The birds are singing this morning in the forest behind my house, the woodland is deserted, and the flowers are blooming in the warm sunshine that heralds spring has arrived in the French Alps. Yes, there is a chilly wind, but we know change is on its way. I glance always to the snowy peaks and ridges sparkling in the sun and accept that it may be a long time before I can return to the mountains. This is life in 'alpine' lockdown and tomorrow we enter week 2 with no sign of restrictions being removed.
The splendid landscape of the Peak District is the ideal destination for trail runners, offering a range of routes to suit all levels of experience, in some of England’s finest scenery. The Peak District has long been known as a paradise for walkers and climbers, but it’s also a wonderful place for fell runners, with some of the best off-road running in the entire country. This is the place to come to really stretch your legs, over rocky ascents, moorland, craggy ridges and muddy ditches.
Tracks and Trails is proud to be the first ever BASI Approved Nordic Ski School. We have been awarded the status of 'Approved' ski school by the British Association of Snowsport Instructors. As such we are the only company offering cross country ski instruction to be awarded this recognition. The award is given only to those who demonstrate high standards of professionalism and quality instruction and we are delighted to have earned this accolade.
BASI Nordic Director, John Mordue said, "This confirms that Tracks and Trails are operating to the highest professional standards."
The Hardangervidda in Norway is one of the most famous winter environments in the world. It is a high wild plateau where travelling on skis is the best way to experience the true wilderness. This stunning mountain landscape is Norway's largest mainland national park and home to herds of reindeer, as well as beaver, arctic fox, and elk. This winter we are offering you the chance to experience the solitude, tranquility and stunning beauty of the Hardangervidda.
We have just launched four new 'Off Track' tours which involve hut-to-hut long distance journeys on Nordic skis. Our 'Hardanger Classic Crossing' is very familiar to our guest blogger, and guide, Jason Franks who gives us an insight into guiding this world-class ski route.
Tracks and Trails have teamed up with Claire Maxted of Wild Ginger Running to offer our guests some co-run trail running trips for 2020 & 2021.
Claire co-founded Trail Running magazine in 2010, and then in 2017 she set up Wild Ginger Running, an advice and inspiration channel for trail and ultra runners. She joined the Tracks and Trails Team in summer 2019 to check out the fabulous routes available in Chamonix, the French Alps. In 2020 she will be joining us on a UK Trail Running Camp and a Chamonix Trail Camp to help her reach her ultimate goal, a 6-day point to point UTMB that she will run with Tracks and Trails.
Claire would like share with you her: Top 10 Christmas gifts for Trail & Ultra Runners Discount codes and links below!
Check out the BONUS item!
Describing this wonderful winter sport to the uninitiated is a challenge, not because it is difficult to learn or indeed to describe, but because it can be hard to get to grips with the many different types of skis and ski techniques. The terminology and language is a challenge in itself. “Am I actually booking the correct type of ski course?” is a common question.
At Tracks and Trails we specialise in ‘cross-country skiing'. This article will attempt to clarify a few points, and answer some frequently asked questions.
UTMB, the big dance, the ultimate pinnacle of mountain ultra racing in Europe; 106 miles with 10,000m of vertical gain and loss, more than Everest, with a 46.5hr cutoff departing from Chamonix at 6pm on Friday 30th August running to Italy and through to Switzerland before making it back to Chamonix. Hikers normally take 9-12 days to complete the route. To even apply to run you need to complete a certain number of qualifying races in an allotted time during the qualifying period, which is basically 3 kick-arse races in 12 months prior to be valid and then you go into a ballot so after apply for 3 years in a row I finally got in.
Tracks and Trails was born from a passion for the natural environment and we love sharing our mountain playground with you. But every year, we're sad to visibly see glaciers recede, mountains crumble and more and more extreme weather - all as a direct result of climate change. 2019 - 2020 is our year to make a difference and we are convinced that every little helps.
Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea where the mountains refuse to be tamed, and where nature rules. Over the centuries the island, which is a region of France, has been invaded more than two hundred times, and the local people, who are fiercely proud, love to quote “Often invaded, never put under.” It’s an attitude and spirit, which continues today.
The landscape of Corsica is so much wilder than I ever imagined; rocky ridges, pristine forests full of aromatic plants, tumbling rivers of crystal clear water, high pasturelands where the shepherds still graze their sheep, and forest dens where the wild pigs forage in the undergrowth. For those who like statistics; Corsica is the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean, after Sicily, Sardinia and Cyprus. It is 183 km long, 83 km wide, and has 1000 km of coastline with over 200 beaches. I have been a full time International Mountain Leader for fourteen years, and I am happy to report that the island is now top of my list of favourite places to walk in the mountains.
On 30 June 2019 I finished the 42k Mont Blanc Marathon.
I came across the Tracks and Trails introduction to trail running camp in Chamonix in 2016 when I was looking for one final challenge before I started my career as a solicitor. Tracks and Trails had great reviews and the camp seemed like the perfect opportunity to get out of my comfort zone, try something new and run in one of the most beautiful places in the world. I signed up alone with absolutely no experience in trail running, a new pair of trail shoes, and a few hours of running on a treadmill at an incline.
Little did I know that I would quickly fall in love with trail running during that week that I would be back in Chamonix running the 42km Mont Blanc Marathon. During the camp Julia taught us everything from how to tackle technical descents, the pros and cons of using poles, running across snow, nutrition, heart rate monitoring and pacing. In the back of my head I kept thinking about the Mont Blanc Marathon and it stuck with me for another three years.