Solo Vehicle Dependent Exploration, Travel & Adventure

Photo of The Week

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Photo of the Week: Bishkek watercolours, June 2013

Bishkek Landy watercolour

 

On our journey last year we spent a good deal of time in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek. While staying at the extremely friendly and comfortable Nomads Home, we met a group of French street artists (more…)


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Photo of the Week: Journeyman, Germany, January 2013

Travelling Journeyman

 

Not long after leaving the UK we stopped in a German truck stop to make a hot coffee and to dry out our soaking rooftent (our last night on home turf was an extremely wet one). Not long after setting up, an extremely tall, strangely dressed gentleman named Andreas wandered over to say hello. (more…)


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Photo of the week: Russian Altai, July 2013

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We left Kazakhstan and crossed into the Russian Altai region on our way to Mongolia. Rather than head north to Barnaul and following the main road, we decided to cut east across the mountains by Sentelek and join the road south of Gorno-Altaysk.  (more…)


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Photo of the week: Cornwall, UK – July 2010

St Ives - Zennor (21)

In the summer of 2010 we took a week off to walk along part of the 630-mile South West Coast Path, which runs along the entire coastline from Minehead in Somerset to Poole Harbour in Dorset. We took the train to St Ives in Cornwall and walked the 40 miles to Penzance and the mystical St Michael’s Mount. (more…)


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Photo of the Week: Siberian seasons – September 2013

151W Gulag Landscape, SIberia - Russia

Autumnal Landscape, Siberia – Russia

On our way from Yakutsk to Magadan, we crossed several degrees of latitude. This meant we left summer and crossed into autumn/winter rapidly within a week. One day we would be among Birch trees in their full green and silver dress, the next we would be in awe of the many shades of red and gold shining out from amongst the endless pines. We would move north east, leaving  (more…)


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Photo of the Week: Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Australia – February 2014

The 12 Apostles, Great Ocean Road - Victoria

The 12 Apostles, Great Ocean Road – Victoria

Not long after arriving in Australia, we decided to spend a few days driving the iconic Great Ocean Road. We stayed in the Otways National Park, but drove on past to visit the world famous Twelve Apostles. Strangely there were only nine (not twelve) limestone stacks when they were named in 1922, and this has now dropped to eight after one collapsed due to erosion in 2005.

We wandered around the cliffs on the boardwalks that provided easy access, viewing platforms and safety, keeping us tourists away from the unstable edges! The fantastic weather gave us amazing views for miles across the Southern Ocean, and we marvelled at the beautifully clear water crashing onto the beaches below. It was awesome to see something so iconically Australian, and it really brought home the enormity of our journey.


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Photo of the Week: Fire Poi Performer, Gili Trawangan, Indonesia – November 2013

Fire - Indo

Fire Poi – Indo

We decided to stop in Indonesia for a much-needed rest while waiting for the rig to make it’s way to Australia. While in Bali, we were persuaded to visit the Gili Islands, a triplet of idyllic tropical islands and the epitome of paradise. One evening after a relaxing sunset stroll along the beach of Gili Trawangan, we walked past a restaurant with a resident fire poi performer. In between beers he wowed the diners with his moves and fascinated passers-by such as ourselves, all the while maintaining a quiet composure. It was not showy or over the top, just a silent yet dramatic backdrop to gourmet seafood and coconut drinks. We soaked up the serenity, before moving on to a much cheaper place for dinner!


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Photo of the Week: Mirny Bison, Siberia – August 2013

Mirny Bison

Mirny Bison

On our way from Lensk to Yakutsk, we stopped in Mirny after an unfortunate event with our car window. What was meant to be an overnight stop turned into a five day sightseeing spree when we were invited to stay with a local policeman, Andrey (more about that in our next blog post). He took us to see the local ‘zoo’, which (more…)


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Photo of the Week: Star Ferry, Hong Kong – October 2013

 

Star Ferry Passing - Hong Kong

Star Ferry Passing – Hong Kong

The Star Ferry at Victoria Harbour is an institution in Hong Kong, and has been connecting Hong Kong Island with Kowloon since the Morning Star took it’s first passengers in the 1880’s. There are 9 Star ferries in the fleet now, plus a harbour tour. Although there is a road tunnel and a metro rail (more…)


