to the top of the world

The Everest Base Camp trek starts in the village of Lukla, which is at the maddest height of 2860 meters. It continues, on a ten day walk to the base camp of Mount Everest at an elevation of 5,364 meters (17,598 ft).

The journey begins with the 30 minutes flight from Kathmandu to Lukla. For many people this would be the shortest flight they have ever traveled on and an exciting departure to a journey. This flight takes you to the Khumbu region of Nepal. The plane flying from Kathmandu to Lukla has no radar system on board. So they cannot know if the weather condition is suitable where we will be landing, due to this, long delays occur regularly.

Lukla has the variety of shops in large where one can have basic western style meals and pickup any last minute items for trekking and climbing ahead. There are many restaurants at Lukla so you can have your meal before your first day of trekking. A typical menu of Lukla will have large variety of food. People usually avoid eating meat here onwards, as there is no good cold storage and possibilities of getting a sick stomach are very high.

Route to Everest Base Camp trek

Routemap Everest Base Camp trek Continue reading Everest Base Camp trek, eleven days to the top of the world

Cambodia Elephant Sanctuary at Mondulkiri province

Back in 2015, one week from now, I left Europe for first time. It was a big deal for me, since I had been exploring many regions all around my continent, but never went out of it. I wanted so badly to go to Asia, it had always called my attention, but I didn’t really want to go to the typical tourist spot. Plus I needed to find inner peace at that moment of my life. So going to a country that not many people visit sounded like the right thing to do. So I chose Cambodia, and visited a Cambodia Elephant Sanctuary.

During the first week of my trip, I had been going North. After the capital, Phnom Penh, I departed to the Stung Treng province, where I enjoyed the 4.000 islands of the Mekong river. And then I was for a few days in Banlung, at the Ratanakiri Province, where I had the pleasure to see a few waterfalls and a volcano with a forest and lake in it. However, one of the most exciting parts of my first Asian trip was about to arrive. I ended up in the Mondulkiri province, basically because I heard it was atypical of Cambodia. It wasn’t so hot, neither so low (in altitude) as most of the country.

What is an Elephant sanctuary?

Princess is probably the most lovely elephant Mondulkiri
Princess is probably the most lovely elephant Mondulkiri

Some of you might be wondering what is an Elephant sanctuary. Is it a place where elephants go to pray? Or perhaps is it a location where people go to practice religion and it happens to be surrounded by elephants?

None of those. It’s a home for elephants who have been retired from circus and zoos. Although it might seem it is a sad place, it’s not. Actually, it’s a wonderful area that these elephants can consider a real home. They are usually treated like a slave in the zoos, circus or as beasts of burden. These majestic mammals, due to it’s strength, are used to carry people or goods from one place to another.

In Cambodia, they are a real endangered species. But not only in this country, in the whole continent, the Asian elephant is highly threatened. And that is why there are Elephant Sanctuaries all around Asia. And why there is a foundation, the Save Elephant Foundation that does an awesome work to prevent this from happening.

The Cambodian case is quite a dramatic situation. Only 50 years ago, there were around 10.000 elephants in the country. Now, there are between 250 and 600. In fact, the founder of the Elephant Sanctuary where I went, told me that it’s around 300. Continue reading Cambodia Elephant Sanctuary at Mondulkiri province

The Great Trail, a network in Canada of 24.000km of trails

In 1992, an extensive network of trails started to be created in Canada. It’s original name was the Trans Canada Trail, although since 2016 has been renamed to The Great Trail. It’s a 24.000km network of trails that connects the 10 provinces and 3 territories of Canada. The web of the project is https://thegreattrail.ca

It’s not only a hiking friendly project, but more a pedestrian path/canoe route/biking trail. Little more than a third of the total amount of kilometers, 8.500, are next to roads or highways. 7.000km are categorized as waterways, including the famous Lake Superior, which is commonly know as the largest lake in the world. And the rest 5.000km, are considered of various types.

Video of the project

Continue reading The Great Trail, a network in Canada of 24.000km of trails

Puig Campana to Ponoig trek

Last April, I went with a very good friend of mine to do a trek near my hometown. I grew up in the province of Alicante, in Southeast Spain. In a very tiny town named Xirles, 15km off the coast. My friend and I wanted to sleep at the mountain, in order to do a longer trek, and enjoy the evening. So we hiked two of the most relevant mountains in the area. Puig Campana and Mount Ponoig (Sleepy Lion in English, or “León Dormido” in Spanish).

Puig Campana is a mountain with an elevation of 1,406 m (4,613 ft). And Mount Ponoig is 1,181 m (3,874 ft). These mountains are very close to each other. From top to top, the shortest walkable distance is only 4,11km.

Legends of Puig Campana

Among the locals, there are a few stories that talk about the mountain of Puig Campana. I’ve even checked in the Wikipedia, in order to see if some match the one I remember since I was a child. But none fit, although they are very close between each other in the essence of the myth.

Puig Campana legend and it's missing chunk
Puig Campana legend and it’s missing chunk

Continue reading Puig Campana to Ponoig trek