Category Archives: Travel

Recently

duncansby-head-imgp0224

Just a quick note about recent work—I was delighted to hear earlier this month that I’d been shortlisted for feature writer of the year at the Scottish Magazine Awards for my work on the equestrian magazine EQY. It was a wonderful evening, and although in the end the title went to the very deserving Pennie Taylor, a former BBC health correspondent, I was pleased to see my writing on the shortlist.

Elsewhere, I’ve written another dispatch for the Guardian’s Country Diary, this time from the far northeastern corner of the country, at Duncansby Head near John O’Groats, where I was lucky to come across a seal colony during the pupping season and hear their haunting siren song. (Full text can be found on the Guardian website).

I was fortunate enough to be commissioned to do a series of reviews of some of Scotland’s top hotels, in remote and beautiful areas of the country, for the Telegraph. Our stay at Arisaig House was blissful—helped no doubt by an invigorating swim at the silver sands at Camusdarach, in the clear winter sun—while Torridon House offered ultra-luxe accommodation in a most perfect location down by the lochside. Ardanaiseig House, near Oban, was a perfect romantic getaway (in a secluded country house decorated in flamboyant style by a noted antiques dealer), while Natural Retreats in John O’Groats was a bastion of Copenhagen cool in a part of the country that, to put it kindly, is not well known for its style. Continue reading

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Walking the Cinque Terre in winter

cinque terre winter

I spent a lovely fortnight in Italy last month putting the very final touches on Thicker Than Water while staying at my friend Anna Blundy’s beautiful Tuscan home.

While there, my boyfriend Rich and I made the trip to Cinque Terre, near La Spezia, where we saw the area to its best advantage – almost empty of tourists! The weather can be changeable in February, but I highly recommend an off season trip if, like me, you dislike feeling like one of a faceless crowd.

As you can see in my photo above, we lucked out with the weather, and found the lemons  on the trees, bringing a splash of colour to the spring landscape. I wrote it up for an article for the Telegraph’s travel section, which you can find here, or after the fold.

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A weekend in Casablanca

I visited the Moroccan port of Casablanca recently, and wrote it up for the Independent’s “48 hours in…” slot. Top tips: a tour of the awe-inspiring Hassan II Mosque, which sits out over the ocean on a rocky outcrop, then an aperitif at the stylish Rick’s Cafe, followed by dinner in the open air at La Sqala, amid the ramparts of an 18th century fort.

Full text of my article is available on the Independent’s website here, or after the fold.

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48 hours in… Jakarta

48 hours in Jakarta - Independent

I recently stopped off in Jakarta and took the opportunity to write this article for The Independent’s “48 hours in…” travel slot.

Most travellers will bustle through the city on their way to the beach or the rainforest, but take the time to explore over a weekend if you ever have the chance. I was visiting my friend Emma, who works for the wonderful Green Initiative Foundation, an NGO which seeks to find more sustainable livelihoods for communities living in areas of vulnerable rainforest.

Full text of the article can be found on the Independent’s website here, or after the fold. Continue reading

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Truffle hunting in Istria

Istria food tour

My reward for winning the Independent on Sunday/Bradt travel writing prize last year was a ludicrously luxurious tour of Istria, the Croatian peninsula, and a commission to write it up for the IoS travel section. We hunted for truffles with dogs, tasted dozens of different wines and ate until we couldn’t eat any more.

It was published last weekend – find the full text on the Independent’s website here, or after the fold. Continue reading

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The call of the wild

Arctic winter cover - Telegraph magazine

My diary of the time I spent working on a husky farm in the Arctic Circle made the cover of the Telegraph Magazine shortly before Christmas.

My words were accompanied by some beautiful images taken by the up-and-coming Norwegian photographer Anki Grøthe who spent a week with us in Hetta, and was not at all phased by the sub zero temperatures or the boisterous dogs.

Full text of my article is available on the Telegraph website here, or after the fold. I’ll also post some more of the images later, if I can. Continue reading

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A weekend in Melbourne

48hrs in Melbourne - IndependentI’ve been in Australia this month to do some research and took the opportunity to explore Melbourne for the ’48 hours in…’ slot for The Independent’s travel section.

What an excellent city – brunch, beach, sun, galleries, bikes, artists’ markets, cocktails on rooftop terraces. Top recommendations: brunch in the sun at The European (opposite parliament), swim in the sea baths in St Kilda, then head to Cumulus Inc for supper & fine wine.

Full text is available on the Independent’s website here, or after the fold.

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Oil islands: a trip to Azerbaijan

oil rocks

I’ve recently returned from a trip to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. This is the first of a couple of articles I wrote during my trip, a piece for the New Statesman, which contrasts two island utopias off the Caspian coast: one a 1940s Soviet city on stilts for oil workers, the other a fantastical series of new artificial islands inspired by capitalist Dubai.

Azerbaijan is a newly oil-rich state, which gained independence in 1991 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. While it has modernised at a fantastic pace, it still faces major problems of corruption and inequality.

The country’s rebrand is all pervasive. In Baku, whole districts have been bulldozed to make way for shining glass skyscrapers. In others, Soviet-style apartment blocks have been simply concealed under glossy veneers, like bad teeth.

Full story is up on the New Statesman’s website here, or after the break

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“A snow angel in distress”: the winning entry

Bradt-IoS competition win

I found out last week that my article “In Deep Snow” was the winner of the Independent on Sunday/Bradt travel writing award. It was published with a few of my photos in the Independent on Sunday’s travel section this weekend.

The theme this year was “A narrow escape”, which was interpreted very differently by all the shortlisted writers (including one who cleverly wrote about a trip on a narrow boat in the Norfolk broads). All of the shortlisted entries are available to read on the Bradt website here.

Full text of the article can be found on the Independent’s website here, or after the fold.

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“In Deep Snow” wins Bradt/Independent on Sunday travel writing competition

Wilma and Rapin

I am delighted to have won the Bradt/Independent on Sunday travel writing competition 2013, with my article “In Deep Snow” – a story of how an attempt to break a fjord horse to harness ended in disaster while I was living in Arctic Finland last winter. (Wilma, the offending horse, can be seen on the right in the image above).

My article will be published in the Independent on Sunday’s travel section this weekend – please pick up a copy if you can, and I will also post the cutting online on Monday.

The prize is a week-long trip for two to Istria, courtesy of the Croatian Tourist Board and a commission to write about it for the Independent on Sunday. I can’t wait.

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