20 interesting facts about Antarctica

Antarctica is protected by the Antarctic TreatyReform-Furl581/Shutterstock

We share the most interesting facts about Antarctica collected on our recent trip to the seventh continent

For a long time, it seemed like our trip to Antarctica wasn’t going to happen. Covid postponed it from 2020 to 2021, and then again to 2022. Even after we got the green light, our nerves didn’t ease. If we tested positive for Covid, we wouldn’t be allowed to board the ship, and daily testing meant that we could be quarantined in our cabins even after setting sail. In short, it was more stressful than expected. 

20 best books about Antarctica

A scene from Antarctic

From harrowing accounts of survival to the heartwarming tale of a rescued penguin, we list our favourite books about Antarctica

The most inhospitable place on Earth is an engrossing setting for any story, be it fictional or factual. Unsurprisingly, Antarctica’s literary canon is filled with tales of tragedy and/or survival against the odds. It would be easy, then, to fill this list with biographies of Amundsen, Scott and Shackleton alone. But Antarctica deserves attention beyond its tales of tragedy.

Antarctica packing list: all you need for your polar adventure

A click-and-pick Antarctica packing list with links to specific products that have been personally tested by Atlas & Boots

A friend of mine recently asked what three things make me happiest, as part of her research for her forthcoming book. I named family and nature which are fairly standard answers. Less common was my third choice of hygge, the Danish concept of cosiness.

Arctic or Antarctic: how to pick your polar adventure

Icebergs in Antarctica

Can’t decide between the Arctic or Antarctic for your polar adventure? Our guide will help you choose between 66° north or south

The North and South Poles were only “conquered” in relatively recent history. The South Pole was first attained in 1911 by the Norwegian Roald Amundsen after his epic race with the ill-fated Robert Falcon Scott.

Is Antarctica worth it? – and all your other questions answered 

With views like this, you will want your own balconyAtlas & Boots

Our expedition to the great white continent inspired a host of questions, most commonly: is Antarctica worth it? We share our answers below

The cynic, it is said, knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. It doesn’t make you a cynic, however, to question the value of a trip to Antarctica given the hefty price tag. Ranging from seven to twenty thousand dollars per person, it’s a once in a lifetime expense, so it’s perfectly natural to ask: is Antarctica worth it?

In photos: 22 reasons to visit Antarctica

A photograph of a gentoo penguin in AntarcticaAtlas & Boots

From island-sized icebergs to close encounters with humpback whales, we share some of the myriad reasons to visit Antarctica

Antarctica was the final frontier for us. It was the only continent we hadn’t visited – our seventh – and a twice-postponed adventure that we had been planning for over two years.

Antarctica: why my seventh continent was more than just an ego trip

Kia looks out across Paradise BayAtlas & Boots

Kia explains why a voyage to Antarctica finally gave her a sense of peace

I am one of six sisters, which has always earned me a certain cachet; a sort of second-hand, useless celebrity like that of air hostesses and identical twins. The last time I mentioned “all my sisters” in public, a stranger cut in to ask how many. People are often keen to know if we all get along, how often we see each other and what it was like growing up. 

12 of Earth’s most remote places and communities

An abandoned whaling boat in BarrowDreamstime

From eastern Greenland to northern Alaska, we explore some of the most remote places on Earth

Whether it’s astronomical distances, inhospitable climates or extreme terrains that define these remote and hostile lands, there’s one thing they all have in common: they are on my bucket list. That and the fact that people live there.

The seven second summits: a tougher challenge

seven second summits k2 - 1

The seven second summits are considered to be a much harder mountaineering challenge than the more popular seven summits

Previously, I’ve written about my dream of climbing the seven summits and laid out a realistic if not deeply challenging and expensive program of how to achieve that goal.

This week I look at the seven second summits; the second-highest mountains on each continent. The highest summits are a dream of mine, but I draw the line at the second-highest – they’re simply too scary for an amateur enthusiast like me!

30 most beautiful mountains in the world

Ama Dablam is a thing of beautyDaniel Prudek/Shutterstock

The most beautiful mountains in the world have captivated climbers for centuries. Here, we examine their lethal appeal

“You are not in the mountains. The mountains are in you,” said John Muir, the renowned naturalist, author and environmental philosopher.

If our resident seven-summit hopeful is anything to go by, Muir makes a valid point. Those who spend time in the mountains seem to be driven by a deeper force.

