These were my highlights from 2016

In my last blog, I listed all the mishaps, lows and hilarious misadventures I had experienced in 2016. Now I turn to the highlights and good times. At this time of year, with a spangly new year full of promise on the horizon, it’s good to remember the positives and to be grateful for the good things, experiences and people present in our lives. 2016 will be a year to remember for many reasons. Importantly though, 2016 has set the scene for 2017 and the experiences, adventures and joy (and certain mishaps) yet to come. Here are my top highlights from the year. Continue reading

The mishaps, lows and hilarious misadventures of 2016

It’s that time of year when I can’t help but do some navel gazing, looking back at the year that was. And boy has 2016 been an interesting one (I leave the interpretation of the word “interesting” up to you). There has been a mixture of highs and lows but here are the top mishaps and hilarious misadventures I experienced in 2016. Continue reading

When the sun sets and you can’t find the path home

img_2716

“Seriously Del, we have to hurry up. The sun is setting and I have no idea where the start of the path down Devil’s Kitchen is.”

I left him to bumble about with his gloves and ice axe while I tentatively began a hasty and very steep descent of Glyder Fawr, a 1001m high mountain in Snowdonia, Wales.

The grey cloud that had enveloped the summit earlier had lifted somewhat showing off excellent views of the surrounding valleys and snow-capped mountains. But it also showed a brilliant orange orb hovering a little too close to the horizon.

We still had an ankle-breaking descent of about 300m to get to the little lake Llyn Y Cwm and from there we faced a craggy cliff face and vertiginous slope (Devil’s Kitchen – there is probably something in the name there) before finding relative safety in the valley. The only problem was it was starting to get dark and I didn’t know where exactly the path down the cliff face was. Continue reading

Climbing Europe’s highest and most active volcano

540

From a distance, Mt Etna – Europe’s highest and most active volcano – seemed mysterious. She sat surprisingly quietly in the background as people wandered the streets of Sicily’s port city Catania, just the occasional wisps of steam floated above her.

Up closer, her smoking was more pronounced and the landscape changed from lush greenery to scraggly brush and the cold hardness of black, frozen lava flows. Tree stumps had been left blackened and void of life. Mt Etna (3329m tall) is one hell of a beast. Continue reading

No two volcanoes are the same

393It was only about 11:30am and it was stinking hot. The yellow sun pierced through the clear blue sky and scorched both me and the earth as beads of sweat started to gather on my brow.

For what looked like a relatively easy 390m high volcano to climb, Gran Cratere on the Aeolian Island Vulcano was deceptive. I found it hard going striding uphill in the glaring sun – I blame the heat and lack of fitness finesse for this. Continue reading

Up close and personal with an active volcano

460

That moment I got up close and saw my first active erupting volcano will stick with me.

I was in the Aeolian Islands, just north of Sicily, gorging myself on quite possibly the world’s best pizza, when suddenly everyone in the restaurant went wild, turning and pointing behind us. Paula, beside me, ferociously grabbed my arm and demanded me to “look, look, look”. Continue reading

That time the taxi driver wanted me to play matchmaker

After a two and a half hour, sweat-drenching walk in humid 31 degree C heat in Nevis (I thought the walk to the capital Charlestown would be a simple amble – I was wrong) I made the executive decision that taxis were perhaps the better, albeit more expensive, option to get around the Caribbean island.
Not only were they air conditioned, I got to talk to some interesting taxi drivers.

Continue reading

Volcano number 2 update

Lizard Point – most southerly part of the UK
It’s all rather busy at the moment. My folks from New Zealand are currently visiting the UK. After a delightful week and a half of entertaining them in Londonthey have gone off on a road trip of England. I decided, right at the last minute (after having a mini meltdown), that I would indeed join them for a few days to enjoy the sights of Cornwall. It was bliss.
Eden Project
Now I’m back in London and I have three days before I jet off to St Kitts and Nevis – a two-island nation in the west Caribbean featuring beaches, volcanoes, rainforests, monkeys, former sugarcane plantations, and thankfully no Zika virus (yet). It is here that I will be climbing volcano number two in my #40by40 quest.

Continue reading