"No such thing as failure, only learning"
The time has come to pack up my gear and head over the pond to New Zealand for another winter. Flights are booked, baggage has been wrestled with to get it under the weight limit ( never gets any easier) and goodbyes said to family and friends.
I like travelling but the actual time In the air I'm not too keen on, to much time sat down and when you 6foot 4 that's not always easy on a plane, and until there's a train through the centre of the earth it's going to stay that way.
Travelling brings about the same cliches such as
-broadening the mind
-meeting new people
-finding 'ones' self
Now, these are all true to an extent(except 'finding ones self, that's not a thing) but I've found that chasing winters brings a slightly different point of view and stresses
-no baggage allowance is EVER enough
-the amount of people that find it funny asking me if my board bag contains a body(funny the first time, but the next person will end up in the bag)
-after 22 hours flying, being asked by that token Aussie in Melbourne airport if it's still raining in the UK, and why would I want to go to New Zealand. Think he answered that question himself.
Oh, and the guy on the plane who gets angry when he's not allowed to use his iPad, that is a thing now! Read a book dude, or actually talk to your kids.
These aren't moans, they are mearly observations and challenges I like to overcome with true British 'smile and nod' style.
Flying was a breeze this time and went fairly quickly and before I knew it I was touching down in Aotaroa.
Picking up a rental car at 2am to drive 5 hours to wanaka probably wasn't my best idea, but stopping at Lake Tekapo for a quick snooze was definitely a good idea. When you get older you get up early, that's a fact. That has its advantages when you get to see sights like this......l
Arriving in Wanaka has that familiar warmth now, kind of like coming home. People come and go, but there's always the locals to say hello to and reconfirm that I'm back in friendly NZ.
I've moved into a sweet house, stepped foot into the amazing workshop and started to get it ready for the busy winter ahead. The mountains have had an early snow and are looking magical once again,Black Peak steals the show.
Here to an exciting winter!
I finally got around to sorting through my footage from winter. I didnt have much but I've managed to put together a little edit from the stuff i did have.
Looking through it all reminded me of how good this winter was for riding, Bring on next winter!
Click on HD
I call a little island on the south coast of the UK my home. Its where i was brought up and is where my family still live, its always nice to come back and visit.
For those that have never heard of the Isle of Wight, its not where the TT is held......as I'm so often asked, and you don't need a passport to get here. You do need a ton of cash to pay for the extortianate cost of the ferries though, this is a greatly discussed debate for us 'islanders'.
It was a great place to grow up and i feel very privileged. Theres a relaxed atmosphere and a slow pace of life with the emphasis on getting out into the great outdoors.
Summers here are beautiful and warm due to the micro climate we have, and the beaches are some of the best in europe. The fresh food here is some of the best, not to mention the breweries making some fine ale!
You always wonder how much has changed in your home town when you've been away for a while, luckily this isn't something i have to worry about on the shire as the biggest news we've had in years is a new Waitrose and TK Maxx being built.
Once the snow has started to melt around Bourg St Maurice it opens up another world of walking tracks and roads that are otherwise unreachable in the winter.
I wanted to check out an area behind Bourg that looked great for some split board missions, i had been wanting to scope it out all winter but never had the chance. Its a road that in summer links Bourg with the Beaufort area and offers easier access towards Chamonix. It always blows my mind how close we are to a lot of big areas here!
Along this road is a hotel that was abondoned in 1938, I've heard a lot about it but never seen it for myself.....so i thought i could kill two birds with one stone.
It was about a 2 hour walk to the hotel, it felt like i was walking right into the heart of the mountains.....which i was!
Just before reaching the hotel i managed to get a good look at the peaks for touring and how to access them by road On the left was the 'Pont de la Terrasse' and on the right was the 'grand Aguilles' and 'Mont Miravidi'.....just a shame that i will have to wait until next winter as there is no snow up there anymore, but the peaks looked amazing from what i could see.
Strangely enough i sat down on a rock and under my foot was a Voile tool used for splitboards, it must be a sign, and proves that there is touring around that part of the valley.
Now, the hotel....one of the creepiest sights I've seen. Its on the main road, but you feel like your in the middle of nowhere, like there is no one for miles.......which makes this shell of a building feel strange. The hotel is on one side of the road and on the other is the swimming pool complete with a diving board and slide still there like they have been frozen in time. The swimming pool used to be fed by spring water which is why the hotel was built, it was supposed to be a spa. There's something about old buildings that i like, especially ones in the depths of the mountains as they feel like they have a story behind them.....some kind of mystery.
The building was never finished due to the owners running out of cash during the war, but apparently the swimming pool was used by the locals until the 70's.
I was tempted to keep walking to see how far i could get, but the thought of walking back to Bourg quickly put that idea on the back burner, but maybe next time as there looked like a lot of good backcountry goodies down there.....save it for next winter.