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Photo of the Week: Hammer & Sickle, Siberia – 2013

Yukutia Village, Siberia - Russia

Yukutia Village, Siberia – Russia

You see a lot of ‘Hammer and Sickle’ symbolism around Russia, especially in Siberia where whole communities, towns and even cities formed under communist leadership. This one was probably the biggest one we saw outside of cities. Usually they are tied in with town or city names as you enter the outskirts but this one was in a small town with very few people present. I like it because it is simple and stands bold. For me, in a town like this in deepest Siberia it no longer represents communism but the unification of industry and agriculture and people working together to better their future.


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Photo of the Week: Khovd, Western Mongolia – July 2013

Khovd Lightning

Khovd Lightning

A few days after arriving in Mongolia we had driven down to the city of Khovd to try and catch the festival of Naadam. This storm started not long after we set up camp and finished cooking, and was pretty typical of western Mongolian evenings. Although the rain was heavy and the winds strong, these storms always disappeared not long after and it was as if nothing had happened! We camped by the side of a river with hundreds of others in anticipation of the next day’s activities.


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Photo of the Week: Gobi region, Mongolia – July 2013

Topping up. Wells were located on our old Soviet maps with details on recharge rate L/Hr. However only about 1 in 5 were still operational.

Topping up. Wells were located on our old Soviet maps with details on recharge rate (L/Hr). However only about 1 in 5 were still operational 

A great moment in the desert a long way from civilisation. A clean water well with water actually in it. We became fairly reliant on water wells during our 2 week traverse of the Gobi Desert region in the south of Mongolia. Even though it wasn’t that hot we were still using water for drinking, cooked, washing etc. Most of the time we got by with the 50L water tank but when we needed a shower we filled the 20L jerry can also. These wells literally made the trip.


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Photo of the Week: Alesund, Norway – January 2013

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Alesund, an ‘out there’ port town in the Fjord region of Norway. It took us a fair while to reach this place, catching a multitude of ferries and crossing many icy mountain passes. It was worth it though, the air temperature rose to about -4c so it was a little warmer than the previous week. I had to climb around 300 icy covered steps to get this photo and there wasn’t a handrail at all times. It was pretty tricky as the sun was setting and our parking ticket was expiring. Worth it though as I am sure you will agree.


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Photo of the Week: West African Forest Elephants

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My recent move to Lightroom 5 has opened up  opportunities to improve on previous photos shot with outdated technology. This trio of shots was taken in Burkina Faso whilst mapping National Parks for the MAPA Project. We stumbled upon this group of elephants at a watering hole and I had to work quick to get these shots. It was my first encounter with elephants and the second photo clearly shows that this elephant wasn’t happy about my close proximity. I moved back into the bush as the group slowly left the watering hole and disappeared into the forest.


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Photo of the Week: Nordkapp, Norway – January 2013

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Probably the first big milestone of the trip, something I am very proud of. Reaching Nordkapp in northern Norway. At 71 degrees North, Nordkapp sits as the most northerly point in mainland Europe a 1000km drive within the Arctic Circle. Days spent driving in short daylight hours and nights spent camping at minus 20 degrees C. It was bitterly cold the day we arrived and the wind was howling as we stood on the precipice looking out over the Arctic ocean into nothingness. Nothing between us and the North Pole. A beautiful day.


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Photo of the Week: Brechfa Forest – Wales

James guides the 90 down a muddy descent

James guides the 90 down a muddy descent

Some of my favourite green lanes in Wales are down in Brechfa Forest and around that area. Generally heavily forested, muddy, challenging, tight and sometimes impassable. Not many people know these are here either, so your often alone in the ancient woodland which all adds to the ‘out there’ experience.

I shot this as James helps guide Alex’s 90 down a muddy slope at the end of one lane. Alex was running a rather large waterproof box in front of his roof tent. After this trip he quickly remedied that!


