“We’re all going on a Summer Holiday, no more worries for a week or two…” immortal words that I remember my Grandmother singing to me tunelessly as she, my other Grannie and her dog Rex, my Mum, Dad, brother and I set off with a tent and an igloo (may be before your time…) for our week’s camping in Scotland. Midges, rain, family strife…nothing could quell our ardour for the summer holiday.
Now that I am older and, arguably, wiser though, I do wonder which holiday is better – the summer or the winter?
Let’s hear it for the Summer
The obvious thing that comes up trumps for a summer holiday is the weather. Yes, it may be raining in Australia (and Scotland) but you are more likely to have warm and sunny days and nights.
Then, there is the fact that you will get to see nature in all its green glory. The trees will be in full leaf and the grass long and lush.
If you have kids, then it is a no-brainer, it HAS to be summer and you will need to keep them occupied too, so what could be better than a summer holiday.
In summer, water activities really win out. Getting dunked in a river as you fly down it on a raft is all fun and games when it happens on a hot August day. You can leap out of your canoe to have a quick swim in the lake and welcome the coolness of the water when the sun is beating down.
The fact that everyone else is in holiday mode too makes it doubly pleasurable. The grumpiness of the early morning crowded commute which makes you hate the whole of humanity fades into a distant memory as you chat cheerfully to the other folk in the queue for an ice cream.
Hiking and biking too, should be warmer and sunnier and the thought of not having to pack all those extra warmth layers is pretty appealing.
That’s it, I’m sold, it is summer for me and here are three of the Whereabouts Holidays I’ve got my eye on:
Italy! Wonderful walking, wonderful food
Explore Liguria’s picturesque coastline on this self-guided Italian holiday. One of the most beautiful walking areas in Italy, you will find multi-coloured houses clinging on to steep slopes, small squares with colourful boats on the sea and winding alleyways with steep stairs. Above the holiday resorts along the sea you find a network of trails leading through unspoilt and primeval landscapes with pretty mountain villages, olive groves, vineyards and winding mule trails, making for the perfect introduction to this region.
Scotland! My homeland and a chance to explore by canoe and connect with the wilderness
The Great Glen Canoe Trail is a classic canoe journey from coast to coast through the spectacular loch and river system of the Great Glen, including canoeing in Loch Ness. The adventure begins just outside Fort William on the easy, sheltered water of the Caledonian Canal. You will then journey through a series of amazing lochs before finishing at Inverness on the other side of Scotland! Throughout the expedition, coaching will be given to help you develop your paddling skills.
Finland! An adventure paradise
Explore the fascinating country of Finland on this self-guided cycling holiday. Explore and discover many of the 1000s of unique islands that make up the picturesque region of Turku by bike and ferry. Visit lively seaside towns, pretty churches and harbours and experience the laid back sauna lifestyle that the Finnish are famous for.
Let’s hear it for the Winter
But just hold on for a second.. if there is EVER a time that you need a holiday, surely it is in the long, endlessly dark days of winter. It’s raining outside, the trees are bare, taking your outdoors’ layers off takes half an hour and you are definitely comfort eating on that sofa, what could be better than to zoom off for a winter adventure?
Winter holidays give you a chance to get outside for some much-needed fresh air and daylight. Even if it is not sunny, you will be benefitting from not being permanently inside as you tend to be if you are office based during the winter.
It’s a chance to do something different and try something new. Fat biking in the snow? Yes, please!
The countryside has its own beauty in the winter. If you go for snow, then you can feast your eyes on miles of bright white and blue sky. If you go for hiking or biking, you’ll have the glories of the naked forest and the rugged mountain.
You won’t have to deal with the crowds of summer. The trails are usually quieter and you can get to feel part of the community as you pass through the towns and villages en route.
I’ve talked myself into it, winter is the season for me! Time to start looking through Whereabouts Holidays’ offering to see what whets my winter appetite.
Sweden! Snowshoeing and dog sledding – just wow!
This is a guided winter activity holiday with a difference! We head up to the Abisko National Park, 200km north of the Arctic Circle on snowshoes in search of the Northern Lights. Snowshoes are the best way to explore here and the technique is easy to master making this the perfect holiday for those new to winter activities. With the dark nights and the area's favourable climate on our side, if the solar activity is good, you have a fantastic chance of seeing the Northern Lights from here. We stay in mountain cabins beside the frozen Lake Alesjaure for 2 nights practicing our snowshoe technique. We then head back to Abisko and have an evening free to relax before a day of optional activities with dog sledding, ice climbing or Nordic skiing on offer.
Austria! Fat biking – I so want to try this
Based in the village of Ramsau with numerous groomed hiking trails, cross country ski runs and snow shoe trails the region south of the Dachstein mountain range is also ideal for a guided Fatbike Adventure. Escape to the snow!
The Galapagos! Worth saving up for – holiday of a lifetime
Our 9 day Western and Northern Islands Galapagos Cruise explores the spectacular Galapagos Islands from your base aboard the Santa Cruz II. Daily tours accompanied by a naturalist guide see you visiting 9 of the islands to discover some of the flora and fauna unique to this UNESCO World Heritage site. Highlights of these islands include 13 of the Big 15 species, including Blue-Footed, Red-Footed and Nazca Boobies, land and marine iguanas and Galapagos penguins. The landscapes of the islands are as unique as their occupants with lagoons, prickly-pear cactus forests, white sand beaches, fascinating rock formations and the red coloured beach of Rabida Island all making up part of the tour. There'll be time for swimming and snorkelling on most days and on some days there will be the option of going out in the glass-bottom boat or kayaking amongst some of the marine wildlife.
So, which will YOU choose?
I think I am going to go with my instincts and choose….. both! They all look a far cry away from those early, halcyon days of family camping. The one thing you won’t get with the selection above is the comedy value of the igloo tent, which was inflatable, deflating nightly and collapsing on the two grannies and a dog…..
By Alice Morrison www.alicemorrison.co.uk