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Gibraltar to London

Gibraltar to London Day 2: Almargen to Bujalance

Distance: 87 miles

Total Distance: 162 miles

 

I slept like a baby. In fact I slept so well I only had to press snooze three or four times before rolling out of my sleeping bag. The best thing about cowboy camping is that you can be up and on your way within ten minutes of waking. I set off just before sunrise, enjoying the cool morning while it lasted. Although I had my lights on, I had to ride at a slower pace than normal as the road here was a minefield of hidden potholes.

I rode into the village of Almargen, where I filled up on water and waited until it was light enough to see without lights. I had been hoping to find somewhere to buy a coffee, but being a Sunday everything was closed. I’d made the difficult decision to go stoveless for the duration of the journey, mainly to save time and weight, but also to save myself any food-based decision-making as it meant I could eat exactly the same meals for three weeks straight. In general this was not a problem for me, although the one thing I did crave was a morning coffee. Alas, my caffeine fix would have to wait. Read more

Gibraltar to London

Gibraltar to London Day 1: Gibraltar to Almargen

This blog post is the first of many documenting my 1200-mile bikepacking trip from Gibraltar to London in August 2017. Throughout my journey I was too exhausted/lazy to document anything so I’m doing this now retroactively, several weeks too late. I’ll be posting these bi-weekly over the next few weeks, so enjoy!

 

Distance: 75 miles

Total Distance: 75 miles

 

It has begun! Read more

Gibraltar to London

1200 Miles from Gibraltar to London by Bike

It has been ten months since I walked from Mexico to Canada.

Since then I have embarked upon a number of smaller adventures with varying degrees of success, including a failed attempt to climb Trolltunga, an almost-failed attempt to cycle to Paris and a terrifying – yet successful – tour of Mont Blanc. That said, I don’t consider not reaching the destination to be a failure. Attempting something and not succeeding is better than not trying at all.

And now I have conceived another adventure. Possibly more ambitious. Certainly more arduous. Read more

Tour du Mont Blanc

Tour du Mont Blanc Days 6 and 7: Le Peuty to Les Houches

A grey, overcast morning began with another huge climb. The Col de la Balme would be my final border crossing. Here I would step back into France, the first and last country of my journey.

I trudged up winding switchbacks through forest, munching on the last of my croissants as I walked. I soon rose above the treeline, scrambling my way around and across snow before reaching the broad saddle, upon which stood the Refuge de la Balme. Like 90% of the refuges I had passed on the Tour du Mont Blanc, it was closed at this time of year and looked like a creepy place to spend the night. A magical view of the Chamonix valley sprawled out below, leading southwest towards Chamonix and eventually my starting – and finishing – point of Les Houches. Read more

Tour du Mont Blanc

Tour du Mont Blanc Day 5: La Fouly to Le Peuty

Apart from the the fact that I was burnt to a crisp, today was a fairly uneventful day. Not a single mountain pass to cross and minimal remote country to traverse.

It was almost unbearably sunny, and the gentle ten mile walk down the valley to Champex was lovely. From the campsite I followed the river straight down the valley, through a handful of tiny Swiss towns just waking up to the early morning. The only part offering anything close to excitement was an exposed narrow section of trail through which I had to grip onto a metal chain fixed to the rock face. Read more

Tour du Mont Blanc

Tour du Mont Blanc Day 4: Refugio Bonatti to La Fouly

We left the refuge right after breakfast. It was a struggle to pry ourselves away from the cozy, warm interior but the bright sunshine was beckoning. For the first time since I started, all my clothes were dry. Although the sun was shining it was freezing cold but I was just glad there was no rain and the mountainous views were finally visible. This was to be the most stunning day so far.

We followed a nice, easy ridge contouring the slopes for a couple of miles before making our way right down to the valley bottom. Today would be be a much shorter day than the last few had been – just 13 miles with only one big climb. I’m on track to finish on Saturday so I can take it a bit easier now. Read more

Tour du Mont Blanc

Tour du Mont Blanc Day 3: Lac Combal to Refugio Bonatti

I was shocked when I woke up to see that it was actually sunny outside. It was still freezing cold this early in the morning but I packed up my tent and wolfed down my breakfast (I’ve bought an industrial-sized sack of croissants to last me the whole week) so I could get as much walking as possible done while it was sunny. Read more

Tour du Mont Blanc

Tour du Mont Blanc Day 2: Nant Borrant to Lac Combal

Today was one of the most difficult and exciting days of hiking I’ve ever done. A real change from the straightforward hiking of yesterday.

I set off early from the refuge as I knew it would be a long day. I was aiming to reach Lac Combal (I love camping by lakes) which was about 20 miles ahead with some difficult terrrain in between. Read more

Tour du Mont Blanc

Tour du Mont Blanc Day 1: Les Houches to Nant Borrant

I hadn’t even started walking yet and already I was soaking wet and shivering, with blood all over my sleeping bag.

I flew into Geneva the day before and caught an airport transfer to the small French skiing town of Les Houches where I pitched up in the local campsite. With ski season firmly over and summer visitors yet to arrive, there wasn’t a single other person to be seen. Read more

Tour du Mont Blanc

A Spontaneous Adventure in the Alps

Spontaneous adventures are the best adventures.

That’s why tomorrow morning I’m flying out to the Swiss Alps to begin a 110-mile trek through the mountains.

I am leaving one job today and in ten days time I am starting another. In the meantime I’m faced with a nine-day stretch completely devoid of any commitments, stress or responsibility. To make the most of the free time I have left, I have decided to fill it with one last medium-sized adventure while I still can.

I had to find a trek I could complete in under a week. Something easy to get to but not too close to home. Something with mountains. Something challenging but also an established route I can follow to minimise planning.

After a thorough seven minutes of research I settled on the Tour du Mont Blanc. Read more