Trevor’s Travel Trivia – Bhutan – PART II

Highest country in the world Bhutan is the highest country on our planet with an average altitude of 3,280m. If Tibet were a sovereign country, then it would of course easily eat Bhutan for brekkies at an absolutely incredible average elevation of 4,380m. In terms of mean elevation, Bhutan ranks #4 at 2,220m after Tajikistan (3,186m), Kyrgyzstan (2,988m), and Nepal (2,565m) and before Lesotho (#5 at 2,161m), Andorra (#6 at 1,996m), Afghanistan (#7 at 1,884m), Chile (#8 at 1,871m), and perhaps surprisingly China (#9 at 1,840m). Left picture (c) The Planet D, where uncredited either free stock photography or BSqB For comparison, the United States are at 760m, France at 375m, and the United Kingdom and India both have a mean elevation of roughly 160m. Zebra Crossings In the towns, policemen will politely but firmly remind you to use the zebra crossings, should you forget. Big game hunting? See what […]

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Trevor’s Travel Trivia – Bhutan – PART I

Before we start, let me mention that the Bhutanese (very rightly so!) are extremely proud of their king and country. Much of the information below can be found on official Bhutanese websites. While some of these trivia might (and are intended) to sound strange to the average Western ear, it is very important to take them as what they are: beautiful, unique aspects of a beautiful, unique country. A country that has been completely isolated from the rest of the world until very recently. The world’s highest unclimbed mountain Gangkhar Puensum (7,570m), the country’s highest mountain, is the tallest mountain in the world that has yet to be summited. Since 1994 the mountain has been off-limits to climbers. So this might never happen. Bhutan is now banning all mountaineering activities above 6,000m to protect the sanctity attributed to these mountains and the deities thought to reside there.   Gangkhar Puensum […]

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The UK’s Highest Mountains – Did you know that Ben Nevis is only ranking #23?

During our last trip before Covid struck, the Barbarians visited two countries that are not short of tall peaks, Nepal and Bhutan, and somehow we got talking about the pleasant rolling hills of the British Isles; it seems a common fact that Ben Nevis is the UK’s highest mountain. There is no doubt that it is indeed the tallest peak on the UK main territory, the highest mountain on the British Isles. However, the former British Empire still owns a large number of overseas territories, which are not part of the UK, but under UK sovereignty, owned by the UK: they are UK territory. When you take into account those territories, Ben Nevis is not looking so tall anymore. I was really surprised when I was not able to find any lists of the UK’s highest mountains anywhere on the internet. I found some mentions of the tallest mountain, even […]

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A day of hiking with the Forest of Dean Ramblers

We joined the Forest of Dean Ramblers for a four-hour (plus half an hour lunch break), ten-mile walk around the Forest of Dean last weekend. Several years ago, we had done a couple of walks with the Ramblers in the South Downs, and thoroughly enjoyed them. The group back then consisted mainly of twenty-somethings. This time around we had simply set our mind to doing a bit of hiking in the Forest of Dean, a beautiful stretch of hilly woodland next to the Welsh border in Gloucestershire. Neither of us had visited before. I took an afternoon train from London to Gloucester, where I picked up the rental car and waited for Ms B, while getting some work done from the room at the Ibis Hotel. Because it is off-season, we had managed to get a large double-room for under £30. At around 8pm, I picked up Ms B at […]

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Wild Wookey – Caving in Somerset

Last weekend Ms B & I treated ourselves to some caving at Wookey Hole in Somerset. The name ‘wookey’ is believed to come from the Celtic word ‘ogo’, which means ‘cave’. So ‘Wookey Hole Cave’ basically means ‘cave cave cave’. Playing it safe there. The famous limestone caverns have been used by humans for at least 45,000 years. The Romans used it as a burial ground, and besides human skeletons they found the bones of a woolly rhino and a cave lion. Nowadays the cave is used to mature cheddar cheese (funny enough not from Cheddar, ten miles down the road, but from Dorset). Britain’s first cave dives took place here in 1935, making it a place of pilgrimage for the caving community. A significant part of the cave system remains unexplored. Only 4km, including 25 chambers, have been charted so far. In 1927 the caves were opened as a […]

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