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Inspiration and Advice for Walking in Europe Information, reviews and advice on Wainwright's Coast to Coast walk in England. Amalfi, Cilento, Tuscany, food and more Sherpa travellers share their reviews and experiences. Information, reviews and advice on Madeira walking holidays Information, reviews and advice on walks in the Cotswolds
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The latest travel news, interviews, traveller reviews, inspiration & advice on cycling and walking holidays in the UK and Europe..
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Travellers' Tales: John Muir Way with Lisa and Bill Cumming

Lisa and Bill Cumming from Bay Village, Ohio, are avid walkers with a great love for the outdoors. Having walked many trails in America, Canada, Europe and more, they chose to visit somewhere they hadn't yet ventured...Scotland! Read on to find out all about their adventure, some of their favourite stops on route and where they are planning on heading to next.
 
 

What is your walking history?

We both grew up as very active children and into adulthood. Bill was a multisport athlete throughout school, and Lisa an avid hiker and naturalist. Together we have hiked extensively throughout the United States (Acadia National Park, Glacier National Park, Edisto Beach State Park, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Picture Rocks National Lake Shore, and many more), Canada (Rocky Mountains, Lake Louise and many more), Europe (Italy, Greece, Estonia, Latvia, Sweden, and more), and Central America (Belize, Baja California and more). Every moment that we can we are on the move – exploring, taking photos, and just enjoying the stroll.
 

Why did you choose to walk where you did?

There were several reasons that we chose to walk the John Muir Way through Scotland: neither of us had ever been to Scotland, John Muir was instrumental in setting up the national parks in the United States, and Bill’s family immigrated from Scotland in the 1800’s to Canada. 

 

How did you prepare?

We live in a very walkable community located on the shores of Lake Erie, and our county has an incredible park system nicknamed the Emerald Necklace as it forms a green half circle through the county. We made every effort to get out and walk in both of these areas as much as possible – from 1-mile walks to 15-mile hikes. Walking is just a normal part of life for us so we just kept walking!
 
 

What was your favourite destination?

There were several favorite stops on this trip. Dunbar, which was the terminus of the trail, was this incredible coastal and historical town with such great pubs and restaurants. Linlithgow was a friendly little town with a fantastic B&B, great places to eat, and interesting period architecture. South Berwick, which was a coastal town, had interesting rock formations. We went to a pub here and so felt a part of the town as we interacted with locals during a football game.
 

Best food & drink?

Oh the food! We had great food in almost every town and village but 4 really stood out. In Strathblane we had a locally sourced and thoughtfully prepared dinner at the Kirkwood Inn, where we were staying. A steak and pork dinner with sides that were just out of this world! The second dinner was in Glasgow, a stop we made after we finished our walk. We ate at the Ox and Finch – a small plate restaurant. We chose 4 different small plates for sharing: the most tender and flavorful squid; a salad with fennel, pomegranate, pecorino, and truffle; a curried duck leg confit; and a dessert with apricots, yogurt, almonds, and lemon thyme. It was literally other-worldly!  In Edinburgh we visited a Nepalese restaurant close to the B&B on the recommendation of the B&B host – what incredible flavors! We had the best Indian food in Falkirk – the nuances in the flavors of the food were amazing – no one flavor overpowered the other!
 
 

Biggest surprise?

We’re not sure that we were surprised by any aspect of this trip. Instead we were glad that the route was well-marked, the accommodations were fantastic, the food was great, the countryside was beautiful, and the people were so hospitable.
 
 

What aspect of the trip did you find most challenging?

Honestly, no aspect of the trip was particularly challenging. We were definitely prepared for it physically, we love travelling and are quite adept at it, and we love an adventure! We have already started to plan the next one – perhaps in Ireland or Tuscany!
 

Top Trips for Wine Lovers

With Europe’s grape harvest season fast approaching, we have put together a run down of our top trips for oenophiles...we let you know where's best to visit and what's best to drink whilst you're there.
 
 

Vineyard Trails of the Loire

The Loire is also one of the major wine producing areas of France, and it also has the advantage of being a great centre for cuisine and historical monuments. Our tour links the great chateaux at Amboise, Chenonceau, Azay le Rideau, Villandry and Chinon with the great vineyards of Vouvray, Chinon, Saumur, and Anjou.
 
