PHOTO: Guests with the Lakeland Ramblers tramp the ancient trails. (Courtesy of Lakeland Ramblers)
Rambling the Ancient Trails of Scotland
Virginia-based English Lakeland Ramblers promises to take hikers far from those maddening crowds this year on its treks of Scotland’s Highlands and Islands. The treks hike low roads, high roads and ancient trails where walkers walk through fields of wildflowers. In 2014
Ramblers is offering two distinct Scottish itineraries — “Scotland’s Western Highlands and the Isle of Skye” and “Scotland: Isle of Skye and the Outer Hebrides.”
To the scenery of lochs and moors, the tours add a couple of Scottish castles – Dunvegan on Skye and Eilean Donan in Loch Duich. The Ramblers’ tour includes 29 to 35 miles of walks in seven days, with an occasional hike to 1,000 feet. The guides are fully certified and experienced experts at creating a sense of camaraderie within each group of like-minded travelers. Each day ends in a comfortable hotel with a menu featuring Scottish specialties and a bar with a selection of Scotland’s finest single malts.
Complete tours begin at $3,275 for seven nights using country inns and hotels (all with private bathrooms), all meals (pub lunches or packed lunches on hikes), transfers and luggage transfers from hotel to hotel, local taxes, guides and assistants throughout. English Lakeland Ramblers also offers guided walking tours of the Lake District and Wales.
On Foot Holidays Wanders Through Turkey’s Lost Kingdoms
The Mediterranean Coast of Turkey is littered with the ruins of many ancient kingdoms that have gone silent and become part of one of Europe’s most beautiful landscapes. On Foot Holidays, a specialist in self-guided walking tours, has assembled a seven-night exploration of one of ancient Europe’s most stimulating lost kingdoms. The Lycian Way in Turkey features hiking along the Turquoise Coast passing pristine coastal scenery and exploring archeological sites. The medium-hard route requires six and-a-half to eight hours of walking per day.
The trek visits such archaeological sites as Phaselis and Olympus, Antalya old town and several secluded and remote Mediterranean beaches. The trek was designed by botanist and Middle Eastern history student Kate Clow. Under her touch, the changing landscapes include plenty of historical sites complemented by abundant wild flowers as well as local villages.
The food is an important part of the tour, and clients will have the opportunity to sample authentic Turkish cuisine. The best months are April, May, September and October; however it is also available in March, June, August and November. Rates per person sharing are from $1,056 and include accommodation, breakfast daily, two evening meals, three picnics, detailed itinerary, supporting material and luggage transfers.
On Foot is also offering a seven-night journey to the Italian Dolomites. The tour departs in July, August or September. The Dolomites hike is medium to difficult with three to six hours of walking per day.
The Dolomites, famous for vertical and pale-colored peaks, are among the most visually stunning mountains in the world. The tour passes through the South Tyrol and ends in Cortina. Hikers will experience the cuisines of both the German and the Italian Alps. Rates for seven nights per person sharing are from $1,400 for the early July holidays and include accommodation, breakfast daily, six evening meals, detailed itinerary, and supporting material and luggage transfers.
On Foot is also offering a seven-night journey through Austria that rambles from Lake Constance to Damüls via the Bregenzerwald, including Bregenz, Lingenau, Schwarzenberg, Bezau, Schönenbach, and Mellau. This tour is of medium difficulty with four to five-and-a-half hours of walking per day. Rates for seven nights per person sharing are from $1,246 and include accommodation, breakfast daily, six traditional evening meals made of locally produced food, detailed itinerary and supporting material and luggage transfers. The tour is only available from June to September.
Heli-Hiking Through New Zealand’s Middle Earth
When Peter Jackson wanted dramatic aerial footage for his film “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” he contacted Heliworks Queenstown Helicopters. Now Heliworks and Alpine Adventures have teamed up to offer a heli-hike tour from Queenstown, New Zealand to Middle Earth. The ‘Middle Earth’ tour explores the Earnslaw Burn area, to which only the two operators have access. The new Middle Earth Waterfalls heli-hike offers exclusive access to one of the most dramatic locations featured in the blockbuster movie,
The tour is led by Alpine Adventures’ Head Guide Mark Dewsbery, who also assisted Jackson.
“When you combine our exclusive access into this amazing location with one of the most interesting hiking guides around, this really is an adventure to remember,” said Heliworks’ Sales and Business Development Manager Joey Glass.
Dewsbery is said to have garnered an encyclopedic knowledge of New Zealand’s native flora and fauna during 26 years of high-country farming and exploring the backcountry on foot and skis.
Dewsbery ran a lodge at Mt. Potts, his high-country farm in Canterbury. The farm was used as a key location for the “Lord of the Rings” movies and it was there that Jackson and crew spent 14 months building and filming the elaborate set of Edoras, the fortress of the people of Rohan, which still draws film fans more than a decade on. This full-day tour is recommended only for very experienced hikers.