I have taken part in treks abroad to raise funds for The National Council for the Blind of Ireland since 1993 when The Terracotta Ramblers of which I am a founding member were first instigated.
All the wonderful sights, adventures challenges which I experienced on these treks have greatly influenced my outlook on life and have definitely added colour to my work as an artist. I continue to hill walk in Ireland and generally keep fit in order to be able to undertake such challenges.
The NCBI have been the charity of my choice as I feel that as an artist, I owe so much for my own sight that this is a way of giving something in return. I think that I have inherited a wandering gene as well, as, prior to all the trekking listed above, I have lived in many countries since early childhood.
Born in Malta, I then lived in Asmara, Eritrea, Libya and continued education in Malta and England. I then lived in Benghazi, Libya and after my marriage to Don Crowley of Galway, we lived in Malta, Gibraltar, Sierra Leone, Cameroon and Galway where we have lived since 1970.
- Hanoi: Tay Phong Pagoda to Thay Pagoda
- Rice Fields
- Sapa: Trek down Sapavalley to Sinchai village. Extremely muddy conditions from constant rain with extremely slippery slopes. Hills, streams, rice fields and contact with hill tribes. Sleeping in long houses above the locals.
- Ha Long Bay
- Cat ba Island- trek through tropical forests
- Saigon: Trek though outskirsts of Viet Cong territory and crawl through their tunnels.
- Flew from Lima to Cuzco (altitude 3,300m)
- Cuzco- walk to Sacsayhuamna Inca fortress
- Chinchero, market town
- Urubamba town and river
- Train to “104km” stop. Climb trail to Winya Wanya. Traverse through Cloud Forest to emerge at The Gate of The Sun for 1st view of Macchu Picchu (2,430m) from high above the city. Walk down the “Royal Road” track to Macchu Picchu
- Stay at Agua Caliente, Casa Macocha and hike around the lake into the valley. Camp in tents. Llamas carry our packs.
- Sierro Yayamari, 5,450m. Camp in tents. Freezing at night.
- Return to Cuzco and on to Lima.
1999 Thailand (N. Thailand, Changmai to The Golden Triangle.)
- Flight to Bangkok. Onward to N. Thailand. After a blessing ceremony from Buddhist monks at start of trek:
- Doi Suthep National Park along narrow jungle trail uphill.
- Doi Inthanon- Thailand's highest peak. Through great jungle forest. Waterfall Vachratarn”
- Hmong Hill tribe lodge. Trek jungle trail,mountain slops, rice fields and over single log bridges.
- Golden Triangle at Ban Boran. Maekong Riverwhere 3 borders meet, Thailand, Laos and Mynamar. Climb to hilltop overlooking golden triangle
- Chiang- Saen valley through plantationson undulating terrain, wide dirt trails.
- Burmese border delinenated by Ruark River. Reach Mae Sai town.
- Phuket Island : Trek to Ton Sai Waterfall, Kata Beach to Naiharn Coast. Trek in rubber plantations
- Nairobi to Arusha 8- 10 hrs by bus.
- Arusha, Tanzania to Marangu in foorthills of Kilimanjaro (4,500ft)
- To Machame Gate with guides and Porters
- Forest walk, wet and muddy. Machame Huts at (3,000m)camp
- Shira Huts from rain forest to steep ridge and moorland, (3,840m)
- Baranco Huts to Barafu Hut (4,600)m
- Uhuru Peak (5,895m)
- Return to Marangu, Arusha and Mombasa, Kenya.
The above was group schedule but, suffering from dehydration and altitude sickness, I had to turn back before Baranco Hut with a guide but used the time back at Marangu sketching and trekking in the off track bush with my guide.
- Kathmandu (1,360m)
- Lapatha. Annapurna Trek starts at Pokhara at Tibetan Refugee camp.
- Fine panoramic views of Annapurna, 10th highest mt. In the world. Steady ascent, passing villages and terraced fields. Camping in tents, Sherpa porters. Gurkha villages. Forest, Oak, bamboo and rhododenron.
- Bardahara, Siklis, Laamokhet, Thulokhote and finnally descent to Trisuli River Camp.
