If you regularly tune into this blog, you’ll already know that a trip to the zoo ranks pretty highly on my list of things to do if there’s one in the area. (See Exhibit 1 and Exhibit 2, no pun intended, if you need to be brought up to speed.) We therefore set aside a full day (and evening) to explore everything that the award-winning Singapore Zoo and Night Safari had to offer.
Hong Kong is towering skyscrapers, colonial relics and ornate temples; it’s also rugged coastline, craggy peaks and beautiful flora. Hong Kong is bubble waffles, yum cha and char siu. Hong Kong is a place I could keep going back to and never tire of.
Once we’d filled up on a hearty Premier Inn breakfast, we checked out and made our way to Edinburgh Zoo. Over a thousand animals call this 82-acre hilltop zoological park home – though there were two in particular that I was hoping to see: Tian Tian (Sweetie) and Yang Guang (Sunshine), the UK’s only giant pandas.
Although the previous day had been a total washout, brighter skies were on the cards for our final full day in the Lakes – so we made the most out of it by climbing another peak, Yewbarrow. Spoiler: we totally underestimated this 628m peak. This mountain was essentially A Bad Idea – but it didn’t stop us giving it a go (and a decent run for its money, even if we were rather unconventional walkers/ hikers/ climbers).
On a clear day, England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, affords spectacular views across England’s deepest lake and the surrounding Lakeland fells. However, our streak of good luck with the weather had temporarily expired – and the Scafell range was shrouded in thick mist. So much for the optimistic weather forecast displayed at the campsite . . .
As we set off from the campsite towards Wast Water, the wispy grey clouds overhead looked somewhat ominous. Undeterred, we decided to go along with our original plan – a circuit of the three-mile long glacial lake, taking in the shoreline footpath along the southern edge before returning via the road on the northern edge. So far, so bon.
With breakfast consumed, the tent packed away and our backpacks on, it was time to leave the glampsite behind and swap the picturesque hamlet of Boot for a pitch a stone’s throw from Britain’s “favourite view” (as voted by ITV viewers several years prior).
Having visited the tourist honeypots of Windermere, Ambleside and Grasmere a few months back, Laurence and I were keen to head a bit further off-grid on this trip to the Lake District. Cue: a four-hour train ride to the south-western Lakes for a taste of Britain’s “favourite view” (according to ITV viewers) in the form of Wast Water, a suitably remote and picturesque spot surrounded by England’s highest peaks, the Scafell range, and hundreds of adorable Herdwick sheep.
Tuesday rolled round, and with it our third peak of the trip: Whernside. The diamond in Yorkshire’s crown, Whernside is the highest of the Yorkshire Three Peaks – and arguably the peak with the best views. From the lofty heights of 736m above sea level, the summit offers views of the Lake District and Morecambe Bay on a clear day – and if you bring your binoculars, you might even spot Blackpool Tower!
The morning after our short but sweet ascent of Pen-y-ghent, we were all fuelled up on Morrison’s golden syrup porridge and hot chocolate and ready to attempt Yorkshire’s second-highest peak: Ingleborough. At 723m high this is hardly the Himalayas, but it did feel like a bit of a slog compared to the previous day’s hike.