The Loire is France’s valley of the kings, where you will find much of its history and see the great palaces and castles. It is the countryside that inspired Balzac, where Leonardo Da Vinci spent his retirement and where Joan of Arc fought some of the battles of the 100 years war. The combination of walking, spectacular historical sites, the food and wines of the Loire, makes this walk full of interest and pleasure; self-guided departures until 31 October.
 
Find out more here.

 

Burgundy Vineyard Trails 

Burgundy has the highest number of ‘appellations d’origine contrôlée’ in France. Chardonnay, one of the world’s most planted grape varieties today, originated here and it remains the most commonly grown white grape. Its ability to adapt to different weather conditions makes it one of the ‘easiest’ grapes to cultivate and today there are more than 30 clonal varieties in France alone.
 
Starting in the walled city of Beaune, the region’s wine capital and home to the Hospices de Beaune, where the primary wine auction in France takes place each year, explore the best Burgundy Vineyard Trails; self-guided departures until 30 November.
 
Find out more here.
 
 

Alsace Vineyard Trails

The geography of the wine growing area in Alsace is determined by the Vosges Mountains in the west and the Rhine River in the east, with the vineyards concentrated in a narrow strip on the lower eastern slopes of the Vosges. Wine here is all about aromas, with Pinot d’Alsace widely considered as one of the most uniquely flavoured white wines in the world. An abundance of cellar doors awaits for you on this trip, while the local cuisine includes specialties such as tarte flambé.
 
An abundance of cellar doors awaits for you on Sherpa Expeditions’ Alsace Vineyard Trails, which starts at the Haut-Rhin, in the southern part of the region, where the best vineyards have long been associated with; self-guided departures until 24 October.
 
Find out more here.
 
 

Douro Rambler 

The first demarcated wine region in the world was officially established in 1756 when the Port industry developed. Today it has the country’s highest wine classification as a ‘denominação de origem controlada’, while the viticultural zone, which covers the steep slopes along the banks of the lower reaches of the Douro River, is designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
 
There are plenty of opportunities for scenic boat trips, wine tasting tours and visits to port lodges on the Douro Rambler, which takes you deep into small working wine estates of vine-laced terraces; self-guided departures until 15 October.
 
Find out more here.
 
 

Travellers' Tales: The Wicklow Way with Kim Schmelz

Kim Schmelz from Wisconsin walked The Wicklow Way with her husband, Joe, in July. Read more to find out all about their trip, including their favourite and most challenging aspects of the route.
 

What is your walking history?

Joe and I are pretty active runners but I wouldn’t call us experienced when it comes to trail walking. This was our first walking trip.  
 

Why did you choose to walk where you did?

We had a friend who walked the Wicklow Way a couple of years ago and it sounded fantastic. Ireland had always been on our bucket list as we knew we would enjoy the scenery as well as the beer. We wanted a special way to celebrate turning 40 in 2019 as well as our upcoming 15-year wedding anniversary and this sounded like the perfect opportunity to celebrate our good health by staying active during the day and having no guilt enjoying a Guinness or Jameson in the evening. 
 

How did you prepare?

Aside from our normal routine of running, cardio and weight training we didn’t do a lot differently. Joe ran 5 miles most days and I usually alternated running and strength training. We live in southwest Wisconsin so running up and down hills is a very standard practice, however the hills we saw in Ireland were much steeper than our normal running hills!
 

What was your favourite destination?

Our favourite day by far was the day we discovered Glendalough. Our notes told us that if the weather was good we should take the ‘Spinc’ route. Luckily for us the sky was picture perfect and the weather was beautiful. We were able to walk through the glacial trough and see the views across the lake of Glendalough. We walked uphill for about two and a half hours that day but when we saw the view it was well worth it. It was absolutely breathtaking. After taking some photos and letting the view really sink in, we started our descent down the path and took in the waterfall on the way down as well as the Miner’s Road and then finally the lakes at the bottom. 
 

Best food & drink?

