Take a winter walk on the warm side

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR PANEL OF TRAVEL EXPERTS

My husband and I spent the summer walking in Northumberland, based in a comfortable cottage and we would like to do much the same in late winter but in warmer climes. We seek modest, self-catering apartments, which aren't in a remote location or in a holiday complex. Can you suggest places that are not totally given over to the tourist industry and with guaranteed temperatures of around 70F?

Jean Marsh

Kent

The Travel Editor replies: The problem with the nearest option - the northern Mediterranean - is the unpredictability of the weather.

Some destinations are a much bigger risk than others, for example, Mallorca, a "winter" destination much pushed by tour operators, rarely reaches 70F, while the Costa Blanca enjoys higher temperatures, more sun and less rain.

Apart from the weather, established tourist destinations such as the Balearics, Sicily, Cyprus, Crete and Corfu offer plenty of scope for the independent traveller beyond the resorts. The island of Crete averages some of the best temperatures (but still more in the 60s than the 70s during the mid- winter months). Simply Crete (tel: 0181 995 9323) rents private villas around the island throughout the winter months at a cost of pounds 655 per person (one week during November) including hire car, return flights and accommodation with pool access.

Although the Canary Islands are synonymous with mass-market tourism, there is more to them than concrete resorts and this is one place where temperatures are guaranteed not to drop below a comfortable 70F. The sheltered south-coast location of Playa Blanca is one of the warmest, sunniest places in Lanzarote and prettier than the sprawling developments on the east coast. The northern resort of Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife has drawn wintering British tourists for the past 100 years with its whitewashed 19th-century buildings and cool courtyards.

Tenerife also enjoys slightly hotter temperatures (a winter average of around 75F) than Lanzarote. Both places have a profusion of self-catering accommodation, but for some authentic Spanish charm try Gomera, one of the smaller islands in the Canaries.

Traveller's Way (tel: 01527 836791) has rural properties for rent. One week in a house sleeping two just outside the town of Alajero in the south of the island costs pounds 230 (per property).

Private Villas Independent Holiday Magazine is a publication which lists private properties in all of the above destinations and some further afield. Price pounds 2.90, it is available from the larger high-street newsagents. Call for a copy of the magazine (tel: 0121 236 2111).

Take no

risks with

diseases

Are any vaccinations actually compulsory for travellers, or are they all merely advisable?

George Nikos

Hitchin

Dr Larry Goodyer replies: If travelling outside western Europe, the US and Australia, vaccinations will often be recommended. Yellow fever precaution is compulsory for parts of South America and Africa, but any one going where yellow fever is a risk should have it, even if no certificate is required for entry. Cholera vaccine is largely ineffective and no country officially requires an entry certificate.

Vaccinations most often advised, apart from up-to-date tetanus boosters, are hepatitis A and typhoid, both caused by contaminated food and water. Hepatitis B can be caught through sexual contact or hospital treatment, for example blood transfusion and injections. There is no vaccination against hepatitis C or AIDS, transmitted in similar ways.

For some places boosters of polio or diphtheria are recommended. Meningitis protection is advisory in several areas of Asia and Africa, and is a requirement for pilgrims to Mecca during Haj.

Rabies vaccination is worth considering, particularly if going off the beaten track. Nepal has a problem with rabies, vaccine being in short supply. Travellers to Asia may also consider protection against Japanese B encephalitis.

Tick Borne encephalitis is a possibility in forested areas of Scandinavia, but do seek the advice of the GP or vaccination centre to identify individual requirements.

Dr Larry Goodyer is the superintendent of the Nomad Pharmacy (3-4 Turnpike Lane, London N8; tel 0181-889 7014). Contact the travel medicine helpline on 0891 633414 (calls cost 50p per minute).

Simple ways to make a damp waterproof jacket dry up

Despite the fact that I wear a good-quality breathable waterproof jacket when trekking, I still get damp inside. Surely it can't be leaking?

Jane Rowe

Sandbach

Clive Tully replies: It is unlikely to be leaking. What is much more likely is that it is condensation. First and foremost, you have to be aware that even the best breathable waterproofs will still get damp on the inside in certain conditions, when they can't transport moisture vapour quickly enough. If the atmosphere is very damp, and you're working hard, yomping up the side of a hill, the chances are that you'll overload the fabric's capability of transporting the moisture vapour, so it ends up condensing on the inside of the jacket.

But it could also be the effect of wear and washing that is reducing the effectiveness of the water-repellent treatment on the facing fabric (the outside) of the garment. When new, any water landing on the facing fabric beads up and rolls off. After you've worn the jacket, and maybe washed it, this water-repellency is diminished. Any water hitting the jacket now will soak into the facing fabric as far as the waterproof coating or membrane. The jacket itself isn't leaking, but the fact that the facing fabric has become waterlogged will obviously influence the breathability of the garment.

The way round this is to wash the jacket in natural soap (definitely no biologicals or conditioners) and once dry, you can restore water-repellency to the facing fabric with a silicone spray obtainable from your local outdoors shop. In fact, with Gore-Tex, it is possible to restore water- repellency after the first couple of washes simply by running a cool iron over the outside of the jacket.

Last, but not least, don't wear a cotton garment next to your skin. Breathable waterproofs work best when the layers beneath are designed to cope with moisture transmission. Cotton simply soaks up sweat and feels horrible, so do yourself a favour and buy a decent- quality base layer made from Polartec 100, or some other synthetic knitted fabric designed to keep moisture away from the skin.

Clive Tully is one of Britain's leading commentators on clothing and equipment for walking, trekking and backpacking. He is editor of TrailWalk, an online magazine devoted to the subject. You can consult the TrailWalk website at http://www.trailwalk.com.

News
Howard Marks has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer, he has announced
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
Rowan Atkinson at the wheel of his McLaren F1 GTR sports car
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

    Old Royal Naval College: ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service / Sales Assistant

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This airport parking organisation are looking...

    Recruitment Genius: PCV Bus Drivers

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Do you enjoy bus driving and are looking for ...

    Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - York

    £18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - Y...

    Day In a Page

    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
    Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

    Diana Krall interview

    The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
    Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

    Pinstriped for action

    A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

    'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

    Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

    Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
    Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us