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A photograph taken from a grassy mountaintop in the Marche reveals a mist-filled valley and the remote village of Castellúccio.

Your Wildest Travel Story

Continuing our 40th anniversary celebrations, this month we want to hear your wildest travel story. Funny, exciting, romantic, we’re all ears. Win this competition and we’ll give you a copy of Wild Italy: A Traveller’s Guide by the intrepid hiker Tim Jepson.

We’d like to hear about a trip, an adventure, an incident that’s seared into your memory, that’s important in your life or just a damn good yarn. Did you get marooned in the Andes, ambushed by a wombat in Tasmania or simply lost in the New Forest? In some way or another it needs to be wild, but it’s up to you how you define that.

A bit on the wild side
In Wild Italy Tim Jepson tells how he ran into trouble in an area of the Marche which seemed to have been mapped ‘from ancient hearsay or surveys carried out on behalf of Mussolini’. You can get an idea of the terrain from this photograph taken from Monte Vettore overlooking Castellúccio, one of Italy’s highest and most remote villages.

‘Young, eager and chronically unhealthy, my friend and I had set off to see the Sibillini mountains in the south of the Marche. Plotting an easy course on the footpath with a thick red line, we struck off towards the hills, eager to avoid the roads and keen to pitch our tent before the advent of what promised to be a storm of biblical proportions. Panting in the muggy air, and mildly alarmed at my companion’s observation that he was sweating brown sweat – a medical first – I soon realized that if the marked path had ever existed, which seemed unlikely, it certainly did not now. 

‘Various tracks tempted us to follow them but after a while they would peter out, leaving us to stagger blindly after the next false trail. At any other time I would have marvelled at nature’s profusion, the densely packed trees, the wonderful thickness of the gorse bushes, the delicacy of the pink cyclamen pushing through the yellowing grass into which I was falling face first. Right then I was too busy cursing, bleeding and wheezing.’

To cap it all, the threatening storm broke just before Tim had his tent set up, guaranteeing a long damp evening spent nursing wounds and cursing map-makers.

‘Our reward,’ wrote Tim, ‘came the next day as we gazed down from the Sibillini peaks into the mist-filled valleys below. Such mountain-top views are rare in the Marche.’

The road less travelled by
In striking off into the unknown Tim learned some valuable lessons about trekking in the Italian mountains and earned a story to tell for years to come. In ‘The Road not Taken’, the American poet Robert Frost writes of the rewards that can flow from taking the unbeaten path.

‘I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.’

Tim Jepson’s Wild Italy is a guide-book that takes the road less travelled by as standard. Read it and we’ll be surprised if you’re not inspired to seek your next adventure.

Entering the Wildest Travel Story Competition
To enter, please download and print out the entry form below. It contains space for you to write up your wildest travel story as well as terms and conditions. When you’re done, please either scan the story and email it to ku.oc1712954051.sser1712954051pekar1712954051dlehs1712954051@sser1712954051p1712954051 or post it to:

Wildest Travel Story Competition
Sheldrake Press
188 Cavendish Road
SW12 0DA

If you’d rather not write on the entry form, please just type not more than about 500 words and email them to ku.oc1712954051.sser1712954051pekar1712954051dlehs1712954051@sser1712954051p1712954051.

Entries must be in by Wednesday 7th August 2019. Our guest judges will announce the winner on Friday 16th August 2019. They include Fergus Fleming, nephew of Ian Fleming and author of many highly regarded books of exploration and adventure, and Gavin Thurston, author of the forthcoming Journeys in the Wild: The Secret Life of a Cameraman.

The Wildest Travel Story Competition has closed. Thank you to all those who entered. We have passed their stories to the judges.


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