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20 interesting facts about Pakistan

From savage mountains to political firsts, we share the most interesting facts about Pakistan.

I recently visited Pakistan for the first time to complete the K2 base camp trek. I would be lying if I said that I had booked my flights without a hint of trepidation. Pakistan has long suffered from bad press, exacerbated by years of political instability. As such, there are still areas of Pakistan where travel is not advisable

During my visit, however, I not once felt in danger or concerned for my safety. I felt more comfortable walking the streets in Pakistan than I have in most South-Asian countries – though I should add that this is anecdotal and comes from my experience as a white man.

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19 interesting facts about Greenland

We share the most interesting facts about Greenland collected on a visit to the spectacular polar region.

My recent trip to Greenland was defined by highs and lows – literally and metaphorically. My up-and-down adventures trekking the Arctic Circle Trail were thrilling but also tinged with bitter disappointment when I failed to complete the trek due to a wildfire.

My spirits were lifted, however, by a captivating night camping at Russell Glacier followed by an unplanned stint in Ilulissat. I was rejuvenated by a series of exhilarating excursions including a visit to Eqi Glacier, a midnight-sun iceberg sightseeing boat trip and plenty of hiking around the icefjord.

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8 best things to do in Ilulissat, Greenland

Our selection of the best things to do in Ilulissat will help you make the most of your time in this breathtaking part of the world.

Ilulissat is the Greenland of glossy brochures. Smatterings of multi-coloured houses, iceberg-strewn waters, majestic sled dogs and gigantic glinting glaciers all contribute to the region’s raw photogenic appeal. It is quite simply one of the most spectacular environments on Earth.

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Visiting the Greenland ice sheet and Russell Glacier

Visiting the Greenland ice sheet and Russell Glacier offers an unparalleled opportunity to observe the country’s infamous interior.

The understated and lonely settlement of Kangerlussuaq in Greenland feels like the edge of the world. Despite lying 50km north of the Arctic Circle, however, there is little evidence of the spectacular scenery that can only be found in the most extremes of the planet: the Polar Regions.

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18 interesting facts about the Faroe Islands

We share the most interesting facts about the Faroe Islands gleaned from our brief but bracing trip to these wild Atlantic isles.

Positioned in the heart of the Gulf Stream, adrift in the North Atlantic at 62° north, the Faroe Islands lie to the northwest of Scotland – about halfway between Norway and Iceland.

The remote archipelago comprises 18 rocky islands connected by a series of tunnels, bridges and ferries. Just a short hop from the UK via Edinburgh, the islands are a paradise for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.

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10 best hikes in Dartmoor National Park

Our selection of the best hikes in Dartmoor National Park showcases the very finest of England’s wildest landscape.

I’ve always been fond of Dartmoor. I first visited as a child on a family holiday and I’ve returned regularly ever since. Famous for its wild ponies, open moorland and craggy granite tors (free-standing rocky outcrops that rise abruptly from the surroundings), it is one of the few genuinely wild places left in England.

Tucked away in the southwest of the country, Dartmoor National Park is home to some of the finest hiking in England. An array of trails criss-cross the wide open vistas and there are several routes to suit different abilities.

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10 great outdoor destinations – and their British twins

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.

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17 interesting facts about Bolivia

A selection of the most interesting facts about Bolivia we picked up during our visit.

Before we went to Bolivia, my entire education on the country came from this scene from the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Although our arrival in the country wasn’t quite as displeasing as Robert Redford’s, Bolivia did prove one of the more challenging countries we’ve visited. Cold showers, uninspiring cuisine and high altitude were just some of things we battled.

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Cape Point: where two oceans meet?

Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope are iconic geographic features, but are they really where two of the world’s oceans converge?

It makes for a fantastic publicity slogan, doesn’t it? The point at which two great oceans, the Atlantic and Indian, collide in powerful, eye-catching drama. It’s also highly convenient that this colossal spectacle takes place just an hour’s drive from one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Unfortunately, this bold claim made by countless tour operators in South Africa is not quite accurate.