The day we finished our walk and ended in Dublin was a full day of hiking. Finding the end point wasn’t possible because Marlay Park, the point that marked the end or beginning of the trail, had huge barricades in it for a concert that had been held the weekend before and unfortunately those barricades made it so difficult to find the end point that we just finally gave up. We got outside the park, found the restaurant that we were supposed to call our cab from and took off for our hotel.  We were hot, tired and hungry by the time we settled into our room so we knew we wouldn’t be going far to enjoy our dinner that night. We found a pizza place close by that served the most amazing garlic bread and pizza, our first big carb meal of the whole trip. It was delicious! The drink we grew most fond during our time in Ireland was Jameson. We usually ended each night with a bit of Jameson and a side of Ginger Ale. 
 
 

Biggest surprise?

I think one of my biggest surprises was how few people we would see on the trail. The first two days on the trail we only saw about a dozen people. It wasn’t until we started walking towards Glendalough that we started to see groups of walkers and crowds of people. The people that we did see on those quiet days were so nice though and usually stopped to chat for a short time, tell us where they had come from and how far away it was and we would do the same. It was interesting to learn where they were from and what brought them to the Wicklow Way. 
 

What aspect of the trip did you find most challenging?

The hills! We had a bit an idea of what to expect on our hike but we didn’t realize that we would likely either be climbing up a hill or a down a hill for the majority of the walk. Our legs were sore every morning and every night but it was so worth it! Our trip was so amazing from the beauty of the country to the kind people we met along the way to the feeling of accomplishment we had at the top of each big hill and at the end of each day. Our muscles were sore but we were still excited to put on our pack each morning and start again. 
 
I can’t say enough good things about each B&B we stayed at. They each had their own charm and wonderful hosts. We were introduced to our first Irish Breakfast at Madeline’s in Tinahely, we met our first Irish farmers at Kyle’s Farmhouse in Moyne and we met the friendliest dogs at the Coolalingo B&B in Glenmalure. In Laragh we had the best breakfast conversation with a couple from Norway and a mother and son from Denmark. Our favorite B&B though was the Coolakay House in Enniskerry. The grounds were beautiful and relaxing with beautiful flowers, great seating outside and inside and ponies walking the field. Yvonne, the owner had so much Irish charm. We could have stayed there for a week!
 
 
 

Coast to Coast Guided Walk in Pictures

In June 2019 we took a lovely bunch of people on a Guided Coast to Coast walk. The weather was pretty soggy during the first week, but the walkers' spirits were definitely not dampened! They hung on in there with no complaining, and were rewarded with some much brighter weather for the second half of the walk, before they finally made it to the beach at Robin Hood's Bay.
 
Here are a few photos from the walk. If you're inspired to join a guided Coast to Coast walk, or you fancy taking it on as self-guided trip, click here.
 
 
Guided Coast to Coast Walk
Every journey has its first step! The group at the start of the walk in St Bees.
 
 
Guided Coast to Coast Walk
Climbing the steps from Fleswick Bay, with the sun shining!
 
 
Guided Coast to Coast Walk
Ennerdale Water - rough walking and choppy waters.
 
 
Guided Coast to Coast Walk
The hard descent from Greenup Edge - especially in wet weather. Care is needed!
 
 
Guided Coast to Coast Walk
The group preparing to start off from Glenriding - laden with cooked breakfasts, thermos flasks and biscuits.
 
 
Guided Coast to Coast Walk
The long, steep ascent towards the High Street junction to Kidsty Pike, the highest point on the Coast to Coast, with heads down against the wind!
 
 
 
Guided Coast to Coast Walk
Resting down by Hawes Water after the long descent from Kidsty Pike - and the sun had come out!
 
 
Guided Coast to Coast Walk
Millstone cairn descending into upper Swaledale.
 
 
Guided Coast to Coast Walk
East Gill Force, Keld.
 
 
Guided Coast to Coast Walk
Starting the day from Keld at East Gill Force.
 
 
Guided Coast to Coast Walk
Beautiful Swaledale from near Crackpot Hall, Keld.
 
 
Guided Coast to Coast Walk
Single file please! Walking across the beautiful pastures near Muker, on the low-level route to Reeth.
 
