What we're about

We are BACKABUSH XPLORERS, much copied but still the original and best hiking and outdoor activity Meetup group!!!

Who are we and how did it all begin?

Backabush Xplorers is London's longest established hiking and outdoor adventure Meetup group. Our group was originally created back in 2002 (actually before we were on Meetup) by a multinational group of friends who loved hiking and wanted to get more out of our weekends and holidays. We wanted to share our heartfelt passion for the great outdoors and enthusiasm with others. For some years Backabush was an informal, unincorporated association managed by the founders for the benefit of its members.

Our group grew rapidly in those early years and in 2008, following legal advice we decided it would be wise and prudent to become a registered company to protect our organisers and our members. Following this review and the formation of the limited company, our members can now pursue their legitimate activities and aims with complete peace of mind.

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Why do we do it?

We love the outdoors! The primary motivation is fun (not profit) which means that our trips offer exceptional value for money. We continue as a group with the same ethos of organising events and trips for the benefit of our members. This is what we love and we are passionate about what we do. We will always endeavour to be budget conscious and price our activities only to cover necessary expenses.

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What do we do?

Over the years we have hiked and explored the National Parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty in Britain and abroad. It may all have started years ago with a few hiking friends gathering for a weekend in a scruffy camping barn somewhere rural and pretty but it has developed a lot from there.

Backabush has been hiking and enjoying outdoor adventure for well over a decade now and over this time we have organised literally hundreds of hiking trips throughout Great Britain. We have enjoyed visits to the Lake District, Snowdonia, Scotland, the Brecon Beacons, the Pembrokeshire Coast, Cornwall, the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales, Dartmoor, Exmoor, the Lincolnshire Wolds, the Cambrian mountains, the Wye Valley, the Forest of Dean, the North York Moors, the New Forest, the South Downs, the Malvern Hills, the Shropshire Hills, the South Downs, the Cotswolds, the Chiltern Hills, the Jurassic Coast, the Gower Peninsula, the Pennines, the Isle of Skye, Loch Ness, Ben Nevis, Glen Coe, the Isle of Arran, Glen Shiel, Torridon etc, etc, etc.

National trails and long distance paths in Britain are another favourite of ours and to date we have completed the full length of Hadrian's Wall Path, the West Highland Way, the Cumbria Way, the Herriot Way and Wainwright's Coast to Coast. Although we have yet to complete the full length of many we have also enjoyed hiking sections of the Cotswold Way, Pennine Way, Offa's Dyke Path, Limestone Way, Allerdale Ramble, South West Coast Path, Great Glen Way, Monsal Trail, South Downs Way, Ridgeway, Thames Path and many, many others.

We were also trailblazers when it came to offering exciting outdoor adventures overseas. Back in 2009 we organised our very first foreign trip when we headed down into Africa to climb Mt Toubkal, the highest summit in Morocco. Next we trekked in Nepal, climbing over a 5000+ metre pass linking the Langtang and Helambu valleys. Since these early treks we went on to organise things like via ferrata holidays in the Italian Dolomites, or hiking trips to the French Alps and Jura mountains. We also love 'hut to hut' trekking and have so far completed every step of the Tour du Mt Blanc, summited Monte Perdido in the Ordessa National Park and trekked for days in the French Pyrenees to reach the awe inspiring Cirque de Gavarnie. More recently we even organised trips to Slovakia to seek out winter snowshoeing in the High Tatras and gorge scrambling in the Paradise National Park.

There are many other adventures we could mention. No other Meetup group offers adventure like this!

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How do the logistics work?

We know our members are busy people so we do our best to provide a complete package for you. Backabush will research the locations, the hikes, book the accommodation and make a plan for all the meals. If you do not own a car we will help you to find transport or a lift share. You just need to communicate with the organiser who will help to co-ordinate things with you.

With a little co-operation from our members it all works very well and allows us to keep offering new locations and new hikes, year after year. Although we might return to some amazing National Parks quite regularly we always endeavour to find new venues and plan entirely new hikes. If you check out our past events you will see that we offer unrivalled variety in the locations we visit.

