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!

Real-life hobbit houses that you can actually stay in

One of our favourite real-life hobbit housesNature.house

As travellers turn to nature in a post-pandemic world, we share 10 real-life hobbit houses that offer the perfect retreat

It’s said that humans are one of the most adaptable species on the planet. We have settled the High Arctic and explored the deep sea, making homes in the unlikeliest places. When circumstances change drastically, as they did in 2020, we are able to adapt rapidly to a new way of living. In fact, our collective slowdown last year was so profound, we saw immediate effects on the natural world

10 great outdoor destinations – and their British twins

Durdle Door on the Jurassic Coast is one of our favourite outdoor destinations in BritainBilly Stock/Shutterstock

From Alpine-esque peaks to Basque-country beauty, there’s a world’s worth of wonder right here at home

It’s strange that in a place literally named ‘Great’, we the British like to self-deprecate. We as a nation tend to regard blind ambition and gaudy success with a sense of mild distaste. We value modesty and restraint and seldom shout about our strengths.

Coast to Coast Walk tips: all you need to know

Coast to Coast Walk guide lead imageAtlas & Boots

We’ve collated all our Coast to Coast Walk tips in a detailed Q&A-style guide to help you along this classic English journey

I recently hiked England’s Coast to Coast Walk which crosses northern England from St Bees Head in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay in Yorkshire. As the route practically passes my home in Richmond, I decided to walk the footpath twice and experience the celebrated trail in both directions.

The travel that changed me: Tharik Hussain

Stari Most, an Ottoman bridge in Bosnia and HerzegovinaMehmet/Shutterstock

Kia speaks to author Tharik Hussain and explains why his book about Muslim Europe is changing her thoughts about her own religion

If I had read Minarets in the Mountains in my youth, I would have almost certainly felt differently about my religion. My parents were Bangladeshi immigrants to the UK and in an effort to cling on to their identity, followed a highly prescriptive version of Islam that wasn’t very much fun.

National parks in Wales: which one is right for you?

Llyn Fan y Fach is a 20,000 year-old glacial lakeAndreac77/Shutterstock

When it comes to Britain’s breathing spaces, the national parks in Wales compete with the best of them. Here, we explain why

Surrounded by sea on three sides, Wales is a dream destination for outdoor enthusiasts. While not as rugged as Scotland, or romantically perceived like Ireland, deepest Wales is just as beguiling. 

Lonely corners abound on dramatic mountain passes, deep river valleys and weather-lashed cliffs. Scattered seamlessly across the natural landscape are Iron Age hill forts, Roman ruins and over 600 castles – more per capita, it’s said, than any other country in the world. 

20 (typically modest) natural wonders in the UK

Natural arch of Durdle Door. natural wonders in the ukDreamstime

The best natural wonders in the UK may not equal those in the US, Canada or Australia, but the sometimes quirky, always striking sights are still worth seeing

When the ArcelorMittal Orbit was foisted on the London skyline in 2012, it split opinion rather starkly. I, for my sins, thought it was quirky and interesting while Peter thought it a blight on the landscape.

Ranked: most peaceful countries in the world 2021

map of the most peaceful countries in the world 2021Vision of Humanity

The most peaceful countries in the world have been updated for 2021. Read our insights from the study and browse the rankings below

Iceland is once again the most peaceful country in the world followed by New Zealand, Denmark, Portugal, and Slovenia.

However, the world is a less peaceful place as civil unrest and political instability has increased due to the global pandemic according to the latest Global Peace Index (GPI) report.

100 greatest hikes in the Lake District National Park

best hikes in the Lake District National Park lead WindermereDaniel_Kay/Shutterstock

From the shores of England’s deepest lake to the summit of its highest peak, we share the greatest hikes in the Lake District National Park

England’s Lake District is home to some of the nation’s most picturesque panoramas. The park’s craggy ridges, hidden tarns and glistening lakes have enticed walkers ever since the first ‘Lake Poets’ of Wordsworth and Coleridge put pen to paper in the 19th century.

I’ve lost my traveller edge

Alien landscape at Dallol in Ethiopia

After a year and a half at home, Kia finds travel a little more challenging than it used to be

There’s a certain level of hubris that comes with a travel lifestyle. I’m not talking about the curated selfies of Instagram or endless filtered sunsets but travel that predates it: the hardened journo grabbing his go-bag en route to a conflict zone, the high-powered CEO taking another red eye, or the ‘third culture kid’ who frequently flies between three cities. 

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.

Britain’s best long-distance footpaths

Britain’s best long-distance footpaths england coast pathDreamstime

Britain’s best long-distance footpaths provide excellent access to the UK’s outdoors while showcasing the finest scenery our isles have to offer

When you think of the best long-distance hiking trails from around the world, little old Britain probably wouldn’t top of your list. Hikers will more likely be drawn to the Triple Crown of the Appalachian, Continental Divide and Pacific Crest trails in the US, New Zealand’s Great Walks or the famous Annapurna Circuit and Everest Base Camp treks in Nepal.

10 best hikes in New Forest National Park

best hikes in New Forest national park lead imageCopyright (c) 2020 Nick Brundle Photography/Shutterstock. No use without permission.

The best hikes in New Forest National Park reveal a quintessential slice of English countryside

Despite its name, the New Forest is neither new nor much of a forest. The region was first declared a royal hunting preserve in 1079 by William the Conqueror and the landscape is more heathland (the most extensive area remaining in Europe) than contiguous woodland. The word ‘forest’ actually descends from Old French for ‘hunting ground’.

Ranked: happiest countries in the world 2021

happiest countries in the world 2021 mapCreated with Datawrapper

Finland tops the rankings of the happiest countries in the world for the fourth year running

Happiness is a nebulous thing; hard to grasp and harder to hold onto. Scientists, economists and philosophers have defined it through the ages as a combination of different things, among them health, wealth, companionship and security.

Highlander Adventure treks: 15 unique trails to explore

The ring-shaped rock formation of Hajdučka Vrata (Outlaw’s Gate) on ČvrsnicaMirnes Ibrahimagic/Shutterstock

The collection of Highlander Adventure treks has been expanded for 2021. We take a look at the exciting new trails on offer

In 2020, I joined my first Highlander Adventure trek in Croatia and was thoroughly won over by the semi-solo style of trekking. This year, I was pleased to see the collection expand from five treks to 15 and am planning (hoping?) to join two more – in Spain and North Macedonia.

Q&A: Climbing every mountain in the Yorkshire Dales

Descending Calf Top after climbing every mountain in the Yorkshire Dales

Between lockdowns, I wrapped up a challenge that started nearly two years ago: climbing every mountain in the Yorkshire Dales National Park

Just over a year ago, I was stood atop Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America and the highest outside of Asia. It was my third – arguably fourth – peak of the seven summits. As I descended the scree slopes, I was in high spirits and full of optimism for the year ahead.