Buy the latest issue of the magazine below with FREE P&P or head to your nearest good newsagents including WH Smith, WH Smith Travel and thousands of independent newsagents to pick up your copy now.
Active Traveller 2023/24
A few weeks ago, I bought myself a Garmin. I’d always thought “wearables” were a bit of a gimmick—an unnecessary upsell for activities like hiking, mountain biking, or running, that already sell themselves. But it hasn’t taken long for me to join the ranks of the true believers, and I now find myself evangelizing about things like Pulse OX Data to anyone bored enough to listen. For all the incredible info the watch spits out, however, there’s one essential benefit of outdoor exercise it can’t quantify. The true power of adventure, I’ve always thought, lies in its ability to boost both your short-term mood, and your long-term mental health.
This theory was backed up by a recent study from Finland, which found that people who visited green spaces three to four times a week were 33 percent less likely to be taking anti-depressants, and 36 percent less likely to be on blood pressure medication. It’s an idea borne out by the stories featured in this issue too: from Anna Blackwell’s trip to East Lothian (p. 38), where she revels in “the sense of calm contentment I only experience when surrounded by open spaces,” to James Forrest’s visit to Verbier (p. 56), where he talks of the “therapeutic power” of Switzerland’s scenery.
Elsewhere in the issue, we look at nature’s ability to heal itself, as well as the human spirit, with the story of Rewilding Argentina (p. 28). By reintroducing apex predators, this remarkable project is helping a damaged ecosystem recover, while simultaneously transforming the local economy. Its success can be seen the in numbers of new jobs created, but also in less measurable ways—like the renewed pride that locals say they now feel for their land.
Which makes sense, because if becoming a Garmin bore has taught me anything, it’s that cold, hard data is great—but it can’t possibly paint a complete picture of why getting outside matters so much, to so many of us.
See you out there.
- Tristan Kennedy, Editor
Active Traveller 2022/23
Xfrjjhhwertyuioghjkk Apologies, that’s my new kitten’s contribution to this year’s magazine. I’m writing this with one hand as I battle—largely in vain—to keep him from clambering across my keyboard with the other. Like many small cats, he’s adventurous to a fault. But when he’s not offering his input as a typist, watching him learn—which bits of furniture will hold his weight, what kind of insects are OK to hunt, and which of the neighbours’ cats don’t want to play—has been instructive.
I was reminded of his approach (which definitely involves more ‘error’ than ‘trial’), when reading back through the interview with adventurer Ed Stafford in this year’s issue. Stafford, who’s used up more of his nine lives than most, believes that humans learn many of their most useful, transferable life skills when they allow themselves to take a few risks. Accessibility activist Craig Grimes, also interviewed in this issue would doubtless agree. Grimes, a wheelchair user, campaigns against what he sees as the unnecessary sanitisation of outdoor spaces. Instead, he advocates providing disabled people with the information and the tools they need to make their own choices—even if that means they’ll sometimes make mistakes.
Of course, everyone’s conception of what constitutes an adventure is different. But whether it’s relaxing in luxury wilderness lodge in the north of Norway playing golf on the world’s scariest ski slope (p.36), or embarking a gruelling, multi-day bike marathon over 5,000m passes in the Indian Himalayas, there’s one thing we can all agree on: the rewards of travelling to new places, embracing unfamiliar experiences, and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone always outweigh the risks. Unless of course, you’re a small cat, and you’ve just got yourself stuck up a tree for the first time.
See you out there.
- Tristan Kennedy, Editor
Active Traveller 2021/22
Just £4.99 including FREE postage to UK addresses
It’s been quite a year. While it’s safe to say that the pandemic which changed everything isn’t over, at the time of writing, we do seem to be stumbling back to some semblance of normality. The question everyone’s asking, of course, is what does this ‘new’ normal look like?
After a year when international travel almost shut down completely, there’s a lot of talk about pent up demand. But I’m hopeful that, rather than roaring back with the same bad habits as before, when we do start to travel more widely, we all put a little more thought into it.
One of the best things about adventure holidays is the way they immerse you in the natural world. But it’s a natural world – as the latest International Panel on Climate Change report published days before we went to press makes clear – that’s increasingly under threat.
Which is why the Ramsay family decided to ‘rewild’ the Bamff estate in Scotland, reintroducing beavers, rather than farming it in the conventional manner. Bamff now welcomes visitors year round – and as Stuart Kenny found out (p.31), the beavers have proved quite the tourist attraction.
Elsewhere in this issue, we take an alternative trip through Cornwall (p.72) – an adventure that involves SUPing and wild camping, but also pulling plastic bottles, bags and gloves out of the water – and we explore the wild mountains of Asturias (p.64). It’s the oldest province in Spain, and yet somehow, still remains relatively untouched.
Increasingly, wild spaces like this, the mountains of Valais (p.46) and the still-empty interior of Tenerife (p.34) feel vanishingly rare. Which makes it doubly important that those of us who enjoy exploring them step up to protect them. Thinking about how, when and where we choose to travel – and what activities we choose to do when we get there – can have a hugely positive impact.
After going 18 months without, here’s to making this year’s adventures really count.
See you out there.
Tristan Kennedy, Editor
Active Traveller 2020/21, just £4.99 including FREE postage to UK addresses!
Hi there. How are you doing in these strange times?
Like so much of the new language that entered the lexicon this year (“social distancing,” or “shielding” for example) that phrase has become so familiar that I’ve almost stopped noticing it. But it’s worth remembering that these are strange times, and although we might not be able to travel as much as we’d like at the moment, normal service will, at some point, be resumed.
With that in mind, we’ve put together an issue that’s packed full of inspiring adventure travel to help you plan your next trip. We’ve dedicated a whole section of the magazine to Japan, a country that’s always near the top of our list of dream destinations. Three of our favourite explorers, Alistair Humphreys, Ash Bhardwaj and Sian Lewis, dig beneath the surface to bring you three very different stories, showcasing the diversity of this endlessly fascinating island nation.
Islands feature prominently elsewhere in this issue too: Dave Cornthwaite explores the Azores, and Dan Wildey heads to the Canary Island of La Gomera - both destinations that adapted impressively quickly to the challenges of welcoming visitors.
We’ve also brought you a few ideas for adventures that are closer to home - because if there’s one positive to take from this pandemic, it’s the fact the great British outdoors has never been more popular.
From bikepacking around Scotland, to Highland bothy recommendations; from Welsh walks to adventures in neighbouring Ireland, this issue contains everything you need to have incredible experiences on the archipelago we call home too. While we can’t necessarily predict what the next few months will bring, we do know that, whatever happens, it won’t dampen our enthusiasm for getting outside.
See you out there. Tristan Kennedy, Editor
*We currently only offer postage of magazines to UK addresses, this includes the Highlands and Islands, Scilly Isles, and the Isle of Man. Please note, we class the Channel Islands as overseas.
**Free postage is applicable to addresses within the UK, including the Highlands and Islands, Scilly Isles, and the Isle of Man. Please note, we class the Channel Islands as overseas.
***Terms & conditions apply