Amazonia – Getting Lost

Losing yourself in the forest is one of the greatest fears you have when journeying in Amazonia.

This fear keeps you close to the river, which is your lifeline to the nearest community or town.

Hardened Amazon explorer, Arkady Fiedler, wrote

Many cases have been known of explorers returning from its green labyrinth to become chronic patients of sanatoria, or even not returning at all…

They have simply disappeared in the forest like stones in the water. The jungle is jealous and voracious…

You can walk 50 meters out of camp for the toilet, lose your focus and realize you have no idea where you came from in the wall of green.

I always have a whistle on me. For a longer walk away from camp, a compass bearing is a very good idea too!

Return from the summit of Mount Ayanganna, the source of the Potaro River.

Return from the summit of Guyana’s untouched Mount Ayanganna, the source of the Potaro River.

Wild Snowdonia

Tryfan

Voted Britain’s favourite mountain, Tryfan (the iconic rugged peak across the valley in the photo above) was looking stunning last weekend.

With significant snow and ice on Tryfan’s steep faces, we opted to ascend its two neighbouring mountains.

Snowdonia

A group of 7 friends, we enjoyed an icy breeze, amazing views and big ridges.

Snowdonia

With 6 million visitors a year, Snowdonia is a popular place. January is a great time to go. The mountains are free of people and definitely have that raw wilderness vibe!

Snowdonia

Tunnel Paddle

Canal map

A 3 hour paddle on the Grand Union Canal saw us complete a West to East journey across London, from Kensal Rise to Haggerston.

Paddling Islington Tunnel was the definite highlight (the yellow line on the map above). Built in 1818, it’s the longest navigable tunnel in the South East, almost a kilometer long (878m).

Islington Tunnel

The light at the end of the tunnel was a mere dot and you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. A worried face below as we reach the halfway mark!

Islington Tunnel

Escaping the darkness was a great relief. I definitely don’t recommend doing it!

Islington Tunnel

Stob Dearg

A legendary Japanese Samurai, Date Masamune, described his passion for Mount Fuji,

Each time I see Fuji

It appears changed

And I feel I view it

For the first time.

How shall I describe Fuji

To those who have not yet seen it?

It is never seen twice alike,

And I know no one way

Of describing the sight.

Stob Dearg, the stunning mountain on the left of the MONSTER MOUNTAINS logo is much the same.

It is totally mesmerizing. As you drive into Glencoe, it’s beautiful shape is revealed, a product of 40 million years of erosion and glaciation.

Stob Dearg

Then as you drive by, it takes on a whole new form. Now you can see a way up it, a classic grade 1 winter gully climb up the middle groove, leading you to the saddle and on to the top.

Stob Dearg

Mountains bring about a change of perspective. The solitude, the air, the dangers, the views… these all trigger a response within you that is primeval, hugely powerful and exciting.

Scottish highlands in the winter are a must to go and explore!

Thames Canoeing

Ally canoe

This weekend saw us take the Ally canoe for its first test trip on the Thames.

Driving to Weybridge, located on the Western edge of London, we ditched the car and got building. The Ally setup took 35mins, which was great considering the last time it took over 2 hours.

Ally canoe

Ally canoe

Paddling gently down the Thames for 3 hours, we crossed locks and enjoyed checking out the amazing collection of houses and boats on the banks.

Thames paddle

Ally canoe

Passing Hampton Court, we continued on to Surbiton and called it a day just as daylight began to fade. 

Ally canoe

30mins later, we had rinsed the kit and packed it all away into the giant canoe bag (still amazed that it’s actually possible to do that!). An Uber taxi brought us back to the car in Weybridge.

Ally canoe

An excellent day out and very happy with how the Ally performed on our 14km paddle.