Tom Avery: My Life In Travel

'The Scottish Highlands in February is a real adventure playground'

Making sandcastles on the beach in Cornwall with my family. We used to go each summer, which was always fantastic.

Best holiday?

My last expedition; we were trying to determine the first person to reach the North Pole. An American explorer - Robert Peary - claimed to have got there first in 1909 in just 37 days. We recreated his journey, travelling along the same route using husky dogs and wooden sleds and got there in almost the same time, with just five hours to spare. That vindicated his claim. While we were there, we came across his old base camp, which nobody had found before. There were old fuel cans and sled runners, which gave us a real shot of adrenalin.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

The Scottish Highlands in February when they're covered in snow; it's a real adventure playground. Unfortunately, I don't get up there nearly as often as I'd like.

What have you learnt from your travels?

When I travel to polar regions, I always take an eye mask, because the 24-hour sunlight can make it difficult to sleep.

Ideal travelling companion?

When I travel it's mostly for expeditions. My last companions were a pack of Canadian Inuit dogs. There are less than 400 of them left in the world and they are amazing; loyal, strong and incredibly friendly. They really pushed themselves for us.

Greatest travel luxury?

A Leatherman pen knife, which has all sorts of gadgets on it. It's incredibly useful for fixing anything from skis to sleds, but can be a bit difficult to get through airports these days.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I'm probably an adrenalin junkie, because I'm not very good with culture and I don't like lying around on beaches. I have just been to Sardinia for some R&R, though, which was lovely.

Holiday reading?

I tend to read travel and expedition literature. I have just finished Thor Heyerdahl's The Kon-Tiki Expedition and I always take a Lonely Planet.

Where has seduced you?

Verbier in the Swiss Alps. I have skied a lot and Verbier has it all, from fantastic skiing to great nightlife; no other resort can offer such extensive skiing. Kyrgyzstan is also absolutely stunning. When I was there five years ago, we climbed nine mountains that nobody had scaled before, which was amazing.

Better to travel or arrive?

Arriving, definitely.

Worst travel experience?

Falling into the Arctic Ocean about 100 miles from the North Pole during my last expedition. Luckily, I only got my legs wet. It's strange because it feels warm at first, even though the water is -2C, but when you get out all your clothing freezes solid. You have to run around in circles and keep moving.

Worst holiday?

A French exchange when I was younger. I hated being sent off to live in a barn in the middle of nowhere, but it was very good for my French.

Worst hotel?

The Hotel Lenin in a town called Osh in Kyrgyzstan. It was a concrete block in the middle of nowhere. It was a post-communist horror story, with rats running around, leaking pipes and no hot water.

Best hotel?

The Capo d'Orso in Sardinia. It is in a spectacular setting right on the water's edge and they do amazing food. We were very spoiled there.

Favourite walk/swim/ ride/drive?

The Haute Route across the Alps. It's the big ski traverse from Chamonix to Zermatt. You cover 100 miles over six days, staying in huts.

Best meal abroad?

Anything Italian - especially antipasti, which is a winner every time.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

Get something to eat, because airline food is pretty ordinary - if you are lucky to get anything at all.

Dream trip?

I'd love to go heli-skiing in Alaska. Off-piste skiing in Europe is great, but it tends to get tracked out pretty quickly and you don't get the big snowfalls that you get in Alaska.

Favourite city?

La Paz in Bolivia. It's about 13,000 feet above sea level in the Andes and surrounded by spectacular icy peaks.

Where next?

To Iceland in August. I'll be spending four or five days dog sledding and exploring the ice cap.

Tom Avery will be speaking at Pioneers in the Park at the Belvedere Restaurant in Holland Park, London to celebrate the launch of Johnnie Walker Green Label whisky on 25 July; www.pioneersinthepark.com.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
News
i100(More than you think)
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Arts and Entertainment
John Hurt will voice Prince Bolkonsky in Radio 4's War and Peace
radioRadio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Sales Manager - Holiday Homes - £100,000 OTE

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + £100,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: Birmingham, Derby, L...

    Investigo: Finance Manager - Global Leisure Business

    £55000 - £65000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in their fiel...

    Investigo: Senior Finance Analyst - Global Leisure Business

    £45000 - £52000 per annum + bonus+bens : Investigo: My client, a global leader...

    Investigo: Financial reporting Accountant

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: One of the fastest growing g...

    Day In a Page

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
    Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

    Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

    Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

    The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
    Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

    When two worlds collide

    Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?