13 stunning natural phenomena

Gregory B Cuvelier/Shutterstock

From the famous northern lights to the lesser-known sea of stars, we share the world’s most stunning natural phenomena

It’s firefall time. Every year, beginning around late February, the setting sun hits Yosemite’s Horsetail Falls at just the right angle to light the cascade in blazing orange and red hues, giving the appearance of flowing fire or lava. To celebrate the spectacle, we’re exploring the world’s most stunning natural phenomena.

Poles of inaccessibility: the middle of nowhere

Poles of inaccessibility - northern poleDreamstime

The poles of inaccessibility are arguably the true last frontiers for explorers. But where and what are they?

I’ve long been fascinated with the most remote places on Earth and the epic journeys of discovery to reach them. I’ve spent countless long mornings lying in bed leafing through giant reference books on the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration and even longer afternoons poring over immense maps detailing epic quests across untamed oceans.

10 Hikes through the cleanest air in the world

Iceland is one of our Hikes in the cleanest air in the worldDreamstime

From Canada’s wild backcountry to the jungles of Brunei, we share some fantastic hikes through the cleanest air in the world

A few months after we moved to the country, some friends from London came up to visit. Stepping from the car, one commented that ‘it feels like mountain air up here’. I laughed and said, ‘it’s not that cold.’ He shook his head and said, ‘I don’t mean the temperature. I mean the quality.’

Climbing the seven summits: a route to the top

Eight-thousanders-everestDreamstime

Climbing the seven summits – the highest mountain on every continent – is an improbable dream of mine… but that’s the beauty of dreams

I have always loved trekking and climbing. I usually spend several weeks of any given year on the grades of the Scottish Highlands or Welsh Snowdonia or ideally further afield such as the Arctic Circle Trail in Greenland or the K2 base camp trek in Pakistan.

Mountaineering calendar: when to climb the world’s greatest mountains

The iconic Matterhorn is one of the most beautiful mountains in the world

Since I first started climbing, I must have spent hours typing “when is the best time to climb…” into search engines and then crawling through websites to find the key piece of information I needed. Only when I have a date in mind can I start to think about the practicalities of actually trying to climb a mountain (i.e. booking time off work, flights, budget, gear etc).

To solve this problem once and for all, Atlas & Boots has put together a mountaineering calendar of the world’s greatest mountains and the optimal time of year at which to climb them. Drawing on Adventure Consultants’ expedition calendar, we list the world’s major mountains and ranges month by month.

The list is not entirely inclusive as it would take too long to list every mountain on the planet. Likewise, to avoid repetition we list select mountains in a range, considering the world’s 100 highest mountains lie within the Himalaya and Karakoram ranges. We have also excluded winter ascents from the list because, well, if you’re that guy, you probably don’t need a calendar.

Animal instinct: eco-friendly wildlife tours

Eco-friendly wildlife tours serengetiDreamstime

A curated selection of eco-friendly wildlife tours that place animal protection at the top of their agenda

Having just returned from an incredible diving trip in the Great Barrier Reef, we’ve seen first hand how important it is to choose eco-friendly wildlife tours to minimise the environmental impact of our travels.

We’ve always maintained that tourists should be able to visit vulnerable places as long as they do so in a sustainable way. Of course, no tourism is impact-free. Only last month, a cruise ship guard tragically shot dead a polar bear in Norway

7 adventure sailing holidays for your bucket list

adventure sailing holidays-svalbardDreamstime

Adventure sailing holidays have the ability to carry passengers to the far reaches of the world, accessing some of the most remote and magnificent scenery the world has to offer.

Having recently returned from my first tall ship sailing adventure off the west coast of Scotland, and with my interest for the high seas well and truly piqued, I take a look at some adventure sailing holidays I would love to join.

Where to see the southern lights

Where to see the southern lights: AntarcticaAustralian Antarctic Division; Fair Use

From Australia to Antarctica, we list the best places to see the southern lights

People often ask “aren’t you done with travelling?” or “where is there left to go?”

To be honest, we thought that 2018 would be the year we sort-of settled down and maybe looked into a semi-permanent base somewhere in England’s Peak District…

Volcanic seven summits of the world

We take a look at the volcanic seven summits – the highest volcano on each continent

The volcanic seven summits may not be coveted with the same vigour as the seven summits or even the seven second summits, but the peaks still offer a worthy challenge

We’ve just returned from Erta Ale volcano in Ethiopia, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Erta Ale may not be as lofty or as challenging as the following summits, but it did remind us why we stand in awe of volcanoes – active or not.