Fiona Reynolds takes time out during a trip to Scotland to climb one of its most beautiful little peaks: Ben Stack. Ben Stack's absurdly pretty mountain peak, seen from the west. Fiona Reynolds takes time out during a trip to Scotland to climb
'Fiona Reynolds takes time out during a trip to Scotland to climb one of its most beautiful little peaks: Ben Stack. Ben Stack's absurdly pretty mountain peak, seen from the west. Scotland: I can’t get enough of it. It’s been two years since I was last here — Loch Lomond and the Trossachs — but I have a few days’ work in the far north-west, near the little fishing port of Scourie on the west coast of Sutherland, and I’m determined to get in a walk. Memories of family holidays in Skye, with forays into the Cuillin and up the Quiraing, camping at Sandwood Bay and climbing Suilven and Stac Pollaidh, flood back. The first thing I remember, as we drive north from Inverness, is how vast the scale of everything is. The convenient circular walk or nip up a small peak — my usual habit in the soft lowlands, or even national parks, of England and Wales — isn’t possible here. [READ MORE: Fiona Reynolds’ walking articles for Country Life] As we drive north from Ullapool, glorious mountains rear skywards, lifting my spirits and whetting my appetite to explore; the great lumps of granite and scree appear almost unscaleable. We pass the bulks of Cul Mor and Suilven before Quinag looms, its three peaks both compelling and forbidding. We descend into Kylesku, across the ‘new’ curved bridge — before it was built, the queues for the tiny ferry were miles long — before arriving at Scourie. We haven’t much time, but I’m desperate to gain some height and breathe the heady, peat-scented Highland air. There’s one perfect candidate: the triangular-shaped Ben Stack, a few miles inland, rising seemingly vertically out of the valley that carries the rippling River Laxford. I’m attracted to Ben Stack partly because it reminds me of Cnicht in Snowdonia, a perfect conical mountain and the first peak I ever climbed. This has a similar feel: a gently sloping base capped by a steep cone-shaped top. ‘It’s a small peak by Scottish standards — not even a Munro — but we feel, literally, on top of the world’ There’s an obvious and welcoming track from the A838, which we take, climbing west out of the valley before swinging south below the base of our mountain. A spur leads off, now rising steeply, as we make our way towards the first shoulder. Pulling up the slope, we’re shocked by how dry it is: the little lochs have exposed, dry banks and the normally sodden peat is suspiciously easy to walk on. Still, the path is studded with beautiful wildflowers: bluebells, violets, milkwort and masses of common spotted orchids. As we reach the first shoulder, the peak rises temptingly before us: not far now, we think. This proves a mistake. As I look at my phone, I realise we’re less than 980ft up the 2,600ft climb. Of course, we did start near sea level! View from the top: Arkle and Foinaven seen from Ben Stack It’s a tough, but infinitely rewarding climb. We’re gaining height fast now and, at every step, the view opens up, especially to the west, where the sea lochs, studded with inlets and islands, stretch as if to the end of the world. Suddenly, there’s a whirr of wings and a ptarmigan lands close to us. We watch, fascinated, as it crouches by a grey stone, almost invisible with its perfect camouflage. That excuse for a rest over, we continue, feeling the pressure in our lungs as we climb. And then we’re there, and we breach the top of the cone to reveal a long, narrow ridge running parallel with the valley far below. The views are exhilarating and our sense of achievement profound. It’s a small peak by Scottish standards — not even a Munro — but we feel, literally, on top of the world. We gaze north to Arkle and Foinaven and south back to Quinag. Ben Stack is small, but perfect, our climb worth every step. The Highlands are beckoning again. \t \t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\tDaybreak on top of the Sugar Loaf. \t\t\t\tCredit: Alamy \t\t\t \t\t\t Climbing the Sugar Loaf, the irresistibly perfect mountain in a ‘wild and lovely’ setting The Sugar Loaf in Wales’s Black Mountains is a satisfying little peak to conquer, as Fiona Reynolds explains. \t \t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\t\t\tCredit: robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo\t\t\t \t\t\t Lundy Island: The joys of a good walk, inspiring beauty and no phone signal Fiona Reynolds was left refreshed and exhilarated after a trip to Lundy Island. \t \t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\tThe view south from Dunwich Cliffs towards Sizewell B Nuclear Power Station. \t\t\t\tCredit: Alamy\t\t\t \t\t\t Fiona Reynolds: A walk on the Suffolk coast that brings home the true horror of the new plans for Sizewell A few months after writing about a development at Otmoor, Fiona Reynolds visits the beautiful Suffolk coast — and can't'
HOW long would you wait before going on holiday with your new partner? Well, according to a new study, modern couples head off on a “make or break” holiday after just 12 weeks. A survey of 2,000 adults found 25 per cent of couples take a trip three