- Rafting down Trisuli River Rapids.
- Gaida wildlife camp, tiger tracks on elephant safari.
- Return to Kathmandu.
- Salt Lake City; Trek in Capitol Reef; Cohab Canyon Trail; Calf Creek,
- Bryce Canyon trek
- Navajo Loop Trails
- Kodachrone Basin State Park. Big Bear Geyser Trail, Camp.
- Cedar Mtn. Cedar Breaks trail.; Virgin river Rim to Cascade Falls.
- Grand Canyon Trek along Rim
- Johnson Canyon Camp
- Buckskin/ paria trek
- Trek west bank of Virgin R. Zion National Park.
- Snow Canyon Trek.
- Sao Paula to Iguassu
- Santa Terezinha Walk, the Macuco trail (home of Jaguars, puma, snakes and lizards)
- Iguassu Falls walking tour of falls and crossing over to Argentina and Itapi Dam and Paraguayan border.
- Manaus, Amazonia.
- Ariau Jungle floating tower camp. Monkeys, alligators,piranhas, anacondas etc..
- Rainforest walks, Traveled on Amazon river by boat, Rio Negro in canoes. Native Caxiri Tribe Indian settlements
- Rio de Janeiro. Trek around Ilha do Martin Island. Climb up the mountain to the Statue of Christ the Landmark.
- 200km walk on the Great Wall of China. A rugged and challenging walk on the Great Wall, often scaling steep and crumbling ruined sections of the wall. Special permission had to be granted to make this challenge. It was granted provided we were accompanied by Chinese official guides and doctor. Wall walks included Mutianyu, Eastern Section and Western Section, Jinshan Line to Simatai. Badaling to Juyongguan.
- Summer Palace Walk at Chengde
- Bangoui Peak and Hammer Rock Walk.
- A walk in Xian the Terracotta Warriors town from which the Terracotta Ramblers first got their name.
2002 New Zealand
- Training in River- crossing at Mt. White Bridge (Broken River)
- Trek to Hamilton Peak- sleep in lodge.
- Additional 5 day trek ; Carrington Hut – Harmann Pass
- Morpeth Hut – White Horn Pass (derelict glacier)
- Harnon Hut – Browning Pass.
- Grassy Flats Hut- Styx Pass
- Fox Glacier- crampons and ice picks climb.
2003 Chile /Argentina – Patagonia
- Started in Chile at Rancagua walking along a wine route.
- Central Andes and Huaso Valleys1,400m
- On to Puerto Varas, Argentina.
- Climbed the Calbuco Volcano to 1,150m
- Osorno Volcano – achieved 1200m
- Bariloche – The Philosopher's Walk to 1,300m
- Los Andes de Patagonia 1,800m
- Granite Spires of Patagonia 1,700m
- Balcony over Nahuel Huapi 1700m.
2004 Malaysia and Borneo
- Subtropical 26- 30 deg C . Average Rainfall 250/300cm . Humidity75/85deg
- From Kuala Lumpur to Malacca by Coach. Walked around Malacca, historic Portugese/ Dutch settlemt. Flew to Kota Kinabalu, Borneo.
- Trek in Kinarut Jungle(home of Macaque monkeys”,across ridges and over hills.
- Trek in Gaya Coral Island Jungle, home of Monitor lizards, sea eagles and rainforest.
- Main trek to Mount Kinabalu
- Climb Mount Kinabalu to Lowe's Peak at 3,480m, “The Roof of S.E. Asia”
- Trek in Sandakan and Sepilok. High humidity and attacked by leeches.Saw 16 wild orangutans.
- Borneo Jungle Trek.Saw human skulls in village long- house from ancient head hunters, dense greenery, snakes and rubber trees.
- Barlioche, Patagonia and The Philosopher's Trail. Cabin Berghoff at 1,200m
- Mount Challhuco, Nirihuau Valley 900m > “The Pass of the Lost People 1,300m. Camp at 2,000.