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What are the hikes like?

On every Backabush trip we try to provide a choice of hikes each day. Obviously we will choose from the most beautiful and best loved hikes in any given area. These hikes tend to be of various length, duration and difficulty. The idea is that each person can choose the hike that best suits their fitness, experience and interests.

It is true that Backabush has a reputation within the Meetup community for offering longer and more challenging hikes but we always also offer more moderate options for those seeking a more relaxed day outdoors. Generally speaking we would say that anyone who can hike for 10 miles in hilly terrain should be fine on our trips. If you have any concerns please don't hesitate to contact us to ask questions.

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What about safety?

Safety is always our number one priority. Although we can never make the outdoor environment entirely safe there are many steps that can be taken to minimise risk. Our team of outdoor activity leaders have many, many years of leadership experience and have received extensive outdoor training. Between all of our leaders we have years of military experience, ambulance work or mountain guiding.

Our principal leadership team are Mountain Leader trained at Plas-y-Brenin (the National Mountain Sports Centre) in North Wales and Winter Skills trained at Glenmore Lodge in Scotland. We regularly update our first aid qualifications and carry the required emergency aid equipment for wilderness situations. Some of us have taught or assisted on micro-navigation training courses and all have excellent route finding skills regardless of visibility or weather.

Additional our experience extends to high altitude mountaineering in several continents, be it summiting 6000+ metre peaks in the Andes, conquering the highest mountains in Africa or completing month long high altitude treks in the Himalayas.

We take our 'duty of care' of very seriously and are trained to deal with outdoor emergencies. Sometimes we hire in specific skills as necessary in the form of fully qualified instructors for things like rock climbing, caving, coasteering, kayaking, horse riding, ghyll scrambling or technical mountaineering. For some foreign trips we will either provide logistical support for safe self guided mountain trekking or hire International Mountain Leaders as deemed necessary.

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Who joins our trips?

Although most people in the group are in their 20s, 30s and 40s age is not an issue to us - a fun loving and adventurous nature is more important. It is not uncommon to have over a dozen different nationalities represented in a single gathering.

Our groups of hikers and outdoor adventurers vary in size but on every trip some people will be regulars and some first timers. Its a great way to make new hiking friends and you need not worry about coming alone as you will always be made to feel welcome.

What we all have in common is a love of all kinds of outdoor activity including hiking, trekking, hill walking, mountaineering, scrambling, camping, canoeing, canyoning, kayaking, rock climbing, scuba diving, caving, coasteering, mountain biking and just about anything else that offers some outdoor adventure.

We are a very active bunch!

We hope YOU will join us sometime soon.

Positive vibes! :D

The Backabush Crew & Hiking Team

Contact Geoff & Etiennette

backabushxplorers@yahoo.com

etiennette123@yahoo.com

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Upcoming events (4)

