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A brief guide to some of this year’s cultural adventure highlights from festivals to must-read books. 


Check Out these New Experiences 

Cycle Wales’s New Long Distance Trail

Opened last August, this is officially the longest mountain bike route in the UK. Running for 196km, the Traws Eyri (or Trans-Snowdonia, in English) takes you through lesser-known corners of the Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri (formerly Snowdonia National Park), and the atmospheric landscapes around North Wales’ historic slate quarries. Cycling UK, the non-profit which launched it, estimates it’ll take 4-5 days to complete.


Assist Rhino Rangers in South Africa

Phinda Lodge, a luxury safari camp in KwaZulu-Natal run by conservation tourism outfit &Beyond, was completely refurbished last year and reopened at the beginning of 2024. Guests are offered a chance to get closer to animals by getting involved in rhino, elephant and pangolin conservation—following the ranger teams as they track, dart, and tag these endangered species, and contributing directly to conservation efforts on the ground.


Explore Newly Accessible Paths in the Dolomites

Dominated by the Dolomites, the Italian province of Trentino is famous for active holidays. Now, the regional government is making a new effort to ensure its attractions are open to people living with disabilities. The new ‘Trentino Open’ program has spent €1.1 million (£950,000) on improving accessible infrastructure. Investments have been made in wheelchair-friendly walking paths, recumbent bicycles, and ‘joelettes’ (single wheel chairs designed to tackle more rugged paths), as well as in accessible websites and booking tools.

Watch these Adventure Films

Taith Galed (Outdoors Magic, 2023)

In 2021, Will Renwick, editor of our sister title Outdoors Magic and a proud Welshman set off to run up all 189 mountains of his homeland in a single, long run. More than 800km and several times the elevation of Everest later, he realised he might have underestimated the scale of the challenge. Taith Galed, which means “a hard journey” premiered at Kendal Film Festival last year. It showcases the best (and sometimes the worst) of the Welsh outdoors. 

Soundscape (Well Travelled Collective, 2023)

Soundscape tells the story of a remarkable climb up a high alpine rock face in California’s Sierra Nevada by Erik Weihenmayer, a climber who is completely blind. Using a combination of touch and echolocation makes Weihenmayer’s experience unique, but his motivations and fears are familiar. Directed by Timmy O’Neill, a pioneer of adaptive climbing, the film was shot by Mikey Schaefer, who previously won an Emmy for his camera work on Free Solo. At film festivals in 2024.


Society of Snow (Netflix, 2023)

In 1972 an infamous air crash in the Andes killed 29 people—mostly members of a Uruguayan rugby team. Those who survived only did so by eating the bodies of their friends. The story of their 72-day ordeal, trapped inside a broken fuselage at 3,500m, under constant threat of avalanches, has been told several times before, including in a slightly naff, 1993 Hollywood version starring Ethan Hawke. This Spanish language dramatisation, released in December 2023, has been praised for being more realistic, and offering more rounded portraits of the passengers.

Go to these Adventure Festivals

Mid-Devon Walking Festival - September 14-29, 2024

Launching for the first time in 2024, the mid-Devon Walking Festival promises a combination of guided walks, cultural experiences, and family friendly activities. The program has been designed, the organisers say, to “showcase some of our best trails and views, with planned stops at quality pubs and restaurants.” Given Devon’s reputation for quality produce and excellent food, that sounds like a recipe for a very very good time.

Kendal Mountain Festival - November 21-24, 2024

The UK’s biggest and best-known outdoor film festival will be taking over the Cumbrian town of Kendal once more this November, with a packed program that includes trail running and hiking events, talks, parties, and of course, lots of film screenings. The setting is idyllic—Kendal is famous as the gateway to the Lake District—and the event has long been known as a gathering point for the UK’s large and varied outdoor community. A place to compare notes and make plans for the following year. Not to be missed.

Read these Travel & Adventure Books

Alpine Rising, Bernadette McDonald, 2024

Many people know the name of Maurice Herzog, the first man to reach the top of Annapurna. But how many know Ang Tharkay, the Sherpa without whom the severely frostbitten Herzog wouldn’t have survived? This welcome book by Canadian mountaineering historian Bernadette McDonald provides a long overdue corrective to the conventional, colonial narrative about climbing in the high Himalayas. It focuses on the stories of the incredible Nepali, Pakistani and Tibetan climbers of the past, and shows how their successors are now leading the charge on the world’s highest peaks.

On This Holy Island, Oliver Smith, 2024

Pilgrimage feels like a funny old concept, conjuring up images of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales that appear to have little relevance to contemporary life. Yet paths like the Camino de Santiago or the trail to Lindisfarne continue to attract vast numbers of travellers to this day. In this book, Oliver Smith sets off to discover what pilgrimage looks like in 21st century Britain. A former staffer at the now closed Lonely Planet Traveller magazine, Smith is one of the finest prose stylists writing about travel today, and On This Holy Island effortlessly mixes the sublime with the ridiculous, juxtaposing brilliant descriptions of spiritual moments with the mundanity of modern life.


A Ride Across America, Simon Parker, 2024

Simon Parker, a British travel writer for The Times and The Telegraph, among others, has long had a fascination with America. Having cycled around the UK during the pandemic for his first book, he decided to cross the US by bike for his second. It’s a state of the nation story, which mixes personal anecdotes with fascinating character sketches. Billed as “an epic adventure through the small towns and big issues of the USA”, the book takes a sideways look at the world’s only superpower as we go through a crucial election year. 

National Parks of the United Kingdom, Carey Davies, 2024

Published to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the law that created the UK’s National Parks, this coffee table tome is both a celebration and a guide of sorts. Carey Davies, a nature and outdoors writer for titles like The Guardian, knows the country’s network of wild spaces intimately, and his words provide the perfect accompaniment to the 200 large-scale photos. He looks at how Britain’s 15 parks have shaped the country’s past, what they can teach us about the current climate crisis, and their role in the UK’s future.

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