Author: Ruth Clifford

A Stay at The Waiting Room, Northumberland

The Waiting Room sits above Staward Gorge and Allen Banks in Northumberland, overlooking the railway line of Staward Station. The station hasn’t seen a train for 66 years but the lovingly-restored Waiting Room still provides a place of refuge for the weary traveller, bedecked with everything one could need for a a few days away, from fresh eggs to scrabble. My boyfriend and I holed up there for three days and four nights at the end of September, savouring the rugged scenery, the starry skies and the historic Hadrian’s Wall.  Without a car, we were delighted to find that The...

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Sri Lankan Bliss

Since coming back from Sri Lanka I’ve told all my friends that they should go there for their next holiday, and now I’m going to tell you… It was March and I had some much-anticipated and much-needed work-free weeks before I moved to Manchester and to a new job. Sri Lanka felt like a good destination for a two-week escape – small, warm and good value. Armed with those three preconceptions and a handful of excellent travel tips from my friend Sarah, my boyfriend and I set off without much sense of where we were really going or the...

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Peru, Huacachina – An oasis in the desert

The buggy is flying across the sand, the speed is such that we barely touch the surface. The warm desert air whirs around my head and my knuckles whiten as we suddenly get thrown back against our plastic seats, climbing up an impossibly steep ascent at frightening pace. The edge of the sand-mountain comes closer and closer and I can’t see what’s on the other side but the buggy doesn’t slow down. We hurtle recklessly towards it. My stomach drops and my eyes shut as we career over the edge into a seeming abyss, plunging down a near-vertical drop....

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The Magic of Machu Picchu

In my previous blog about the Salkantay Trek – the arduous but amazing walk to Machu Picchu – I said that Machu Picchu deserved a blog in its own right and it does… so here it is. Any photographic preconceptions of Machu Picchu don’t do justice to the sheer majesty of the ancient city, set high up in the cloud-covered peaks of Peru. Tumbling agricultural terraces are jewel-bright green, clinging to the edge of the mountain as lamas graze on them and Incan temples are a historian’s delight. The one hour guided tour at the beginning of our day...

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Peru – Conquering the Salkantay

After three days acclimatising in Cusco and a mad last-minute scramble to find a better trek deal (note – don’t book the Salkantay trek in advance, it’s way cheaper in Cusco), we were off. A 4am knock on our hostel door signalled the arrival of our guide– pitch black and cool outside, we stumbled towards our bus to begin what was about to be the most exhausting and most exhilarating five days of my life. The Salkantay Trek is a stunning, five-day hike to Machu Picchu and one of the more common alternatives to the Inca Trail. Arguably it...

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