Lucy: I've just returned from a fantastic week assisting Andy Charlton of Adventure Expeditions: Duke of Edinburgh's award expedition experts. Alongside their excellent UK based journeys, they also provide a number of bespoke European Gold expeditions including an adventurous and frankly, stunning journey through the Tatra mountains of Slovakia.
Initially, we based ourselves on the Polish side of the border in the bustling town of Zakopane for acclimatisation and last minute equipment and food purchases. Once underway, we quickly crossed the border in to Slovakia. The first day we explored the eastern fringes of the White, or Belianske Tatry. With quiet farms and meadows, this was a big contrast to the noisy tourism of the Polish side.
For the following three days, we crossed the White Tatra, and headed deep in to the High Tatra, or Vysoke Tatry, journeying from hut to hut and crossing remote mountain cols. We met a few fellow travellers, and almost as many chamois and marmots. We saw no sign of the reported bears and wolves.
This was was my first time in this wild and exciting mountain range. The nearest comparison I can come up with, is that it is like a huge pumped up Cuillin Ridge, with dark and jagged ridges towering over remote lakes and corries. The terrain is complex and steep, but the paths we used are well maintained, making this a great place for a very special DofE Gold exped.