OCTOBER 25 - 27 - CAMBRIAN MOUNTAINS, WALES

Neuadd Arms Hotel

£182.00

OCTOBER 25 - 27 - CAMBRIAN MOUNTAINS, WALES Neuadd Arms Hotel. This Victorian Grade II listed hotel is set at the heart of Britain's smallest town surrounded by beautiful hiking country. The hotel even has its own award winning brewery! Number of beds - 33. Number of nights - 2. Cost - £182 per person in twin share or double occupancy room. The Cambrian Mountains region is one of Wales' best kept secret. Its colourful and varied landscapes are ideal for outdoor enthusiasts. We will explore the rugged mountains and hills, dotted with forests, lakes, rivers and waterfalls. Our accommodation is provided in a family run hotel which has stood in the center of Llanwrtyd Wells for over 130 years. Its 19th century character, complete with open log fires, has been preserved in the lounge and public bars. The hotel even has its own brewery producing delicious regular and seasonal ales. Come enjoy this most beautiful and unspoilt landscape with us! :D Price includes: 2 nights hotel accommodation in twin share rooms (double room for couples). Private rooms available too. Single supplement applies. 2 cooked breakfasts 2 packed lunches 2 delicious home cooked dinners A choice of guided hikes by trained Mountain Leaders (http://www.mlte.org/content.php?nID=29) (MLTE) and qualified first aiders Financial protection in accordance with the Package Travel Law 1992 Amazing value!!! :D Price does NOT include: Transport expenses Single supplement To confirm your place on this trip please use internet banking. The account details are: Account Name: BACKABUSH XPLORERS Sort Code:[masked] Account Number:[masked] IMPORTANT NOTE: We consider safety to be our number one priority and while we never take unnecessary risks, we do recognise that any outdoor activity involves a danger of personal injury or death. Remember that you should be aware of and accept these risks as you are responsible for your own safety and you should not undertake anything beyond your abilities. It is also your responsibility to be correctly equipped for the weather and activity you have chosen to participate in. We recommend that everyone participating in outdoor activities obtain appropriate insurance. The BMC offer excellent policies for all outdoor enthusiasts at very competitive rates: https://www.thebmc.co.uk/modules/insurance/Landing.aspx

FEBRUARY 8 - 15 - LA PALMA, "THE BEAUTIFUL ISLAND"

La Palma Airport

£549.00

Join us in La Palma for an amazing hiking holiday and winter break! La Palma is often referred to as the 'Green Island' or 'Beautiful Island' because of it's fabulous scenery and unspoiled nature. This gorgeous isle in the Atlantic belongs to Spain and is the most tranquil, verdant and suited to hiking within the Canary Island group. Being close to the African mainland it enjoys a wonderful winter climate and is something of a lost paradise. The vegetation is flamboyant, the mountains are high, the beaches uncrowded and the sea is a vivid blue. The island is also known for being the steepest island in world (based on height to surface area) and benefits from over 1000km of waymarket paths while still remaining virtually untouched by tourism. No wonder some commentators have identified La Palma as the prototype for Atlantis! For an unforgettable hiking holiday we will base ourselves in a superb 4 star hotel right near the beach while also being close to the island's charming capital, Santa Cruz. Our location is perfect for accessing the very best hiking trails and also enjoying the fun of being a short journey from the vibrant bars of the main town on the island. Naturally our modern accommodation offers all the comforts you would expect like free Wi-Fi, private en-site bathrooms, 3 adult swimming pools (one heated in winter) and large, bright rooms. Other amenities include a vibrant restaurant where breakfast and other meals are served plus we will be located on the seafront, only 300 metres from the well-known Playa de los Cancajos. The hotel is recently renovated, highlights include its comfortable rooms, pools and terraces with spectacular views of the sea and its varied cuisine with typical products of the Canary Islands. La Palma is considered to be the "hikers island" of the Canaries as it offers an abundance of superb walking options and the networks of trails are endless. We could keep busy exploring for many, many weeks if only we had the time! This trip does not involve technical mountaineering but the hikes on the island can be quite challenging so you need to have a good level of hiking fitness. A head for heights is also necessary in the mountainous terrain. WHAT IS INCLUDED: 7 nights accommodation (twin rooms) in a 4-star hotel on the seafront. All breakfasts and dinners. Two trip leaders. Swimming pools. Wifi connection. Financial protection in accordance with the Package Travel Law 1992. WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED: Single supplement £170 extra if you require a private room. Packed lunches. Transport on the island. Cars can be hired very cheaply and costs can be shared. Flights. The meeting point is at Santa Cruz de la Palma Airport on Saturday 8 February. We will return to the airport on Saturday 15 February. Our recommended flights: • OUTBOUND - Saturday 8 February easyJet flight EZY8711 Departs - 07:35 London Gatwick Arrives - 12:00 La Palma • INBOUND - Saturday 15 February easyJet flight EZY8712 Departs - 12:45 La Palma Arrives - 17:05 London Gatwick Flights are currently less than £71 return so it is best to book early! To confirm your place on this trip use internet banking. The account details are: Account Name: BACKABUSH XPLORERS Sort Code:[masked] Account Number:[masked] Only payment secures your place. Your RSVP is not sufficient for us to hold a place for you. Please email [masked] as soon as you send payment so that we can confirm everything with you. Thanks. :) This trip is recommended for reasonably fit hikers with some previous mountain walking experience.