'HOW long would you wait before going on holiday with your new partner? Well, according to a new study, modern couples head off on a “make or break” holiday after just 12 weeks. Getty - Contributor Couples are going on holiday after just three months[/caption] A survey of 2,000 adults found 25 per cent of couples take a trip three months or earlier into their relationship. And around one in five go on a beach break – specifically to test if their partner is worth sticking with for good. A seven-day break to a short-haul destination is the most common, while one in eight confident couples jet off for a fortnight. One in 10 decided to travel further afield together, while 50 per cent chose somewhere closer to home. Getty - Contributor Around one in five go on a beach break – specifically to test if their partner is worth sticking with[/caption] The study also found couples’ behaviours are different on holiday, too. Three in 10 will have more sex, with two in five listing holiday sex as a way to feel closer to their other half. A third of couples believe that their partner is also more romantic on holiday. Of these, 56 per cent think their partner brings those feelings back home, while 25 percent believe the romantic feelings remain for two weeks post-holiday. Getty - Contributor A third of couples believe that their partner is also more romantic on holiday[/caption] And it seems huge life decisions are made on getaways too. A third of those surveyed used their holiday as an opportunity to talk to their other half about future plans, with one in eight couples deciding to get engaged or married. One in 10 decided to move in together. And a further 10 per cent felt inspired to start a family whilst on holiday. Getty - Contributor One in 10 decided to move in together[/caption] According to the survey, older couples, aged 55 and over, are the most likely to have a harmonious holiday together, with 43 per cent saying they can’t think of anything they disagree about with their partner. However, older couples who do fall out are most likely to disagree over directions and what to pack for the trip, while younger couples argue over money and which activities to do. Younger couples surveyed place more importance on holiday sex and taking lots of photos together in order to feel closer to their partner on their getaway. Older couples consider escaping somewhere idyllic with their partner and getting away from the daily grind of chores as main reasons they feel closer to their other half on holiday. Getty - Contributor Younger couples argue over money and which activities to do[/caption] Karl Thompson, managing director for Sandals Resorts in the UK, which commissioned the study, said: “Whether it’s a couple’s first trip together, a honeymoon to celebrate, or a more traditional break away from everyday life, a getaway with your partner can be the perfect chance to spend quality time together and strengthen those romantic bonds. “Whilst a week-long holiday may seem lengthy for a first trip away, it can be a good opportunity to see if a new relationship will stand the test of time and whether any romance lasts when you get home. “It is easy to place a great deal of expectation on a holiday with your partner, but they can be a great time to shake up a relationship and make plans for the future. “Despite worries about holidays going without a hitch, couples are still finding time to use their breaks away to plan the next step in their relationship and set life-changing decisions in motion.” \t \t\t \t\t \t\t \t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t MOST READ IN FABULOUS \t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\tWHEN HARRY AIN'T PALLY\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\tAwkward moment sheepish Meg is sternly told 'turn around' by Harry\t\t\t \t\t\t \t \t \t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\tSUPER SLICK\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\tWoman uses B&M's 89p washing liquid to melt grease off oven shelves in minutes\t\t\t \t\t\t \t \t \t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\tAND THEY'RE OFF\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\tRoyal Ascot Ladies Day punters dazzle in bright colours and pom-pom hats\t\t\t \t\t\t \t \t \t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\tON DEATH'S DOOR\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\tI was diagnosed with Crohn's disease after routine dental appointment\t\t\t \t\t\t \t \t \t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\tWE’RE ‘OVEN IT\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\tMums rave about little-known function that sees some ovens clean THEMSELVES\t\t\t \t\t\t \t \t \t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\tbody betrayal\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\tI had a stroke 29 weeks into my 'normal' pregnancy - now I'm paralysed at 24\t\t\t \t\t\t \t \t \t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t \t\t \t \t \t \t In other relationship news, we told you one bride-to-be was mocked after revealing her boyfriend proposed by sticking the ring in a McDonald’s Big Mac . We also revealed the savage text replies people have received from their sassy exes . And we showed you a man was slammed for asking his ex to return the sex toys he bought her . \t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t'
'Giving Compass’ Take: • Causeartist gives sustainable traveling tips and encourages people that although there will always be some struggles and setbacks, once you educate yourself about your energy consumption and carbon emissions, you will be able to find new ways to reduce them on your next journey. • How can donors help fund companies who make giving back inspiring and exciting by incorporating travel experience? • Here’s how to be an effective philanthropic traveler.From finding the perfect destination to eagerly packing your bags, planning your next vacation can be quite a fun and exciting task.However, instead of making travel beneficial only for you, why not do your best to benefit the world around you as well?From choosing sustainable means of transport to booking accommodation that doesn’t harm the environmental and local communities, there are many ways you can embrace eco-friendly traveling and do your part to make tourism a bit more of a sustainable practice.Listed below are some quick and easy steps you can follow in order to become a greener and more sustainable traveler: Choose your destination wisely Opt for green accommodation Consider your mode of transport Find ways to reduce waste Reduce energy usage and conserve water Read the full article about sustainable travel experiences by Sophia Smith at Causeartist. . The post The Ultimate Guide to a Sustainable Travel Experience appeared first on Giving Compass .'