Munro: a Scottish hill over 3000ft (915m). We’d been climbing them off and on for the past decade and, having acquired a habit of cycling to peaks in the Andes, thought we’d give it a whirl in Scotland on newly acquired Genesis Caribou fatbikes. Fully expecting the weather to be lousy we foresaw cutting the trip short when it became too miserable, but after the wettest summer in years we got lucky – just the 1 hour of drizzle in 12 days. Cue some fantastic off-road biking and hiking in some wild, unspoilt landscapes.
It’s strange to go from a life where every hour is recorded with a photo of some mountain scene, meeting different people everyday and sleeping at a different coordinate every night to a lifestyle where you sleep in the same place, spend all day in the same place and the hours and days all merge into one. We desperately needed somewhere we could call home, so have chosen to ‘settle down’, and I have a great job helping people plan trips to Patagonia; but you can’t help missing life on a bike.
I had a week of leave and sadly Neil had to work so I took my shiny new road bike and sought out some climbs, solo for the first time. I rollercoastered endlessly and felt blissfully happy just spinning my wheels, deep in my own thoughts and chatting to the lovely people I met. This was the Harriet I like the most.
Sorry if there were more food references than usual. Thats what happens when you let a chica out on her bici alone. I’ll also take the liberty, whilst Neil isn’t watching, to add a gear shot.
This advance copy was flown in from the printers, and the boxes of other copies should be in the UK by around 20th January, and can then start being distributed. If you’re looking for invaluable information about hiking or biking in this beautiful mountain area, inspiration about where to head to in the Andes, or just want to look at some pretty pictures and maps, please order yourself a copy.
We’ve put together the little website blancahuayhuash.com to sell the book from – please do take a look. If you buy directly from said site we can sign the copies we send you out, and the bonus for us is that we keep a far bigger percentage of the proceeds from the sale. If you’d prefer, you can also buy the guide (pre-order it, at the moment) from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com – there are links to these sites from this page at blancahuayhuash.com . (We get a small commission if you click through to Amazon from these links, but it doesn’t cost you anything extra).
Merry Christmas everyone, and once all the seasonal festivities are over, why not cheer yourself up in January with a copy of the guide to help plan for a trip to Peru?!
H & N
We’ll leave you with some shots of us at work in the field …
Last year when we were out in Peru having a ball hiking and biking mountain trails, the kind people at Cicerone sent us a review copy of their new guide, ‘Hiking and Biking Peru’s Inca Trails’. For various reasons we’ve only just managed to get our hands on the copy, and though we haven’t used it in the field, can offer a few general thoughts on the book, and relay comments from friends who have made use of it on the ground.
Firstly it’s a nicely written guide, with plenty of colour, enticing photos and comes in a compact size which is ideal for slipping into a rucksack when you’re out on the trail. There are loads of routes included, and even if you stick to just what’s in the guide you’d be kept occupied for months – maybe even for a whole dry season out there. In fact, it’s a wonderful source if you’re looking for inspiration and ideas about where to ride or walk in the area, with far more options than other guidebooks we’re aware of.
Leafing through it reveals that it doesn’t have a great amount of detail about individual routes – write ups aren’t that long, the maps are drawn at a scale of over 1:200k and don’t display that much information, and there’s no GPS information given; an index would’ve been nice too. Those that have used the guide out in Peru have told us that this lack of detail means it’s best to try and get more detailed maps and GPS tracks to accompany the book to avoid navigation problems on the trails, and also that the accuracy of distances and spot heights isn’t great.
So, a great place to get some inspiration, and we’re all for letting the world know what a paradise Peru is for hiking and biking, but you might want to get other information to assist you in finding your way when out on the trail. (I know we’re not exactly impartial in this, but…) If you’re just looking to hike on one of the better known trails in the area, and want a guide with enough detail to help you do this, you’ll find the hand-drawn maps and longer write ups in Trailblazer’s The Inca Trail guide are a lot more comprehensive.
A year since our arrival in Peru; it’d flown by. 12 months wandering trails, turning cranks up hills, flying frozen down descents and softly shaking Peruvian hands. In a few short weeks we’d be back in the old country, and for the first time didn’t have a ‘next trip’ planned. Heading back to the UK to stay was a foreign concept – we’d spent longer in Huaraz than almost anywhere these past few years. At the foot of the Blanca, it’d been a good home.
For our guidebook research we’d saved a real treat for last: a return to the Huayhuash, in the company of two fine young bicycling gents, Alex and Nathan.
* We soon learnt this was Austrian for ‘kühl, ja’.