Solar eclipse (Journey Latin America)

BIG NEWS - the 8 biggest stories in adventure travel

4th October 2016

England's new mountain, a unique solar eclipse, Kenya's new elephant sanctuary and more... in our October round-up of Adventure Travel News. Plus, the latest new airline routes.

England’s New Mountain


England has a brand new mountain. Known as Calf Top (pictured, above), it’s situated near the market town of Sedbergh in a lesser-known part of the Yorkshire Dales in Cumbria.

The mountain isn’t the result of unexpected geological activity, a new peak bursting out of the ground. Nor has it ‘grown’. The change in height is simply a result of improvements to the GPS mapping system which means the height of a hill from ground level can be measured more accurately.

Calf Top has been elevated to mountain status with a new height of 2000.02ft by Ordnance Survey. The former hill is in the newly extended Yorkshire Dales National Park. For more info, see


Kenya's New Elephant Sanctuary


The Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy, located in northern Kenya, just opened the first community-owned and community-managed elephant orphanage in Africa. The Reteti Elephant Sanctuary is located in the remote Mathews Range and will be taking in orphaned elephant calves with the hope of releasing them back into the wild to one of the herds based near the sanctuary.

The number of illegally killed elephants in northern Kenya's community conservancies has fallen to 53 per cent since 2012, and it is estimated that between five to ten elephant calves are rescued each year.

The Kenya Wildlife Service and Samburu County Government have promoted and established the new sanctuary including full-training for the five keepers on the care, rehabilitation and releasing of elephant calves (pictured, above; David Lloyd). The sanctuary also focuses on community awareness and decreasing human-wildlife conflict. See 


New train station for Great Wall of China


Big news from China: the world’s largest and deepest high-speed railway station is set to be built at Badaling, the most commonly visited part of the Great Wall of China (pictured, above; Dreamstime).

A travel classic and frequent Bucket List entry, the Great Wall already attracts up to 30,000 visitors per day; the crowds are likely to be swollen further with the arrival of the new train, which is part of the country’s preparations ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The new station, which stretches across 36,000 square metres, is located around 50 miles northwest from Beijing, and will become part of the rail network (the largest high speed train network in the world) that connects the Chinese capital and Zhangjiakou, the city in the country’s northwest where the 2022 Winter Olympics will be held.


One-Off Solar Eclipse


Time to start planning a Patagonian adventure? As well as next year marking the 40th anniversary of Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia, the region is also the place to be for a one-off solar eclipse (pictured, above).

A summer’s morning on February 26, 2017, will return temporarily to night on February 26, 2017, as an annular solar eclipse darkens the skies above Patagonia. The natural phenomenon will be seen to varying degrees across the southern half of South America but it is in Chilean Patagonia where the totality of the eclipse can be seen, with Coyhaique, in remote Aysen, recommended as the place to be. Journey Latin America are offering special tours to take in the unique annular eclipse, as well as exploring Santiago, Torres del Paine National Park and Atacama


Jurassic England


150 million years in the making, a new multi-million pound museum is set to open in October in Kimmeridge, Dorset, housing a collection of Jurassic Coast fossils. Internationally renowned for the abundance of fossils on its shores, the Jurassic Coast is England’s only natural World Heritage Site.

The Etches Collection museum will showcase the life’s work of local collector Steve Etches (a plumber by trade), whose fossils, collected over 30 years, will tell the story of the life and death under the seas of Kimmeridge over 150 million years ago. 2,000 samples in the collection include fossils of everything from crocodiles and sharks to barnacles and flying reptiles as well as corals, shells, insects, crustaceans and dinosaurs.

The state-of-the-art space will also include an exhibition gallery, with CGI projections that transform it into an aquarium. See


USA's African American Museum


Not quite 150 million years in the making, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) has been in the works for several decades. It finally came to fruition this September, with Barack Obama leading the official opening ceremony of the Smithsonian Institute’s new museum on the National Mall in Washington DC.

The museum (pictured, above) was designed by British architect David Adjaye, who’s previously designed homes for the likes of Ewan McGregor and Alexander McQueen. The 400,000-square-foot building has five levels above ground and four below, with 11 inaugural exhibitions focusing on themes of history, culture and community, and more than 34,000 artifacts, including a segregation-era Southern Railway car, Nat Turner’s Bible, Michael Jackson’s fedora and a slave cabin from Edisto Island.

With the #BlackLivesMatter gathering force and race issues dominating the news, and the upcoming US election, it’s a timely opening. See


Estonia’s First National Museum


It’s all about the museums this month… The grand opening has just taken place for the Estonian National Museum (pictured, above) in Tartu, Estonia. The country’s first national museum is built on the edge of Tartu on an abandoned Soviet airfield, and was designed by Paris-based architecture firm DGT. It’s the largest project ever undertaken by Estonia, both in financial and spatial terms.

There are two permanent exhibitions: one on Estonian culture, history and traditions, the other on the Finno-Ugric peoples and Estonia’s minorities. There’s also a comprehensive display of traditional Estonian national costumes from all regions. See


Back to Yosemite


Spring 2017 will see the re-opening of the famous Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park. Mariposa Grove is the largest grove of Sequoias in the park and houses some of the tallest trees in the world.

The grove has been fully closed since 2015 for a restoration project. When it reopens, there’ll be a newly improved information station, with many of the roads turned into hiking trails, and over half a mile of new accessible trails and boardwalks. It could well have a wilder feel, too, as the gift shop and tram tours have been removed. See


Airline News (In Brief)

British Airways are set to launch a new direct route from London Gatwick to Cape Town from November 24, with three services per week. 

Virgin Atlantic (pictured, below) have a new daily direct service from London Heathrow to Seattle, launching March 26, 2017.


WOW Air, Iceland’s low cost airline, have announced a new route from London Gatwick to Miami in the US, via Reykjavik, starting in April 2017, with three services planned per week.

American Airlines are launching new direct seasonal flights between Chicago O'Hare Airport and Barcelona El Prat Airport, beginning May 6, 2017 until September 30, 2017. 

Norwegian Airlines are launching a new low cost service from London Gatwick to Las Vegas, opening up Sin City and surrounding National Parks, including the Grand Canyon, from October 31, 2016.

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