Sunday, 6 March 2016

The tentative plan – and how it all changed

It has not passed me by that we have already entered March and I have yet to tick off volcano number 2, let alone have any constructive plans in place. I have no excuses for my woeful expedition planning. But shame on me all the same.

Last year, I had a brilliant strategy. Mt Vesuvius, Italy, and Mt Teide, Tenerife, last year and then seven volcanoes this year: Stromboli and Mt Etna, Italy; Mt Eyjafjallajökull and Thrihnukagigur volcano, Iceland; Mt Ararat, Turkey; Jebel Sirwa; Morocco; and Nevis Peak, St Kitts and Nevis, Caribbean.

And then it all went a bit Pete Tong. After a successful – albeit slightly fraudulent summit of Mt VesuviusMt Teide didn’t happen. The plan now, hopefully, is to achieve Mt Teide later this year (hopefully being the operative word) but this is still to be confirmed.

Despite this slight setback last year, I was looking forward to this year. I booked a tour to Italy in April for Stromboli and Mt Etna, with the bonus of two extra volcanoes. But as luck would have it, I was the only person booked on the trip. As a result this has now been cancelled so I rebooked to do the tour in September instead. Then it was brought to my attention that it clashed with the boyfriend’s birthday – how I achieved that I have no idea, but an epic girlfriend fail. Thankfully there was a slot a couple of weeks earlier so the trip has been rebooked (third time lucky) and I’m breathing a sigh of relief and keeping my fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, the Iceland volcanoes are tentatively planned, but not yet booked, for late July. But Iceland is a notoriously expensive destination and they take their adventure tourism seriously (like New Zealand) – a guided climb of Mt Eyjafjallajökull (guided because of the glacier and crevasses) will set me back £174. So there is a lot of umming and ahhing (and cursive glances at my bank account) over this.   

I’ve also decided to bin Mt Ararat for now. Its 5,137 metre height has freaked me out a bit and I don’t think I’m quite ready for that challenge just yet. And Jebel Sirwa isn’t really doing it for me now.

Instead I’m leaning towards the rolling volcanoes and green valleys of the Auvergne volcano region in France, where there just happens to be the delightful GR400 walking route. I like the idea of walking through quaint French villages, feasting on cheese and lentils. This idea only popped into my head a couple of weeks ago but I’m keeping an eye out for the guidebook, which is rather inconveniently in French, and of course I don’t speak French.

So in all, I’ve only booked one volcano this year – including a week lounging on a white-sand beach in the Caribbean in June (by myself but hopefully the cocktails will keep me company). Fortunately St Kitts and Nevis is not yet affected by the Zika virus. Let’s hope it stays that way. 


Three months into 2016 and it’s not exactly how I imagined this year to start off but, hey, there’s still 10 months to go. 

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