 
Guided Coast to Coast Walk
A traditional 'Laithe' stone, winter-feed hay barn - which often also served to house a couple of cows over winter.
 
Guided Coast to Coast Walk
The group commencing the traverse of the Cleveland Hills.
 
 
Guided Coast to Coast Walk
Ascending Live Moor - with some bits of heather already out.
 
 
Guided Coast to Coast Walk
Outside a shooters' hut near Great Fryupdale.
 
 
Guided Coast to Coast Walk
Reaching the coast again - just 3.5 miles to go until Robin Hood's Bay!
 
 
Guided Coast to Coast Walk
And they made it! On the beach at Robin Hood's Bay, and the end of another fantastic guided Coast to Coast walk with Sherpa Expeditions.
 
If you're inspired to join a guided Coast to Coast walk, or you fancy taking it on as self-guided trip, click here.
 
 
 
 

Cornwall with a Camera

For this month’s photo gallery, we’re delighted to have teamed up with photographer Andy Cox, whose website

cornwallwithacamera.com features some of the most stunning shots we’ve ever seen of this truly beautiful part of the UK. Andy has lived there for nearly all of his life – few people know the magic and charm of Cornwall’s breath-taking landscapes better than him. All of the photos you can see in this gallery, plus many more, can be purchased as prints and photo gifts from his website, and you can also find him on Facebook and Instagram. Andy has also taken many photos of other parts of the UK, most notably the Isles of Scilly, the Lake District and the Scottish Highlands.
 
Most importantly, every location featured in this gallery is visited on one or more of our Cornwall walking or cycling holidays – so you can enjoy the magnificence of these places in the flesh. Booking for 2019 is now open, so what are you waiting for?

 

Bedruthan

 

Bedruthan

 

Bedruthan

 

Bedruthan

 

Cheesering at sunset

 

Cheesering at sunset

 

Bottalack

 

Botallack

 

Droskyn Castle

 

Droskyn Castle

 

Godrevy Lighthouse at sunset

 

Godrevy Lighthouse at sunset

 

Godrevy Lighthouse in a storm


Godrevy Lighthouse in a storm

 

Bodmin Moor

 

Bodmin Moor in golden light

 

High tide sunset at St Michael's Mount

 

High tide sunset at St Michael's Mount

 

Holywell Sunset

 

Holywell sunset

 

Holywell sunset

 

Holywell sunset

 

Holywell sunset

 

Holywell sunset

 

Land's End

 

Land's End

 

The Lizard

 

The Lizard

 

Pentire

 

Pentire

 

Perranporth

 

Perranporth

 

Poly Joke, Pentire

 

Poly Joke, Pentire

 

Porthcurno Passage

 

Porthcurno Passage

 

Porthcurno

 

Porthcurno

 

St Agnes

 

St Agnes

 

Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes

 

Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes

 

Wheal Coates

 

Wheal Coates

 

Wheal Coates

 

Wheal Coates

 

Wheal Coates

 

Wheal Coates

Picture This! Sub-tropical Guernsey

Sherpa's Nathalie walking in Guernsey

 

Guernsey is a unique place with a stunning coastline. Not legally a part of the UK and in close proximity to Normandy in France, the Channel Island is a mix of both countries and this will show when you leisurely discover the island on foot. Our team member Nathalie visited Guernsey just a couple of weeks ago for a check on the services we deliver and came back with a camera full of stunning images.

 

Of course, we wanted to share these with you as soon as possible and have therefore compiled this elaborate photo album to give you a bit of an idea what walking in this part of the British Isles, south from England, can also be like.

 

From a two-celled prison and German WWII bunkers to cosy pubs and the most spectacular trails, scroll down to view some splendid shots.