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UNESCO’s newest World Heritage Sites

From Inuit hunting grounds to sacred mountain monasteries, UNESCO’s newest World Heritage Sites have been formally recognised for their outstanding value.

The aim of UNESCO’s list is to identify, protect and preserve sites of cultural and natural heritage considered to be of exceptional value to humanity. These sites include a range of locations such as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, east Africa’s Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt and Machu Picchu in Peru.

To be included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, nominated sites must be of “outstanding universal value” and meet at least one of 10 selection criteria.

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Britain’s best long-distance footpaths

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.

However, the UK does have an extensive network of long-distance footpaths. Managed by the National Trails in England and Wales and Scotland’s Great Trails north of the border, the UK has thousands of miles of tramping to be discovered – and the network continues to expand. Continue reading

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In photos: the best views in the Yorkshire Dales

We’ve put together a selection of the best views in Yorkshire Dales National Park, home to some of England’s prettiest landscapes. 

Having just moved to the area and started our exploration of the Yorkshire Dales in earnest, we thought it appropriate to share some of the wider scenery the Dales have to offer.

Yorkshire Dales National Park (YDNP) was designated in 1954 and extended by 24% in 2016 to cover 2,178 km2 in total. YDNP is famed for having some of the finest limestone landscapes in the UK with crags, pavements and caves set amid an expansive heather moorland of rolling hills and dramatic waterfalls, all criss-crossed with miles of dry stonewalls and picturesque villages. Continue reading

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20 interesting facts about Ireland

We share the most interesting facts about Ireland, gathered on a short hop to the country’s Reeks District.  

My latest trip to Ireland took me to an area of the country I had never visited: the newly renamed Reeks District. I spent my time hiking, kayaking, surfing and learning that there’s much more to Ireland than wild waters and high hills.

The island has a reputation rich in history, tradition, literature and music, not to mention its charismatic and friendly people. Over the years, I’ve picked up numerous interesting facts about Ireland. Here, I share my favourites. Continue reading

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Exploring Cooktown, Captain Cook’s historic landing site

We visit Cooktown in the far north of Queensland where Captain James Cook beached his crippled ship and helped found a giant country.

If you’ve seen a map of Australia, you’ve seen the huge, remote Cape York Peninsula, an area bigger than the UK, but with a population of just 18,000. Home to Australia’s northernmost point, Cape York Peninsula points upwards towards the Torres Strait and New Guinea in the northeastern corner of the continent-sized island of Australia.

On the southeastern edge of the peninsula with a population of around 2,600 lies Cooktown, a small town with a big history. We stopped off for a morning during our small-ship expedition around the Great Barrier Reef with Coral Expeditions. Continue reading

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Flinders Chase National Park: what not to miss

Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island is one of South Australia’s finest parks. We take a look at seven sights not to be missed.

Sprawled across the western end of Kangaroo Island, Flinders Chase National Park is home to wild coastline, diverse wildlife and some truly extraordinary landmarks. The park has steadily recovered from bushfires that destroyed over 400 sq km of land in 2007, and today offers a uniquely Australian landscape of sugar-gum canopies and mallee scrub.  Continue reading

Uluru Rock Tour: that time we camped in the outback

A 1,500km detour and two nights’ camping with spiders, snakes and dingoes – would the Uluru Rock Tour prove worth the pain?

Uluru, that iconic behemoth, that clay-red monolith, that sun-scorched sentry… that epic pain in the backside.

Yes, it’s big and, yes, it’s special, but bloody hell it’s far away. Almost right in the middle of Australia, Uluru is a major endeavour. Nearly every other sight in the country is scattered along the coast, which means planning a trip to Uluru involves a hefty detour from the rest of your route. Continue reading

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World firsts: exploring UNESCO’s original World Heritage sites

At last count, UNESCO’s World Heritage List included 1,073 locations across 167 countries or states. Here, we explore the 12 original World Heritage sites first listed in 1978.

The aim of UNESCO’s list is to identify, protect and preserve sites of cultural and natural heritage considered to be of exceptional value to humanity. These sites include a range of locations such as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, east Africa’s Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt and Machu Picchu in Peru. Continue reading