Category Archives: Trekking

Photos & highlights from the #walkingsbrilliant Coast to Coast Hadrian’s Wall Challenge

We completed the Coast to Coast Hadrian’s Wall Challenge last month, reaching the sea at Little Haven Beach, South Shields, on 18th July.

The #walkingsbrilliant group was amazing. Comprised of several ex-pro footballers and other folk connected to the world of football, the group trek was undertaken to support the W.A.T.C.H. non-profit organisation, which raises funds for mental health charities and the NHS.

The challenge was over five trekking days, with each day of the trek being around 30kms, or 18 to 19 miles, and of course we did this over 5 days back to back! The total distance covered was around 90 miles / 144kms. It was a tough and demanding walk, but the group were well-prepared.

Continue reading Photos & highlights from the #walkingsbrilliant Coast to Coast Hadrian’s Wall Challenge

the Hadrian’s Wall Coast to Coast Trek in support of W.A.T.C.H. sets off!

Today marked the first day of the Hadrian’s Wall Coast to Coast trek in support of W.A.T.C.H. The 5-day expedition will see a team of ex pro footballers trek 85 miles across some of the most beautiful regions of northern England over the course of 5 days, as they complete the classic route from Bowness-on-Solway, near Carlisle, to Newcastle. The team are walking under the banner of W.A.T.C.H., a non-profit that aims to raise awareness about mental health issues in ex-athletes, and will be raising money for NHS and Mental Health Charities.

Our own Jeremy Gane is completing the walk with the group, and sent us the following update from day 1 of the trek:

“Walkings Brilliant is their motto and 13 brilliant walkers they were. Led by ex pro football celebrities Mark “Big Norm” Crossley, Dean Windass, Nigel Jemson, Chris Kirkland, Steve Howey, Jon Parkin, and cheered on by comedian Gaz Marshall, the walkers managed the first day with energy, humour, and a few blisters, as they trekked 29.4kms from Bowness-on-Sea to Low Crosby. This first day of this tough trek gives a great indication of fitness levels, and the serious training they had done was evident. Tomorrow a tougher challenge with the 30kms undulating trek from Low Crosby to Cawfields Quarry. Tonight a beer and a chance to rest those aching legs.”

We’ll aim to have more updates, along with photos, on our blog as the group continue their journey through rural Cumbria and Northumberland towards Newcastle. You can also follow the group on social media at and via #walkingsbrilliant!

Climbing Kilimanjaro

Part Three – Climbing Kilimanjaro

In the third of our blogs on climbing and trekking in East Africa, Jeremy Gane looks back fondly on 30 years of leading and organising Kilimanjaro climbs.

I often think of the vast, wild, high slopes of Kilimanjaro. Volcanic rock broken down by millennia of cold and wind to become a moonscape of fractured pinnacles and high-altitude desert. I love so much those higher slopes when I climb Kilimanjaro, these wild and wonderful places, where solitary raptors soar above, shy antelope, and occasionally even a leopard may cross the trail. It is peaceful there.

Continue reading Climbing Kilimanjaro

Trekking and climbing in kenya

Part Two – Trekking and climbing in Kenya

South of Ethiopia is found Africa’s original safari destination and also a mecca for rock climbers, mountaineers and trekkers. My first visit to Kenya was in the late Nineties when the famous climber Mark Savage helped me organise a trek on Mount Kenya to Point Lenana – the trekkers’ peak . I recall a leaky tent, awful food and reaching Point Lenana in a heavy snowstorm. Yet, the incredible beauty of the Mount Kenya massif enthralled me. In particular the twin peaks of Nelion and Batian – the technical summits of the mountain. Back then I had no experience of rock climbing and those awesome peaks were totally off limits for me. Much later in 2015 and 2016 I was to return to attempt the technical summits of Mount Kenya – Batian and Nelion. My first and poor attempt on Batian was followed by a happier climb up to Nelion Peak and the Gate of Mists.

Continue reading Trekking and climbing in kenya


Part One – The Rift Valley and Trekking in Ethiopia

The Great African Rift is a set of wonderful geological features that can be seen from space. The Rift Valley connects Arabia to Ethiopia to Kenya to Tanzania, and so onwards south to Mozambique.

Fom the lands around the African Rift Valley come our ancestors, the earliest known hominids to walk the earth. To go full circle and to return there is a privilege which asks in return our respect for the many eco-systems of Africa.

Continue reading TREKKING IN Ethiopia


In almost 30 years of working in adventure travel – from 1991 to 2020 – I have had the luck to climb across East Africa, in the Himalayas, in South America, in Europe and the UK. I learned to climb and trek at high altitude when I was middle-aged, and even now in old age I hope to carry on climbing for as long as possible. In fact, a return to Kilimanjaro and a third crack at Mawenzi – little known, but still Africa’s third highest peak – is next on my list! In this series of posts, I will look back on some of my climbing experiences so far. In doing so, I hope to illustrate how middle and old age need not be a barrier to climbing, and how anyone can also climb and trek these wonderful worldwide peaks. The posts will also look forward to after Corona, when climbing and trekking peaks will once again be open – and wild and beautiful as ever.