 

Stunning Scenery of Guernsey

relax on Channel Island Way walk_Sherpa Expeditions

 

bluebell woods and sea at Guernsey_Sherpa Expeditions

 

quiet bay in Guernsey_Sherpa Expeditions

 

>> Show me the Guernsey walking holidays

 

sunshine on Guernsey walks_Sherpa Expeditions

 

Historical Interest in Guernsey

bunker on Guernsey_Sherpa Expeditions

 

German WWII legacy on Guernsey_Sherpa Expeditions

 

2-celled prison on Sark_Sherpa Expeditions

 

Renoir used to holiday on Guernsey_Sherpa Expeditions

 

Where to Eat along the Channel Island Way

food on the Channel Island Way - England

 

quintessential English: cider fish chips_Sherpa Expeditions

 

simple pub lunch on Channel Island Way_Sherpa Expeditions

 

>> Discover Guernsey on foot

 

The Channel Island Way of Life

waiting for the ferry_Sherpa Expeditions

 

car free Sark_Sherpa Expeditions

 

walking in Guernsey_Sherpa Expeditions

 

heading to the beach on Channel Island Way_Sherpa Expeditions

 

steps leading up - Guernsey _Sherpa Expeditions

 

>> Find out how you can organise your Guernsey walking holiday with Sherpa Expeditions

 

Picture This! Madeira Hiking

There are many reasons to travel to the Portuguese island of Madeira, but we believe that a walking holiday is the best way to fully appreciate the island. Spend your days in Madeira hiking the levadas and take in the beautiful viewpoints while at night roaming the charming streets of capital Funchal and other quaint towns.

 

If you’re curious to understand a little more what a Madeira hiking holiday may look like, check out the images below.  

 

Hiking The Levadas of Madeira

Madeira hiking levadas walks - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Madeira walks year round with Sherpa Expeditions walking holidays

 

things to do in Madeira: levada walking - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Madeira walking holidays with Sherpa Expeditions

 

What to do in Madeira: walking year round - Sherpa Expeditions

  

 

What to do in Madeira by Night

Things to do in Madeira - charming at night

 

Charming Madeira at night - Sherpa walking holidays

 

Roaming the streets of Madeira at night - Sherpa Expeditions

 

 

Viewpoints on Our Madeira Walks

enjoy the viewpoints when in Madeira - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Viewpoints on Madeira hiking holidays with Sherpa Expeditions

 

Viewpoints on Madeira walking holidays - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Discover quaint towns when hiking in Madeira - Sherpa Expeditions

 

 

The People & Places You’ll Meet on Your Madeira Hiking Trip

Things to do in Madeira on a Sherpa walking holiday

 

Active locals hiking in Madeira

 

Find charming houses on your Madeira hiking holiday

 

Things to do in Madeira with Sherpa Expeditions walking holidays

 

Cheers to Madeira walking holidays - Sherpa Expeditions

 

 

For more information about Madeira, have a look at this introduction to walking in Madeira or please get in touch with our team of travel experts with any queries you may have. 

 

 

Madeira hiking with Sherpa Expeditions walking holidays

Picture This! Carol's Coast to Coast Walk

Wainwright's Coast to Coast is an all-time popular walking path in the English Lake District. Travellers Carol and Mona set off on foot to explore the coastal paths, moors and country towns of northern England in May this year. Their photos give a fantastic image of what walking the Coast to Coast Path looks like and we are enthusiastic and were thankful of them for sharing their English Lake District pictures with us.

 

If you’re curious to understand a little more what walking in the English Lake District and following Wainwright's Coast to Coast looks like, check out the images below.

 

Signboards on Wainwrights Coast to Coast

start of wainwright's coast to coast - Sherpa Expeditions pictures

 

walking the coast to coast - Sherpa Expeditions

 

pictures of walkers in lake district - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Fat Betty on the Coast to Coast - Sherpa Expeditions

 

complete the Coast to Coast Walk - Sherpa Expeditions

An image of Lake District Fauna

English lake district pictures_Osmotherley_Sherpa Expeditions

 

Lake District pictures pheasant - Sherpa Expeditions

 

English Lake District sheep - Sherpa Expeditions walking holidays

 

Geese & goslings on Coast to Coast walk with Sherpa Expeditions

 

rabbit crossing - lake district pictures - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Accommodation on the Coast to Coast Walk

walking into Grasmere - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Lion Inn - English Lake District pictures - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Black Lion Hotel Richmond - walk coast to coast - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Mosscrag guest house on Coast to Coast walk - Sherpa Expeditions

