Polly Nightingale
You must have heard about the recent ascent of the sheer Dawn Wall of Yosemite’s towering El Capitan by 2 free-climbers. Whatever you think of them (hero, courageous, plain mad), you can’t have failed to be impressed by their feat. And fingers – ouch! They had to use their fingertips to haul them up, the sharp surface of the wall piercing and cutting their skin until they were forced to take a break to let the skin grow back, so they could wear it all off again!

Still there’s no doubting the inspirational effect of the climb. I’m sure climbing walls all round the world are heaving under the weight of novice climbers, all eager to test their mettle.


El Capitan in Yosemite

If you feel inspired and stirred to action, we have a number of activities you might like to tackle, requiring varying degrees of effort and daring, though none quite as dangerous or painful as that climb:

Peru-mountain-bikingMountain biking in the Sacred Valley of the Incas – mostly downhill! You’ll stop to admire archaeological ruins and take in views of the valley and mountains



ApurimacRafting to the source of the Amazon in Peru – what a buzz, grade IV rapids and steep-sided canyons in a remote part of Peru



Mashpi-LodgeSoaring on the sky bike at Ecuador’s Mashpi Lodge – an aerial bike made for 2, with 1 providing the motive force and the other sitting back to enjoy the ride



ND-kilimanjaro-machameClimbing Kilimanjaro – now this one is tough and will require dedicated preparation but the sense of achievement makes it all worthwhile – or so they tell me.



Gorilla Expressgorilla-safari – this is a tough trek, through dense vegetation and it may be muddy underfoot, but the reward is a whole hour with the gorillas. Pure magic.



NHighlands-trekNgorongoro Highlands trek – walking in the Great Rift Valley, though forest, past an emerald green lake, to a crater rim and on to flamingo-filled Lake Natron, it’s an awe-inspiring journey



Walking with wildlife in ZambiaRPS-walking-mobile – you don’t need a 4×4 to go on safari. Take to your own 2 feet for an experience closer to nature, unencumbered by barriers and engine noise – a true bush adventure.



Highlights-nepalThere’s no denying that trekking in Nepal carries a certain cachet, and it’ll be one to dine out on for many months once you’re back home. On this trip you also go white water rafting – adrenalin a-plenty!



Vic-Falls-LivingstoneWhite water rafting at Vic Falls – more high octane, heart-pumping action, this time against the backdrop of the world’s most famous waterfalls. And there’s bungee jumping, abseiling, microlighting…



So, you see, there’s plenty of choice and you don’t have to be a dare-devil to have an adventure, though I’ve a feeling a touch of madness helps…