Where next: 2021 – COVID-19 Update

Here’s a copy of my Where Next page that I made today (26 March 2021). The page displayed all the optimism (and desperation) of January 2021. My updated “Where’s Next” page has a little less of both….

None of these trips are going to happen.

I’ve written off any foreign travel this year, and definitely no big trip – even if we’re vaccinated I can’t imagine Nepal will be, and the prospect of sitting in an aeroplane for 7-10 hours with a transfer in India or Dubai does not appeal. With Europe heading into its Third Wave and post-BREXIT relations already soured, Italy and Spain are highly unlikely. That said, I’ll be happy if we get to the autumn and I’m proved wrong.

Plus we’ve really not explored around here yet, and I really want to see family and friends – right now the prospect of being able to spend a long weekend in Pembs with the Everest Trek Crowd at the end of May is a huge highlight.


2021

I’m hoping to be able to do some of the 2020 trips that we had to postpone due to COVID-19, and to get to see more of the Marches and Wales.

I feel I got off lightly last year – 2020 was always going to be focused on relocating to Herefordshire and so I’d not made any Big Travel Plans. In fact the only trips in the diary were a return to northern Spain with Steffi and Hazel to walk the El Anillo de Picos in the company of Alfonso who led 2019’s week in the Picos plus a week or so in northern Italy for Michael and Katja’s wedding.


Trip No. 1 of 2021: Northern Italy (postponed from 2020)

Destination: Val d’Aosta, north of Turin

When: Summer 2021

What: City break + History + Mountains + Friends. Maybe taking advantage of Michael and Katja’s Aosta Wanderlust.

How: TBC – last year we ended up booking flights to/from Turin, but the idea of travelling there and back by train still appeals….

Why: For Michael and Katja’s wedding.

Trip No. 2 of 2021: El Anillo de Picos (postponed from 2020)

Destination: The Picos de Europa, Northern Spain.

When: August / September 2021.

What: Steffi, Hazel and I – plus Rache – return to Northern Spain to walk El Anillo de Picos.

How: In the wonderful company of Alfonso Gallego de Lerma who was our excellent guide/leader on Exodus’ Picos de Europa trip we did in July 2019.

Why: July 2019’s trip whetted the appetite even though the bad weather restricted our routes and made the Grade 5 trip closer to the standard Grade 3 holiday than any of us would have wished.

This time we’ll get to spend a long week in the Picos de Europa proper, hiking in and around  the three massifs. We will be staying in refugios and carrying “everything” with us.  That shouldn’t be as dramatic as it sounds – we are used to carrying wet weather gear and warm layers, plus lunch and water, in our day packs and will only need a sheet sleeping bag for the refugios which will also provide all our meals. I for one am not renowned for my vast wardrobe when I’m walking …. Plus we will have clean clothes to enjoy once we’ve competed El Anillo.

Itinerary: Factoring in travel to/from London, our itinerary is:

  • Day 0: Travel to London
  • Day 1: Fly to Bilbao. Travel to Arenas de Calabres.
  • Days 2 to 8: Trekking through the Picos.
  • Day 9: Relax and swim…. Drive to Bilbao or Santander. Visit the city.
  • Day 10: Fly to London
  • Day 11: Travel back from London

Trip No. 3 of 2021: Kanchenjunga Base Camp and Beyond …

Destination: Kanchenjunga, Eastern Nepal.

When: November 2021 TBC

What: Trekking to one/both of the Kanchenjunga base camps and out again. Route TBC. All Nepal side. Val ran through some options when we met at Steffi’s in 2020. With hindsight, getting everyone to Pembs then was a rare event! Options are:

  • North & South Basecamps (~5100m & ~4780m) – 25/26 days
  • North Basecamp & Lumba Sumba (~4700m) – 23 days
  • North Basecamp there and back via the Milke Danda & Tumlingtar – 21/22 days

How: Trekking with the amazing Val Pitkethly and Chhering. Not sure who else!

Why: More high mountains, more remote communities and another section of the GHT.

Kanchenjunga Routes - Val's map
Kanchenjunga Routes – Val’s map