 

The Buck in Reeth - lake district - Sherpa Expeditions walking holidays

 

Lake District Paths in Pictures

english lake district pictures - sherpa Expeditions

 

High route to Grasmere - Sherpa Expeditions

 

photos of coast to coast walk - sherpa expeditions

 

walk to Robin Hood's bay - Sherpa Expeditions

 

image of sheep in lake district - Sherpa Expeditions

 

walking near Kirkby Stephen - Sherpa Expeditions

 

english lake district picture perfect - Sherpa Expeditions

 

english town on coast to coast path - Sherpa Expeditions

 

 

Carol and Mona did the self guided Coast to Coast Walk in 16 days and walked in the spring of 2017, from 3-18 May. 

 

For more information on the English Lake District, have a look at all blog articles related to Wainwright's Coast to Coast >>

For more impressions of Sherpa Expeditions' walking holidays, check out the Picture This! series >>


 

Picture This! A Cathar Castles Tour

Joining in Perpignan, this walking quest in the foothills of the Pyrenees delves into the rich history of the Cathar Country of Corbières area of Southern France. The trip follows the tragic fate of the Cathar heretics, whose ‘Perfects’ or priests were burned at the stake or driven into hiding. As well as its rich and evocative historical heritage, the area offers outstanding scenery of wild flowers, forest, charming French towns and fine local dishes.

 

If you’re curious to understand a little more what a walking tour of the Cathar castles in this part of southern France looks like, check out the images below.

 

 

Way-marks on a Cathar Castles Walk

Waymarks on Cathar Castles tour in France - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Waymarks on Cathar Castles tour in France - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Waymarks on Cathar Castles tour in France - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Waymarks on Cathar Castles tour in France - Sherpa Expeditions

 

 

Hilltop Castles & Forts in the French Pyrenees

Castle Ruins in Pyrenees in France - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Hilltop village in Corbieres, France - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Castle Ruins in Pyrenees in France - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Village in Corbieres, France - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Cathar castle Ruins in Pyrenees in France - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Castle Ruins in Pyrenees in France - Sherpa Expeditions 

 

 

Ancient Trails of the Cathars

Ancient trails of Cathars, French Pyrenees - Sherpa Walking Holidays

 

Ancient trails of Cathars, French Pyrenees - Sherpa Walking Holidays

 

Ancient trails of Cathars, French Pyrenees - Sherpa Walking Holidays

 

Ancient trails of Cathars, French Pyrenees - Sherpa Walking Holidays

 

 

French Wining & Dining

Restaurant in the shadow, walking in France with Sherpa Expeditions

 

Cheers with French craft beer on a walking trip with Sherpa Expeditions

 

appetiser in France - Sherpa Expeditions walking holidays

 

A break on our Cathar Castles Tour in France - sherpa expeditions uk

 

fresh french pain - Sherpa walking holidays

 

Breakfast on the Cathar Castles tour with Sherpa Expeditions

 

 

Flora & Fauna

poppy fields in French Pyrenees - sherpa walking holidays

 

bird on a cathar castles walk with Sherpa Expeditions

 

French cattle near Corbieres - sherpa expeditions

 

cathar castle ruins in France - Sherpa Expeditions

 

butterflies in French Pyrenees - Sherpa Expeditions

 

roses on a walking holiday in France with Sherpa Expeditions

 

For more information on Cathar castles walks, how to get to and from Perpignan and any other queries you may have, please contact our team of travel experts or download the trip notes. 

 

Sherpa Shows: Sandy Beaches & More of Guernsey

On day 4 of our Guernsey Islands – Channel Island Way, you’ll undertake a relatively flat and long walk. The route follows the bays of the west coast of the island and allows you to complete a full walk around Guernsey before you arrive back in St Peter Port.

 

 

Visit Guernsey created this fantastic video of the stretch between Grandes Rocques and Port Soif, passing sandy beaches and historical fortifications. Watch the video to get an idea what a walking holiday in Guernsey may be like.

 

For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact our team of travel experts or find more on our 7-day Guernsey Islands – Channel Island Way walking trip.