Take me there: the Hebridean Trail
When it comes to wilderness adventures, the Outer Hebrides are Britain’s last frontier, which makes the launch of this new mountain bike trail all the more exciting. Devised by activity operator Wilderness Scotland (wildernessscotland.com), the 280km route weaves through seven islands in seven days, taking in pristine beaches, rugged mountain scenery and remote Gaelic-speaking communities. A week’s package – including accommodation, most meals, equipment, guiding and backup – costs ?995, with departures in May, June and September.
The dilemma I want to organise a post-exam escape this summer for a group of 10-15 friends, all aged 18. We’d like a house near the sea in the southwest. Any advice on somewhere that would actually let us in and wouldn’t cost a fortune? Daisy Newberry
Joanne replies This might seem an odd suggestion given that you are celebrating the end of exams, but have you considered campus accommodation? In the summer holidays, University College Falmouth opens its student digs to paying guests. Forget dreary bedsits: Glasney Student Village in Penryn (tremoughaccommodationfalmouth.co.uk) offers modern apartments a bus ride from some of south Cornwall’s finest beaches, and facilities – bar, restaurant, gym, barbecues, surfboard storage – that are more holiday camp than campus. Book a self-contained apartment with seven bedrooms plus shared kitchen/dining area for as little as ?84 per night. Hop on the bus to nearby Gyllyngvase beach or Miss Peapod’s Kitchen Cafe – famed for its organic food and DJ nights. If this doesn’t hit the spot, groupaccommodation.com has a good selection of houses, youth hostels and bunkhouses in Cornwall and Devon which can cater for large groups.
If you have a travel dilemma, email Joanne O’Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org
You don’t have to hit the country to escape the urban jungle. Here are three exceptional ways to tune into nature without leaving the confines of the capital…
1. Urban Wilderness Retreat Learn how to track animals, read clouds and find peace in the city guided by three nature writers. On 28 April, ?150 (theschooloflife.com)
2. Foraging in a Day Pick your own fruit, herbs and nettles in north London before joining a wild-food cookery workshop. Held on 22 and 23 June, ?150 (foodsafari.co.uk)
3. Wildlife photosafari Join photographer Andy Hornsbury snapping red deer and wildfowl in Bushy Park. Held on 7 May and 17 June, ?75 (tinyurl.com/7wabd8y)