Archive for the ‘UK’ Category

Trundlin slowly home……

December 8, 2011
Shoreham-by-Sea Railway Train Station sunrise

When the weather decides to give a display of its force, travelling by any means can be difficult. A 149mph gust of wind on the peak of Cairn Gorm in Scotland today has been reported and there are widespread issues in the UK, from floods and travel difficulties in Scotland, to cancelled ferries from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight.

In between, a fallen tree has blocked the London – Brighton rail line so my commute home is likely to be a slow one. (I have a rucksack with a fully charged iPhone, a book and will pick up a coffee / beer at Gatwick rail station to ease my journey home).

Be safe out there, however you travel.

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A Short Break That’s Just Too Long

December 2, 2011

20111202-074609.jpg

Next Wednesday, a group of friends are heading up to Cumbria for three days of walking in the hills.

Last year I was one of the group, and the winter weather made for a wry memorable weekend. Using Keswick as a base we had magical snow all around.

This year, I’m back working in the travel industry, and more precisely, in the world of IT. For me this means that November/December is spent trying to shoehorn improvements into our systems in time for the peak booking season that everybody in the industry hopes will materialise as usual.

This means that I won’t be going on the road trip from the south coast to Cumbria, but will have to vicariously enjoy the hills via texts/tweets and browsing the excellent Striding Edge website.

If you’re considering a visit to the Lake District then I also heartily recommend www.golakes.co.uk which won a Travolution award recently for Absolute Media. It’s the “official website of Cumbria Tourism” so is an ideal place to start your research.

I’ll be heading into the South Downs National Park for some trail running on my traditional two day weekend, so I won’t be too hard done by….

The last mile – winter

November 17, 2011

One mile. That’s how far my office is from the railway station.

I’m extremely lucky to have the option of a free shuttle bus, but connecting bus and train doesn’t always work, so it can be easier to walk the mile.

I’d like the freedom of a folding bike, so I don’t need to run the gauntlet of missing a train by waiting for a bus.

I’ll be looking for extreme light weight, single speed, maybe belt drive and a very quick fold – so intend posting some of my thoughts as I research.

Rail Companies and Social Media Engagement

November 16, 2011

Betws y Coed Railway Station, Snowdonia

Venturing back onto the rail network for my new commute, one extra tool in my travel planning box is Twitter.

I use the excellent “UK Train Times” iPhone app by Agant Ltd for rail travel planning. However, for up to the minute status reports and welcome engagement, I follow @SouthernRailUK on Twitter – a company doing the right thing with their customer engagement.

So far, this has made my commuting relatively painless and I enter the dark of winter with a confidence that I won’t be left standing on a cold platform, devoid of information.

 

Inspired by The Clash…..

October 25, 2008

Should I stay or Should I go?

A couple of days in San Fran or stay at home for some R&R – perhaps a lightning trip to Snowdon?

How to decide? Aha, back to the Trundlin equation – a complex algorithm of time, money, weather and relationships.

For the moment I’m pondering……

It may be time to head for the hills!

October 6, 2008

“Survivalism” isn’t something you hear about too much in the UK. The Americans have a vast expanse to lose yourself in. Where your stockpile of guns, tins and candles won’t be found.

When Capitalism fails and anarchy takes over (tomorrow maybe?), if you;re English you’d do better to hole up in Russia, or wildest British Columbia.

Why? Well, nowhere in the UK seems to be more than a brisk walk away from civilisation (used in the loosest possible sense for most provincial English towns!).

Not quite as remote as a Shetland Bod, but a good introduction to a remote area are the lodges at Cadair View (http://www.cadairviewlodge.co.uk/).

Family friendly, great for exploring, mountain biking, walking, or just being away from the rat race, “off grid”. Check out the photos on the website and give it a go!.

Cadair View Lodge

Cadair View Lodge

The best city to live in, trundlin wise…..

September 19, 2008

Magazines frequently feature “list” articles, detailing “The 20 Best Towns for…..”.

I’m going to be no different, and will try to build a list of locations where it’s easy to live, within easy reach of some great leisure locations.

The easy option would be to list all the great holiday destinations! However my aim is to show how many great destinations are within easy reach of some major conurbations.

First up, and for no particulate reason, apart from the fact I spent some formative years there is Zurich, Switzerland.

Visit www.zuerich.com for a taster, and in a few days I’ll elaborate on what the area has to offer.

Update: Dec 2011 – This post has received thousands of hits over the last two years. Check back soon, for more detail on how to travel leisurely around Zurich and its environs.

Virgin Holidays & Hip Hotels

September 11, 2008

Firstly, a declaration. In my “day job” I work for the Virgin Group.

Virgin Holidays have teamed up with Herbert Ypma’s Hip Hotels brand to launch a new luxury tour operator.

The definition of leisure is “time available for ease and relaxation”.

Virgin Holidays new venture aims to give the traveller peace of mind, ease and relaxation by assigning them a “Travel Guru” when they make a booking, to ensure their itinerary is booked correctly and any uncertainties, or special requests are dealt with efficiently.

Sounds like heaven. The catch, if it is one, is that this is extreme trundlin, luxury trundlin. If you are the sort of traveller who hankers after the austere accommodation of a Scottish Bod (as featured in an earlier post), then don’t venture over to www.vhiphotels.co.uk and request a sumptuous 200 page Hip Hotels guide. This is hotel erotica. A Travelodge will never be the same again!

The Trundlin Equation

September 10, 2008

When somebody makes a purchase decision regarding leisure travel there is a correlation between the transit and travel time of a journey and the time spent in the destination.

This could be expressed in a fairly basic mathematical formula with limited variables except that the mode of transport and the method of transit, combined with the reason for travel all have an influence.

This is easily explained anecdotally.

Would you invest the time to fly to Australia if you only spent 1 day in the destination country? Unlikely.

Would you drive 2 hours to spend a night away, to explore an unfamiliar town? Probably.

Below is illustrated three trips I have made over the last year.

The first, a straightforward week in Cornwall, England. I live close, so to drive a few hours at either end for a week’s vacation? Great!

The second, a day’s worth of cars, airport check-ins and flights, for less than 48 hours in Delhi, India.

The third, about 28 hours of transit and travel for less than 24 hours in San Francisco.

There is a Trundlin equation / quotient for each which shows which trip was the most leisurely.

Have a guess (post in the Comments below if you are brave) which has the highest Trundlin quotient, and the reason, and over future posts I’ll divulge and also try to enumerate successfully !

City airports….

September 9, 2008

If you have ever flown into, or out of London, then you will know that neither Heathrow (LHR) or Gatwick (LGW) Airports are actually in London. Nor is Stansted (STN), or Luton (LTN).

LGW, STN and LTN are all 25 – 30 miles outside of London, LHR is a little closer. (I’ve excluded London City Airport (LCY) from here as although its in the heart of the London Docklands it can only accommodate STOL (Short Take Off Landing) aircraft so has a limited short haul reach.

Transit time from airport to city the world over can be a surprise if you don’t research.

Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) to India Gate, New Delhi?  – Seven miles

Lisbon Airport to Lisbon waterfront? – Three miles

San Francisco (SFO) Airport to Fisherman’s Wharf? – Thirteen miles. Stretching it a little, but still an easy trundl away.

Choose your airport carefully and trundling along comfortably at your destination can make all the difference to to a leisurely break.

Lisbon - Airport 3 miles north!

Lisbon - Airport 3 miles north!