Tag Archives: holiday

New Austrian mountain fitness holiday for women, by women

Take your pick of mountain biking or an alpine e-bike tour

Take your pick of mountain biking or an alpine e-bike tour

So the summer’s over. Just about. And the thought that autumn and winter will soon be upon us is becoming an annoyingly real reality. Having had your lovely relaxing holiday, you’re now back to routine, back to the grind. If you’re anything like me, that means you want to go on holiday even more right now. But you’ve done just about all the lounging by the poolside you can do, so what would you think of a fitness and adventure holiday in the beautiful Austrian Alps? Tempting…?

Whether you’ve signed up for the Snowdonia Marathon or been inspired by Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games, this new Austrian alpine escape looks a great way to get motivated and conditioned, ready for your next challenge.

Your hosts for the duration of your mountain fitness holiday

Your hosts for the duration of your mountain fitness holiday

This new four day Mountain Ladies of Lungau fitness escape, run by St. Martin Chalets, is packed with activity. You’ll have a chance to contour the peaks, valleys and trails of Austria’s newest UNESCO Biosphere Reserve alongside some particularly fit locals.

Staying in one of St. Martin Chalets’ beautifully authentic Austrian chalets, in the Southern Alpine region of Lungau, each day you’ll be joined by St. Martin’s Power Princesses. They’ll encourage, guide and motivate you during a mix of alpine sporting endeavours, including trail running, summit walks, mountain biking and rock climbing.

It's not all serious, your hosts are up for a bit of fun too!

It’s not all serious, your hosts are up for a bit of fun too!

All five ladies live for the outdoors and boast plenty of credentials, from trained mountain guides, skiing instructors and UNESCO Biosphere Rangers to accomplished mountaineers, climbers, ski racers and cyclists. No need to be intimidated though… They’re up for plenty of fun too so you can take it as hard or as gentle as you like each day.

Here’s what it’s all about…

Who’s it for? They’ve obviously had a lot of interest from female guests and groups but they actively encourage male guests to pit their skills and fitness against the Power Princesses too!

Who are these ladies? All five ladies have different skills and talents to offer — you can meet them by visiting St. Martin Chalets’ website and scrolling down to ‘THE LADIES AND THE ITINERARY’.

Your home for the holiday, St. Martin Chalets

Your home for the holiday, St. Martin Chalets

Where is it? St. Martin Chalets is located 1.5hrs directly south of Salzburg Airport within the Lungau UNESCO Biosphere, Austria’s largest and newest Biosphere Reserve.

How long is it? This trip lasts four days and three nights, but there is no set departure date, which means longer/bespoke stays are also available. The new itinerary is available until the end of October 2014 and is subject to availability. After this, the next booking slot is between May – October 2015.

How much is it? Prices start at €450 (roughly £360) per person based on six people sharing. This includes chalet accommodation, return airport shuttle transfer, all activities and guiding, plus equipment hire (bikes, rucksacks, helmets, climbing harnesses and poles), use of private gym and sauna, daily chalet breakfast, a stocked fridge and a traditional Austrian chalet supper, plus dinner in a local castle. Not included in the price are flights, meals and car hire, except where stated.

Where can I fly from? Flights depart from London and the UK for Salzburg Airport, from as little as £45 each way.

Where can I get more information? Check out the St. Martin Chalets website — it has plenty of additional information.

A great spot to relax after a tiring day in the mountains

A great spot to relax after a tiring day in the mountains

So, what would I get up to on the fitness break?

