Mike Appleyard


Mike Appleyard

Volunteering in Pokhara, Nepal, July - August 2009

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjavík August 3rd 2015

Monday 3rd August We flew back from Egilsstadir yesterday morning and in the afternoon I spent a while in the main tourist information centre. The group tour I was on finished yesterday, and all the other members of the group had now left for home, but I had tagged a few days onto my holiday in order to do some sight-seeing around the Reykjavik area. There a half a dozen main tourist companies which each offer various day trips from Reykjavik, with at least 50 different trips available between them, covering pure sight-seeing but also any number of activities such as horse riding, glacier walking, cycling, diving etc. My aim was to spend my last three days seeing as much as I could. In the tourist office I booked ready-made tours for today and tomorrow, and ... read more
Gullfoss Waterfall
Westmann Islands

Europe » Iceland » East » Egilsstadir July 29th 2015

Wednesday 29th July The eastern coast of Iceland is noticeable for the many fjords, and smaller bays, running roughly east-west. It is a popular hiking and horse riding area for Icelanders themselves as well as tourists. Many walking routes have been published and are clearly marked on local maps, and the area is well supplied with mountain huts in which to spend the night. The area we would be trekking in has no tarmac roads, and few gravel roads, but there are a number of dirt roads which tend to be much steeper and often cross rivers. Oskar had arranged for our minibus to be collected and substituted with an off-road jeep driven by his son. After breakfast at the Alfheimar we again made our packed lunch for the day, packed a day sack for ourselves, ... read more
Typical scenery in the Eastern Fjords
Mountain Hut at Breidavik
Mountain Hut at Husavik

Europe » Iceland » East » Egilsstadir July 28th 2015

Tuesday 28th July We are staying for two nights here at the Hotel Alfheimar in Bakkagerdi, to allow us to have an acclimatisation day before setting off on our trek tomorrow. As we were driving north from Egilsstadir yesterday afternoon there was a range of prominent peaks on our right. They are had snow-capped summits but their summits were also in the clouds most of the time. Depending on the weather, today's walk may have attempted to go to the summit of one of those peaks, but this morning it seemed clear that the summits were going to stay in the clouds for most of the day so instead we did a circular walk going partially up to the summit ridge. We had breakfast in the hotel at 8am and then made ourselves a packed lunch ... read more
Bakkagerdi Supermarket
A traditional-style Icelandic earth house

Europe » Iceland » North » Húsavík July 26th 2015

Sunday 26th July Our tour guide cooked us breakfast in the hostel at Reykjahlio then we packed and piled back into the minibus for the drive of about 70 km to Husavik. Husavik is a town of 2000+ inhabitants on the shore of Skjalfandi bay on Iceland's north coast. This town is considered one of the better places to see whales because of the variety of different species that are known to frequent this bay and we had a three hour whale watching trip booked for 10 am with the North Sailing whale watching company. The weather was very calm and it only took 15-20 minutes to get to the point well into the bay where we would spend the next couple of hours. There were two other larger boats like ours out there, along with ... read more
Husavik Harbour
Me all geared up for whale watching

Europe » Iceland » North » Mývatn July 25th 2015

The other 5 members of our small tour group had arrived at the Kex Hostel yesterday afternoon and evening so this morning we packed hurriedly and went down to try and get some breakfast. I say 'try' because breakfast doesn't start being served until 7am and we had an internal flight scheduled at 8am. Fortunately Reykjavik's domestic airport is much closer to the city centre than the international one, just a 10 minute taxi ride from the hostel (also free WiFi at both!). Our 40-minute flight to the northern town of Akureyri was on time and our Icelandic tour guide Oskar was there to meet us at Akureyri airport with a 4-wheel-drive minibus. Akureyri is Iceland's second largest urban area (with obviously the capital being the largest) with a population of less than 20,000, and we ... read more
Godafoss Waterfall

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjavík July 24th 2015

I arrived in Reykjavik last night. I have arrived a day early for a group excursion which starts tomorrow, but I wanted to have a day to have a look around the capital. It also meant that I could fly direct from Birmingham which was much more convenient for me rather than have to travel all the way down to Heathrow. I'm staying at the Kex hostel in the centre of the city and right on the waterfront. The hostel is a lively place with a large bar area which appears to be used by locals as a pub as well as by the hostel's own residents. There are also often live bands playing in the bar area. The bar also serves meals and I ate there twice during my time in Iceland. There is very ... read more
The president

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Cumbria » Carlisle August 6th 2013

Friday 2nd August Another excellent full English breakfast at Quarryside B&B in Banks at 8am and I was back on the walk at 9am. The weather was quite dull to start with but after about an hour it brightened up considerably and required a stop to find my sun hat and apply sun cream. On every other morning so far I had creamed-up before setting off as most days started warm and sunny. There is a very short stretch of wall just as you leave Banks but that was the last I was to see of Hadrian's Wall for the rest of the walk. The vallum and the spoil mounds were still visible in places but the middle third of the walk really does contain all the wall remains. These last two days were also very ... read more
The Old Brewery
Beaumont Church
Burgh by Sands Church

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Northumberland » Chollerford August 6th 2013

Wednesday 31st July I had ordered a full English breakfast for 7:30 am and this time it certainly was one! Excellent food and again the accommodation all round was excellent value. I was only expecting to need to walk about 10 miles today so this would be my shortest day of the walk. As soon as you are back on the route again after Greencarts there is a short stretch of wall, and then within another mile or so you arrive at the Roman fort of Brocolitia. There is nothing to see now of this fort, except for the mound of earth under which it lies, but it has apparently been excavated. However, just to the side of it is the remains of a Mithraeum, a temple dedicated to the cult of Mithraeus which was quite ... read more
Whin Sill
Housesteads Roman Fort

I will start by trying to clarify a few points about the length of Hadrian's Wall, the length of the Hadrian's Wall Walk, and the length you actually need to do to walk it (which are not quite the same!). When the Romans first built the wall (starting in AD 122 and completed by AD 128) it was 80 miles long. However, these were 'Roman miles' which were a bit shorter than our modern miles. A Roman mile is considered to be 1617 yards whereas a modern mile is 1760 yards so a Roman mile is about 0.92 of a modern mile (or 1.48 kilometres). This means that the actual length of the wall is 73 modern miles. The official Hadrian's Wall Long Distance Footpath is however 84 modern miles, 11 miles longer than the actual ... read more
Segedunum Roman Fort
The start of the walk

Asia » Nepal » Kathmandu Valley April 19th 2013

Sunday 14th April As we sat in the dining room at Lukla's Paradise lodge on Saturday having lunch at the end of the trek, we got chatting to another group of trekkers there. They had been due to fly out of Lukla that morning back to Kathmandu but planes had stopped landing after about 9am. We had heard a couple of days earlier that there was a large forest fire to the south of Lukla which was causing some problems for aircraft, but the winds around Lukla were also a bit stronger than normal. In the event there were no more plane flights out of Lukla on the Saturday though helicopters were still arriving and leaving regularly. We had been told that that we were booked on an early flight today so we were up early, ... read more
Hill terracing
Brickworks on the outskirts of Kathmandu

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