As we mentioned on our About page there are more ways than just trekking to see the UK or any countryside for that matter. An often overlooked form of getting around is the good ol fashioned push bike. Not only is this a healthy option when compared to getting on a motorbike or other motor vehicle but you can also move quicker than walking or trekking alone.
Going for a bike ride through the country side is very refreshing and allows you to experience the environment first hand. You can smell the fresh air and literally stop to smell the roses if you wish. We recommend going with either an organised tour group, a friend or group of friends. It is much more satisfying when you can share in the experience with someone else. Also an organised tour can often take you to hidden places that are not in the tour books.
However there are also advantages of going by yourself, or with only your close friends. That is that you can choose exactly where you want to go, can spend more time exploring the places that you want, and can skip out on places that you find boring.
If you are a visitor and don't have a bike that is fine. A quick search around the local area can lead to to places where you can hire a pushbike from, however we always recommend checking out the local classifieds for bargain purchases. You can often surprise yourself. For the amount of a few extra dollars over a hire price you can often buy your own bike that you can keep. That way you don't have to worry about returning it to any destination in the future. Also if you take care of it you should be able to resell it for the same or similar value.
We are not promoting that you should ride to the next town or village to explore the UK on bike, it was more a recommendation to explore a town or village you are staying in while you are visiting that area. But by all means if you are travelling light this too could be an option for you. Maybe not to tackle the whole countryside on a pushbike but it could be an option for going between two or three close villages.
So while planning your UK travel adventure don't rule this form of transport out. It is a great way to get out and see the countryside, absorb the fresh air and really get back to nature. If you get a mountain bike you can even go off the beaten path and find some great hideaway destinations.
Have you ever heard of Ben Nevis? It is only the highest point in the whole of the UK. How high is it? At only 1.3km above sea level it shows that the UK it is nowhere near Mount Everest standing tall at 8.8km high, but it is the highest in the British Iles nonetheless. Also at this height their is often snow at the peak in the colder months of the year. So what happens when a group of young Australian boys decided to climb the beast of a mountain to the peak? It's actually quite a funny story.
After making their way to Fort Denison which is the nearby town they ventured to the base of the mountain where trekking takes place. The boys, obviously prepared for anything, camped at this base overnight ready to take on the challenge of the great climb the next day. In the cheapest tents they could buy, by the way. These tents did not have any fly so they were praying that it did not rain.
After night one there was overcast skies but no rain so things were looking up. Arising to the morning sun they began getting ready for their big day of trekking. After talking with some of the local rangers it was advised not to were jeans on the climb as you can easily sweat in the jeans and then when reaching the top the below freezing temperatures can cause your jeans to go solid from the frozen sweat! "No thanks" - they said. But looking through their simple day pack bags they realised the only other pants they had apart from jeans was board shots. So they did the only appropriate thing they could think of. They put on their board shorts and lots of clothing layers on the top half of their bodies and began to trek up Ben Nevis.
As they started the trail they ran into what appeared to be a tourist check in point. The Australians walked into this building and began having a look around and talking with the ranger. He looked at the boys and said "you are not going up the mountain like that are you? If you do that is positively suicidal." The boys looking quite amused told him why they choose broadsheets over their jeans and said "Of course we are going, that's why we are here". And off they went.
The next few hours were long and as they rose higher the temperature fell. The boys kept warm from the heat of moving and the general climb but what happened next was the best part.
The top of the mountain was snow filled and there was a slight snowfall. The Aussies where thrilled and one of them had never seen snow before. So what else do you do in the snow? They started making snow balls and had a snow fight.
So here they were. About 6 Aussie lads who were in their board shorts throwing snowballs at each other and having a laugh at the highest point in the UK. Needless to say you can imagine the look on the faces of the more seasoned trekker who came over the peak moments later. They were your typical older retired couple who were fully kitted out in hiking gear. They had the walking boots and proper layers of thermals and warmth. Watching each step carefully as they marched through the snow over the ridge to the mountain peak. Gasping for air now that they had made the peak they look up and see boys in shorts throwing snow balls. Mind you these boys were in their early twenties but still quite young compared to themselves.
When the fighting was over and cold was starting to settle in the boys quickly took charge to walk, rather jog or run down the mountain to gain their warmth. It was a few hundred feet below the peak that they began to gain feeling back in their fingertips after being slightly frozen with frost bite, but enjoyable nevertheless. To top things off that night met the boys with some slight rain which their cheap tents were not fully equipped to handle. All in all it made for a great experience and story to tell the kids!
How do I know all of this.. Lets just say that this was not my first time that I saw snow.