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One to watch…

It’s going to be interesting to see how this story pans out.

I quite liked flying in and out of Oslo Rygge airport the last time Caroline and I headed over to Norway and had no problems with this airline either – either with bookings, at the airports or in flight…

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/06/01/ryanair-attacked-over-oslo-base-closure/

The full announcement (which include information on flights in and out of Torp and Gardermoen) can be found here.

http://corporate.ryanair.com/news/news/160601-oslo-rygge-base-closure-16-route-cancellations-after-norwegian-govt-introduces-environmentally-friendly-tax/?market=en

 

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In the beginning…

Okay, what started it all?

My first visit to the Lake District some 42 years ago as part of my Duke Of Edinburgh’s Award expedition training. The venture had been arranged through school and our expedition trainers from Number 3 Army Youth Team, Royal Engineers. It was also the first trip away that didn’t involve any kind of parental presence!

We stayed in premises near The Golden Rule pub in Ambleside – a bunkhouse with basic cooking and washing facilities and enough beds for the Army guys, us and the teachers who had given up their weekend off to supervise us.

Yes, it was an all-male affair at that hut back in the early 1970s as the female contingent were staying at Ambleside Youth Hostel on the shores of Lake Windermere and they were doing different walks to us.

If memory serves me right, our first walk was over Scandale Pass to Brotherswater and then back over to Ambleside via Kirkstone Pass Inn. As we were all under age and there were teachers with us, there wasn’t the chance to down a pint at lunchtime, so thoughts were more focussed on the map reading and the surrounding countryside rather than staying on our feet and pointing ourselves in the right direction.

The odd half was enjoyed later in the day though after the walk as we cleaned up, ate at the baked potato bar in Ambleside and then hit some licensed premises without any teachers in tow…

Was it Worthington E or Watney’s Red Barrel? The name of the brew is lost in time, but the half went down well and my sensible head took over and ensured that it wasn’t followed by another one.

The second day’s walking was somewhat easier – over Loughrigg and back before getting back into Ambleside, picking up our holdalls and getting the bus back home.

That first trip wasn’t the last one as most of us went on our first camping venture for the Award – to Neaum Crag camp site near Skelwith Bridge. Then came a winter venture based at Ambleside Youth Hostel with a day on Fairfield and a snowball fight with the teachers on Loughrigg… But I’d already been bitten by the bug on that first trip.

In the years since then I’ve walked in the UK, Norway, Switzerland, Austria, France, Spain, done some climbing and biking, headed out on cross-country skis in Norway, Austria, Scotland and County Durham and travelled to a few other places too to see what’s out there.

I’ve also been an instructor for a local authority where part of my remit was to train youngsters up for the expedition section of The Duke Of Edinburgh’s Award and last, but not least, I became a writer on a range of walking and other outdoor/travel titles and worked on the magazine that had helped nurture my early interest in the outdoors – Climber.

When the latter came calling, i’d successfully gone from rock to rock as I’d been a music writer for a few years too doing live reviews, album reviews and interviews too. Oh, and had managed a trio of bands too. 160 bands in a year? That’ll do nicely!

The skills learned in the 1970s and at Glenmore Lodge when I did my Mountain Leader training in the 1980s are still used, but not as often as they used to be after a stroke a few years ago. Sometimes I can do thirteen miles in a day, sometimes it’s four – it just depends on how I’m feeling at the time. The memories don’t go away though as I found out when Caroline and I headed to the Lakes last year.

We’d found an apartment near Ambleside whilst trawling the internet for accommodation. Small, comfortable and just what we needed to do some walking, photography or cycling as the leaves changed colour in time for Autumn.

By sheer coincidence, the apartment was part of the complex at Neaum Crag near Skelwith Bridge that emerged when the camp site I’d visited in the 1970s was closed down in the 1980s….

2015, here we come…

Yes, we’re twelve days into 2015 and if the news/opinion/conjecture is anything to go by, it could be a good year for travelling.

Will the exchange rate (pound v euro for example) stay favourable?

Will air fares come down thanks to the price of oil and changes to APD charges?

Will George bite the bullet on Budget Day and drop APD charges as a sweetener in the run-up to the election in May?

Will more people head off to foreign shores as a result?

Or will they stay at home in the UK and take advantage of the current lower fuel prices?

And lower food prices if self catering thanks to supermarket wars?

Will travellers cut down on tech and talk to real people in hostels and destinations rather than immersing themselves in what’s onscreen on their smartphones, tablets or laptops?

Or realise that you can travel on hand luggage only, even if it’s a three-six month trip?

(I suspect that the lady Caroline and I were talking to in Tavira may have cut down on her bag sizes after seeing our Osprey packs. A few Brits staying in the same hotel were similarly gobsmacked when they saw us checking out on our last day there…)

Or realise that by flying hand luggage only, you can cut out hold luggage and bag in the cab boot charges – more money for nights on the town, a better meal or sightseeing…

Or realise that staying in one, two or three places rather than five, six, seven or more can be a more worthwhile experience as you can see more, pay less, relax and linger over breakfast rather than rushing out for a train to get to the next port of call…

(Best example of this is the American guy I met who had arrived in Bergen that morning, had joined the Norway In A Nutshell tour and was heading to Oslo from Myrdal then onwards to Stockholm and then to HelsinkiScandinavia ticked off in 24 hours! D’oh…)

Our trip list for 2015 has been discussed, but there’s a couple of late suggestions going into the melting pot.

One is a visit to Northern Ireland to visit Bushmills, Giant’s Causeway and the Armoy motor cycle road races.

The other is to visit a place that’s been mentioned a few times, but has come to the fore once more thanks to the book I’ve just finished reading, watching Casablanca last week and news stories over the last few days.

I’ve walked in the Jura and in Provence, but we’ve never been to Paris.

Yet…