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Photo of the Week: Huskies at Rest, Arctic Finland February 2013

Finnish Lappland - Huskies at rest

Finnish Lappland – Huskies at rest

Huskies at Rest and keeping warm during our sledding activities last winter in Arctic Finland.


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Photo of the Week: Highland Cattle – Lake District, England 2012

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Highland Cattle – Lake District, England

 

We had just driven a tight technical climb with washed out gullies deep in the Lake District when we came across this sedate beast just over the crest. It must have been as funny for him as it was us. Six Land Rovers stopping and taking photos for five minutes then driving off again. ‘The Lakes’ offers superb views and vistas for photographers, usually with foreboding skies which can help with subjects like this.

A great place to visit for a long weekend greenlaning, just don’t go in the summer holidays, the place gets packed out.


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Photo of the Week: Monaco Dreamin’ 2009

Lisa out and about in Monaco

Lisa out and about in Monaco

During our 2009 trip to the French/Italian Alps we thought it would be rude not to hang around Monaco for a few days. We spent some time following the F1 track, drinking coffee in the harbour and generally a lot of ‘window shopping’.

As I went to set this shot up of Lisa crossing the street this Ferrari popped out. Framed nicely with the La Poste sign this is one of my favourites from the trip.


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Photo of the Week: Valentines Day, Arctic Finland 2013

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Out Sledding with the dogs in Arctic Finland

Whilst not the best photo in our collection it is probably the most memorable. Our visit to Hetta Huskies (www.hettahuskies.com) just happened to land on 14th February 2013, so it was the perfect day out for us. I never thought I would enjoy it as much as I did either. If you get the chance to do this, do it! You wont regret it. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!


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Photo of the Week: Bush Camping, Mali – West Africa 2011

Southern Mali Bush Camp

Southern Mali Bush Camp

One of the most memorable photos from my time in West Africa was this camp spot in the far southwest of Mali.

We were hundreds of kilometres off the bitumen trying to map routes through the Bafing National Park. We followed tracks to the Bafing Chimpanzee Santuary which turned out to be completely shut down, it had been closed many years previously but we were in the area so had to check it out. We followed some feint tracks south from there which petered out from village to village. Each one we passed through we were greater warmly by the people. After 150km we were pretty deep and we knew our fuel supplies would be pushed to the limit (with 2 leaking tanks and running the 6cyl petrol). To top it off the clunk from the driveline got worse (turned out to be a front prop UJ) so we decided that night to turn tail and head back to refuel. We had mapped what little we could.

That night we heard some rustling around camp which turned out to be a stray cow. We could however hear in the distance a lot of chanting, singing and wailing. Maybe witch doctors are alive and well near the Guinean border after all.

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To read more about the MAPA Project and our adventures there, take a look here:

West Africa, MAPA Project 2011


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Photo of The Week: Hidden Valley, Scotland

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We had never spent much time in Scotland before we left the UK. We had planned a short tour with the Land Rover in 2008 but ended up in Morocco instead. Later in 2011 we planned a cycling tour through the Outer Hebrides but again, I ended up in Africa instead.

When our good friends Si and Ed mentioned joining them and Si’s brother in Glen Coe for a weekend, we jumped at the chance. It was a few months before our departure but splitting fuel costs helped a lot! We all jammed into the car for 4 days climbing, camping and hiking in the rain.

This photo is taken using a well placed rock and timer on our Leica at the start of the hidden valley. Another great day out with good friends.


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Photo of The Week: Lake District Recovery, England

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Losing traction on a short rock ledge, the vehicle was close to a rock outcrop. Several attempts with waffle boards were made to gain traction but ultimately didn’t work. Deploying the ground anchor gave the 30cm of pull required to gain traction with the front wheels and free the vehicle… James was very pleased. First time used and now always carried. Great piece of recovery kit if a little heavy.


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Photo of The Week: Pembrokeshire Sunset

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In 2011 we set off from Milford Haven in west Wales with two 50 litre packs containing everything we needed to sustain 10 days on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

This photo is one of many clifftop sunsets we saw as the sun dropped into the Atlantic ocean.