Continue reading FROM KILIMANJARO TO THE MATTERHORN – By Jeremy Gane

Client Feedback: Rhodedendrons in bloom in the Annapurna Himalayas

Phil and Patti travelled with us to Nepal in March-April of this year on a lodge-based trek in the Annapurna region – their third such journey with Gane and Marshall! They were kind enough to share with us some of their photos, which really capture the beauty of the Annapurna region at this time of year – a time associated with blue skies and the spectacular rhododendron bloom.

Many thanks to Phil and Patti!

Oman School Expedition, Nov 2016 – Trip Report

In November 2016, six special needs students travelled to Oman on a life-changing expedition organised by Gane and Marshall. Here, Rich Berry from Sky College, one of the two schools involved, recounts the experience:

As part of our aspiration to provide life changing experiences we embarked on an overseas visit to the Middle East. Staff and a group of four students travelled four thousand miles to Oman where they trekked through the mountains and deserts whilst carrying out roles to develop both personal skills as well as team skills. The senior leadership team had difficult decisions to make as over a dozen students showed an interest in the challenge, but only four places were available. Several students from year nine to eleven completed small challenges along the way as part of the selection process. Continue reading Oman School Expedition, Nov 2016 – Trip Report

Congo safari – Brazzaville… Wet, Wild and Wonderful

Gane and Marshall Africa and wildlife specialist Sarah Williams recently returned from a one-week stay in the Republic of Congo. Read on for her account of her Congo safari, which she spent exploring the forests and waterways of Odzala-Kokoua National Park on foot and by kayak.

Snip, snip, snip…. This was the subtle sound made by the trackers in the early morning as we searched for a family of Western lowland gorillas. Unlike East Africa, where they use a low rumble to alert gorillas to their presence, these trackers use the unlikely sound of secateurs to announce themselves as they cut a path through the thick vegetation.

Gorilla safari in Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Congo
Gorilla tracking in Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Congo

I was in the Ndzehi Forest area of Odzala-Kokoua National Park, which surrounds Ngaga Camp in the Republic of Congo. This is where a research couple have been responsible for habituating two gorilla family groups – Neptuno and Jupiter – and where they are currently working on habituating a third family. The entire Ndhezi Forest area is well populated with gorillas, as there are many other unhabituated families in the region, though these latter groups tend to be nervous and are not often seen.

Our gorilla trek began early when our small group of four followed the tracker into the forest and to the gorillas’ last known location, their overnight nest. A path was then cut through the marantaceae – a large leafed plant and a favourite of the gorillas – until we were in a position to observe the gorilla family at a safe distance. We had a wonderful sighting of a whole family in a tree, for well over an hour, as they completely ignored us while enjoying the delicious ripe fruits!

Gorilla safari in Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Congo
Gorilla safari in Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Congo

Taking a break from the gorilla tracking, during the late afternoons we would accompany our guide for walks in the forest, where we saw troops of putty nosed and moustachioed monkeys, as well as several interesting birds, insects and flora.

After a few days in the jungle we moved on to Mboko Lodge which is situated a couple of hours drive away but in a completely different environment. The lodge stands in a huge expanse of savannah, punctuated by massive red termite mounds. The spacious accommodation overlooks an attractive river.

The activities from this lodge are predominately water based, with boat trips along the river, kayaking and walking through the bais and streams. Although you will get wet, the streams are clear and warm so I found these activities to be a highlight of my stay and not an uncomfortable experience.

Ngaga Camp, Odzala-Kokoua National Park
Ngaga Camp, Odzala-Kokoua National Park

On a long adventure walk we passed through several ecosystems, from thick forest where we saw forest hogs, forest elephant and colobus monkey, emerging into an area of savannah where we had to crouch low in the tall grass, while buffalo slowly walked passed us!

We then waded through a beautiful deep stream, the trees and flora surrounding us creating curtains of greenery; it was one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever seen and not what I expected of the Congo!

I have to make a special mention of the accommodation, which was of a much higher standard than I imagined. The lodges are unusual but in keeping with their surrounding and very comfortable, the cuisine is outstanding… be prepared for delicious meals served by delightful chefs and staff!

Viewing deck at Ngaga Camp, Odzala-Kokoua National Park
Viewing deck at Ngaga Camp, Odzala-Kokoua National Park

Travel to the Congo won’t appeal to everyone but if you have a sense of adventure and are looking for somewhere which is genuinely off the beaten track – often said but rarely achieved! – then you should certainly consider a Congo Safari… it just may surprise you, as it did me!

Visit our Congo destination page to learn more about safaris to the Congo. For a safari itinerary similar to Sarah’s, consider our Explore the Congo Basin 10-day programme.