Day 1

  • Fly into Salzburg before grabbing the airport shuttle to St. Martin Chalets
  • You’ll then get to know the girls over a few cold Austrian beers and a traditional Austrian ‘Jause’, which is a fantastic dish packed full of delicious cuts of cured meats and local produce (vege version available too). What better way to kick off your stay?! And depending on flight times this can be either before or after your run (see next point)
  • 17:00: Acclimatising 5km trail run along amazing trails and through beautiful mountainscapes
  • 19:00: Evening walk into downtown St. Michael for some more authentic Austrian food that’ll really hit the spot (the Austrians sure can cook!)
Explore Austria’s largest and newest Biosphere Reserve

Explore Austria’s largest and newest Biosphere Reserve

Day 2

  • 08:00: Chalet breakfast (DIY fresh rolls delivered and fridge re-filled daily)
  • Then take your pick from these activities…
    • 09:30: Three to four hours of mountain biking (e-bike optional) at altitudes between 1,000m and 1,900m. The super fit guides will lead you through the ups and downs of Lungau’s beautiful scenery. The girls are all keen mountain bikers, but if you’re looking for something a little more extreme, Isabella is a fearless speed junkie and is known by the locals as Lungau’s downhill lady!
    • 10:00: Climbing (rock or wall depending on weather). Don’t worry, the five ladies know some excellent lines for people of all abilities. Nina is probably their best climber (well she’s the youngest, so she should be). Climbing three times a week, both on the climbing wall and the real thing, she’s super strong.
  • 16:00: Evening trail run ca. 10km through the hills. This option is only if you’re really up for it! Living in the mountains keeps you lean and fit and there’s nothing like ending the day with a good jog. Plus it means you can eat cakes and pastries without feeling guilty — yay! Kerstin is the ‘gazelle’ of the team, and with perfect calves, she’ll motivate you to keep going!
  • 19:00: Catered chalet supper. Here’s a little secret… They’ve done a deal with the owners of the only Michelin Star restaurant in the region. Lucky you! They provide your chalet catering, and don’t worry, you’ll get served up mountain-sized portions of delicious local dishes. It’s pretty darned good!
The beautiful Castle Moosham lies just 4km from St. Martin Chalets

The beautiful Castle Moosham lies just 4km from St. Martin Chalets

Day 3

  • 06:00: Breakfast roll delivery (pack your rucksacks with sarnies)
  • 08:00: Summit climb — reach the heavens at 2,700m above sea level. Depending on how fast you are, two of the girls will whip you into shape over a five to six hour mountain hike over Alpine terrain. They’ll even hold your hand when it gets a bit precarious!
  • Lunch on the mountain
  • 17:00: Free time — use of gym and sauna
  • 19:00: Supper in the medieval castle, Burg Mauterndorf

Day 4

  • 07:30: Chalet breakfast before airport shuttle departs (depends on flight times)

All images courtesy of www.holidaystoaustria.com

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Government funding to help improve West Highland Way

We were only in West Scotland at the end of last summer walking up mountains like the Three Sisters, Am Bodach and even into the Lost Valley. It’s such a beautiful part of the country. So it’s really fantastic to hear that the government is throwing £750,000 into improving parts of Scotland’s West Highland Way. But that’s not all, it’s only part of the £3 million it is giving the Forestry Commission Scotland to improve Scotland’s forest estates.

Thought you might appreciate Trail magazine’s YouTube video of the Lost Valley – enjoy!

Have you been hiking in Scotland recently? What do you love about the Scottish Highlands?

To read the full story on BBC, click here.

Skiing in Scotland

Snow. It’s a wonderful thing isn’t it? It’s one of the few things that can make a whole office stop what they’re doing and run to the window to communally watch the small soft white flakes float majestically to the ground. Snow means Christmas and holidays are near, and for some that spells a skiing or snowboarding trip to some wonderful far flung country.

But… The thing is, it doesn’t have to be far flung. Scotland has recently been named one of the top 15 best value skiing destinations in Europe. And to be more specific, Cairngorm. In fact the place is already covered in snow and pretty chilly too, with the temperature over the next few days looking to drop to -4C.

Beginner or pro, Cairngorm Mountain has a lot to offer. And if you’re not into skiing or snowboarding, you can always do a spot of sledging, walking or climbing. Being one of the coldest and wildest places in Britain, the Cairngorms offer some of the best rock and winter climbing. And if you’re a keen photographer, I hear the Mountain Garden has some beautiful wild flowers.

Cairngorm earlier this year