Horse riding in the Rodopi Mountains: Bulgaria

Sofia

£275.00

There is a mountain in Bulgaria like no other – Rodopi! An ancient mountain surrounded by ancient legends. Dark forests and bright meadows, deep gorges and spacious views, stone villages scattered on its slopes and cattle grazing on its pastures. We will experience the northern part of the Rodopi Mountains on horseback, with all rides starting from the village of Galabovo, just 20 minutes drive from Plovdiv. Three days of a complete union with the nature! Horses: Our horses are comparatively small at 14.1hh to 15.5hh and are locally bred Karakachan along with Arab crosses. They are strong, agile and used to hard work. Their stamina and agility are outstanding. They are also tough and extremely sure footed over rocky or even snow covered mountains. The horses are ridden in snaffle bits. Saddles: Western and English saddles are available. Saddle bags are provided. Itinerary: DAY 1 22 June - Saturday Arrival in Sofia and check into the hotel. You can then explore Sofia on your own or with the group. No meals included on this day but there are many great dining options in the city. DAY 2 23 June - Sunday. Transfer to Purvenets. Ride to Leshtensko - Bryanovshtitsa Hut. We head south-west, riding through meadows and beech forests with good stretches for trotting and cantering. We will make a stop in the Leshtensko area, enjoying the beautiful views on both sides of the trail. Overnight in Bryanovshtitsa hunting lodge. Rooms with shared facilities. Dinner included. Approximately 4 to 5 hours riding. DAY 3 24 June - Monday Bryanovshtitsa Hut - Hrabrino - Dedevo. Now the trail goes to the east, following some dirt roads. We reach the village of Hrabrino where we stop for lunch. Then we saddle up and make for the village of Dedevo, a small mountain village standing at 1050m above sea level. The night is spent in a bungalow with two rooms sharing WC/shower. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included. Approximately 5 hours riding. DAY 4 25 June - Tuesday Dedevo - Zdravets Hut - Purvenets - Sofia. This is the last riding day and it will take us back to the starting point of our trail. We ride along the crest of Chernatitsa (Black Mountain) Ridge, having our lunch close to Zdravets Hut. Then the trail descends to Purvenets village where we say farewell to our horses before heading back to Sofia/Plovdiv and the end of our tour. Breakfast and lunch included. Approximately 4 hours riding. If you are planning to fly on 25 June, please book your flight after 18.00 o’clock. It is recommended to extend your stay 1 night in Plovdiv and fly on Wednesday 26 June. See the recommended flight details below. Price: £275 per person. Price includes: One night hotel accommodation in centre of Sofia sharing a twin room. Single rooms are available for an extra £20 supplement. English speaking riding guide. Rental of saddled horses. One night in a bungalow and one night in a lodge. All meals listed on the itinerary. Luggage transport plus transfers from Sofia/Plovdiv and return transfer to Sofia/Plovdiv. Price does not include flights, personal expenses, insurance, drinks and meals not mentioned in the program. To confirm your place on this trip please use internet banking. The account details are: Account Name: BACKABUSH XPLORERS Sort Code:[masked] Account Number:[masked] Please email [masked] as soon as you make payment so that we can secure your accommodation and confirm everything with you. Thanks. :) Recommended flights: • OUTBOUND - Saturday 22 June Ryanair Departs - 06:10 London Stanstead Arrives - 11:20 Sofia • INBOUND - Tuesday 25 June Ryanair Departs - 21:55 Sofia Arrives - 23:05 London Stanstead

Past events (391)

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