All posts filed under: Wander

Tramping in the wilderness

Wild Wander: Harter Fell, Lake District

That one of the most enchanting hikes of my life came as a casual half-suggestion from the mouth of a hotel concierge was unexpected. “If you want to walk, perhaps start from the carpark down the end of the road there,” he said. “That’s the base of a few nice walks”. No mention of sweeping district views, high hidden fell lakes, serene ewes perched on green cliffs peering out over Haweswater dam. So, as we left the carpark at Mardale Head behind, veered left and started climbing the side of Little Harter Fell, we weren’t to yet know the charm that lay ahead. It wasn’t long, after zigzagging up and up past the small Gatescarth Beck, before the views back down over the Haweswater Reservoir, built by the Manchester Corporation from 1929 which sank the villages of Mardale and Measand (read the brilliant Haweswater by Sarah Hall for a fictionalisation of these events), were as breathtaking as the climb had been. Under a sky of patchy clouds that warned of oncoming rain, we kept ascending …

Svartsö: Wild Spin in the Stockholm Archipelago

This mini adventure began in typical wild spin fashion, running at high speed through the crowds of Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s old town. We didn’t leave enough time after visiting the Vasamuseet to ferry back from Djurgården, collect our bags from the hotel and get down to the ferry wharf and set sail on our next adventure. So here we were, victims again of our misconception that we can fit a fat itinerary into a thin afternoon, sweating and side-stepping the leisurely tourists of Central Stockholm. But this is a story about the archipelago. We walked onto the gangplank with a minute to spare. The Stockholm Archipelago is made up of approximately 30,000 islands, so as the ferry left the city in its whitewash, we began to float past rocky islands of varying sizes. Some are little more than a jagged outcrop used as a resting place for gulls, others are the size of a private property – and indeed that’s what they are – a pine-clad oasis for a summer home, Swedish flag swinging in the …

Wild Wander: Kiama Coast Walk (Day 1)

On the drive south of Sydney, just past the turnoff to Kiama, there’s a section of meandering road where if you look to your left you’ll see an undulating expanse of grassland that slopes down into the sea. My impulse to go wandering into this unique green landscape has been strong ever since I started road tripping as a teenager with a fresh license. But that section of the now 22km Kiama Coast Track only opened in 2009, as it was predominantly private land. Despite the whole coastal track being achievable in one long day’s hike, we decided to extend the adventure over two days, with camping in between at Kiama – famed for its natural ocean-meets-rocky-coast blowhole – but loved by me for its crystal beaches and eateries like Neptune Cafe. Tent pitched and snack-filled backpacks on, we boarded the train bound for Minnamurra. Minutes before arriving, we could spy through dry branches patches of an aquamarine cove from the train window. These short paradise glimpses were a tease of what was to come …

Wild Wander: Bundeena

Two weeks ago I drove to Bundeena to go solo hiking in the Royal National Park, on the southern fringe of Sydney. I cut inland and up towards the cliffs called The Balconies, along the coast line past the Waterrun to Wedding Cake Rock (which was closed!) and on towards Marley beach, but not making it to my destination before having to turn back to meet some afternoon plans. It was bliss, really. The wildflowers are out in abundance, birds were excitedly darting in and out of shrub, soaring over the cliffs, taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather. When my friend Jules and I decided to go hiking on Saturday, we were going to head north, but then when she mentioned the Royal National Park, I said I was happy to return, as I wanted to explore more of the coastal area from Bundeena, and how about we catch the ferry from Cronulla? So the plan was made and we met at Pilgrims Vegetarian Cafe in South Cronulla before hightailing it for the ferry …

Wild Wander – Burning Palms

Any sunny Sydney day is a good time to check the tides and head down to the Royal National Park. Situated at the southern tip of Sydney, bottom end of ‘the Shire’, this pearl of greenery, jewel of coast is an explorers paradise. Many know of the family-friendly beach at Wottamolla (and when I say many, if you’ve ever been down those parts on a summer weekend, you will probably have been turned away from the full carpark), and the cliffside natural beauty of Garie beach, but less know of Burning Palms. Hence the call to check the tides. At low tide, you can take an adventure out to the little-known Figure 8 Pools. They don’t exist above water at high tide (believe me, I went searching!), so check a day or two ahead to make sure the timing might work in with your plans as low and high is generally a difference of six hours. The drive down into the Royal National Park (which used to be named the National Park until Queen Elizabeth …

Wild Wander: South Coast

Destination South The Easter long weekend lays out time like a ceremonial carpet and decisions about how to allocate it must be made. Considering I would not be spending this time in church (as I don’t go) or hiding eggs for a hunt around the backyard (as I have neither children nor yard), the diary was looking pretty free. My friend Kelly and I therefore decided to escape Sydney for the South Coast on an overnight adventure. It would take in an ocean-side hike followed by a home-cooked meal and a few glasses of wine at her parents’ holiday house in Culburra. And if this warm weather held out, perhaps even an early autumn swim. We left on the public holiday Monday morning and travelled south along the Princes Highway out of Sydney, heading past Wollongong Uni and the imposing, if bafflingly located, Nan Tien Buddhist Temple. The road eventually winds and dips, hugging the coast and veering from it, past beachside towns like Kiama, where weatherboard houses climb back into the hills around the …