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Autumn brings a close to the summer expeditions with Mountain Experience.

A great summer of expeditions drew to a close this month. Mountain Experience together with Explore! enjoyed three weeks of walking around Lake Como in Lombardy, Italy.

40 clients over three weeks enjoyed great food, fantastic views and for most of the time, great weather.

The view from a walk high above the lake.

We were particularly pleased, once again, to have Nigel as our leader! His combination of local knowledge, historical data and great sense of humour made the walks all the more entertaining. However, this did not detract from the fact that he was very professional in all aspects of safety, organising great ‘continental’ picnics, and seemingly effortlessly booking a different restaurant for every evening. This certainly helped the group to bond well together and I think we all felt quite spoilt! He even managed to fix the weather!” said Marianne from Hove.

Great feedback, but even Nigel can’t take credit for the weather!

A dip in the “solar heated” pool was as good as an ice bath for tired legs!

Every village had fabulous views over the lake.

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A wet Gambian summer

Mountain Experience were privileged to join Marlborough Brandt Group and Venture Force for their summer expedition to Gunjur in The Gambia.

Together with local volunteers, the team started the first steps in what will be an excellent resource for the community. Mangoes grow in abundance in the season, but there are so many, that a significant proportion end up rotting on the floor. The community want to use this fantastic resource all year round and want to earn “Fair Trade” status for their orchard and future products.

This fence was erected by Marlborough Brand Group together with Venture Force and local volunteers. It’s the first step in the long process of making a Fair Trade mango orchard.

The team took down an old broken fence, which they then replaced with new posts and fencing. Future work is planned to instal a toilet block, solar powered bore hole pumps and infrastructure to make jams, chutney and dried fruit throughout the year.

The team also undertook cultural visits to the local elders, and visited other parts of the country, learning about their history and current wildlife.

First used as a prison to break the will of slaves before they were put onto a ship, then used as a fort to stop slavers transporting people down river.

R and R at Bintang Bolong lodge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, at this time of the year, it’s rainy season in Gunjur. The team didn’t let this stop their work though, and they embraced the rain, using it as part of their washing routine!

Lucie from Venture Force “enjoying” the rain!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fantastic Dolomites!

As a finale for the early summer’s tours with Explore and Mont Blanc Adventures, Mountain Experience seized the opportunity for a short notice walking tour based in Dobbiaco, Sud Tyrol.

Lago Di Dobbiaco or Toblachersee

This fascinating region was previously part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and was ceded to Italy following the bitter trench warfare across the mountains during the first World War. Although it is now proudly part of Italy, the area still retains a much more “Austrian” feel with a more northern cuisine and most people speaking German as their lingua franca. Just about everywhere has got two names, one in Italian and one in German.

The scenery is absolutely stunning with breathtaking views in every direction.

Looking back into Italy from the Austrian border

Stunning Dolomite scenery

11 clients undertook journeys on foot, by bus, train and cable car, thus ensuring the maximum time could be spent on the trails that criss cross the area, even strolling back and forth into Austria on one day. Walks took us below the iconic peaks of the Tre Cime and culminated with ascents of Monte Elmo (2,443m) and Monte Arnese (2,550m) on the Italian Austrian border. Several of the team enjoyed themselves so much that they are already planning a return visit for next year!

Looking on to the north faces of the stunning Tre Cime

It’s not all blood and sweat you know!

Mountain Experience took advantage of a short stop over in Venice whilst waiting for the latest batch of clients to arrive. Between repacking kit and shopping for the next day’s picnic, Nigel was able to make a lightening quick dash in to Venice and see the main sights. Top Tip? Buy the coffee away from St Mark’s Square!

It’s not all work you know!

The famous Rialto bridge of Venice

That’s it for Amalfi this year

What a fantastic month in Amalfi this year. We’ve experienced some of the clearest views ever, some of the wettest most torrential rain and some of the best food and wine Italy has to offer!

60 clients this month have enjoyed trekking the coastline and surrounding area, with trips to the jewel of Capri, stunning Ravello and Pompeii thrown in for good measure.

Brilliant blue sky isn’t always needed.

As usual, the Valle Delle Ferrier was a favourite for most walkers, and of course the world famous Walk of the Gods continues to impress even on cloudy and wet days.

This view never fails to impress.

Some times it’s nice to just relax at the end of a month’s walking!

 

 

After a month of superb walks, it was great to kick back on the hot beach with a cold swim and a colder beer! See you next year!

Amalfi! Amalfi!

As ever, Mountain Experience are absolutely delighted to be back in Amalfi. This year’s trip has seen some bad weather, but that hasn’t deterred us in the slightest.

The view from the upper path toward Capri

Fantastic food, excellent walks, good company and organic wines. The Amalfi coast keeps on delivering! There’s plenty of sun forecast for next week, so roll on the good times.

The Gambia with Venture Force, Part 1

Mountain Experience were delighted to accompany Venture Force volunteers on the first of this year’s trips to Gunjur in The Gambia. Away from the hurly burly of the tourist areas, The Gambia is still a very traditional society. The people there are overwhelmingly friendly and keen to learn about you as they show you their home.

 

There are some huge trees in the area.

Colourful fishing boats in the rural beachside town of Gunjur

Local women in their best outfits for a wedding

 

During the trip, the adult volunteers visited local homes, community representatives and locations selected for future charity work. They undertook building and renovation work to a community centre that will be the base for Part 2, which will involve a group of young adults working on developing a Fair Trade orchard for mangoes.

Laying a floor for our future accommodation.