- Lake Jacob below Devil's Horn Mountain. Camp at 1,600m
- The Tempanos Lagoon (IcebergLagoon) 1,850m, scrambling along rocks and walking on snow.
- Mount Tronador. Climb switchbacks along ridge 1,500m and start trekking on snow to peaks of mountain. Meiling Cabin 2,000m surrounded by snow and glaciers. Highest cabin in Patagonian Andes.
- “La Motte” Ridge 2,300m. Condors. Descend towards Pampa Linda.
- Fly Beijing to Lhasa. (Lhasa 3,650)
- Altitude acclimatization in Lhasa.
- Walk to Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple at 3,800m.
- Pilgrim circuitsalt 3,650m
- Sera Monastery at 4,000m
- Transfer to Yangpachen valley and trek to hot springs. Pitch tents. 4,200m.
- Trek to Nunnery at altitudes to 4,700m
- Trek to Ganden Monasterystraddling high grassy ridge of Gokpo Ri above Kiichu River valley.
- Transfer by bus to Yamdroksto Lake altitude 4,500 meters.
- Return Lhasa
- Fly to Chendu and on to Shanghai
- Circuit of old city of Shanghai.
2007 S. Africa*
- Fly to Cape Town.
- Table Mountain Pipe Trek starting from Kloof Nek
- Lion's Head via Kloof Nek and Signal Hill
- Constantia Nek – Rhodes Memorial
- Camps Bay
- Boulders – Penguins
- Simons Town- Cape of Good Hope and Nature Preserve
- Botanical Gardens
- Stellenbosch,, Somerset West Helderberg Nature reserve
2008 Tierra del Fuego and Antarctica
- Flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia.
- Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, is southernmost city in the World.
- 9 days delay in Ushuaia waiting to set off for Antarctica due to technical navigational difficultied were occupied with daily treks during the day and returning to docked russian ice-breaker at night. Treks in National Park
- Cerro Castor
- Glacier Martial
- Around Ushuaia
- Sailing from Ushuaia along Beagle Channel
- Crossing the dreaded Drakes passage in very rough seas
- Sighting King George V Is, S. Shetland Islands, and arriving there to drop off a scientific expedition from China.
- Arriving at Antarctic Peninsula and making daily wet landings from inflatable zodiacs.
- Discovery and Aitcho Bays
- Pleanau Island and Port Lockry, an old British Whaling Station.
- A Swim on Deception Island
- Gerlache Strait, Paradise Bay, Andvoord Bay
- Lemaire Channel
- A visual feast of Icebergs, Glaciers that broke off in huge chunks to make large splashes into the sea, a pod of killer whales that circled beside and under my zodiac with heart stopping proximity. Seals, penguins, and flying birds in an awesome land of danger and compelling beauty.
2010 Poland for NCBRI
- Travel to Zakopane from Krakow.Depart for mountains.
- From valley Chocholowska through Valley Starej Roboty, Siwa Przelecz and Ornak to Valley Koscielska.
- Walk through Valley Tomanowa to Ciemniak and then by Krzesanica, Mololaczniak, Kopa Kondraka Przelecz to Valley Kondratowa.
- To Kasprowy, Wierch, Beskid, Swinicka Prezlecz to Hala Gasienicowa and finish in Kuznice.
- Bus from Kuznice to Zakopane.
- Zakopane to Krakow by bus. Walk around old city of Krakow.
- Salt Mines.
2011 Tyrol, Austria
- A walking and cycling challenge in Wessendorf.
- Wessendorf Circuit and walk down Hohe Salve Mt to Wessendorf
- Holzham and Au and on to Hopfgarten. Up to Hehe Salve.
- Summit \Hike Gamepenkogel, hike down to Kreuzjochisse and kobingerhutte and down to Gampenkogel.
- Mountains, pastures and waterfalls and lakes trails.
Mongolia- Siberia- Russia 2013
- Flew via Turkey and Kyrgystan to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
- Toured Ulaanbaatar and its environs. Visited Christina Noble Orphanage.
- Travelled to Gorkhi Terelj Natioanl Park where we camped in Gers (Round tents/yurts).
- Hiked in the hills amongst Yaks and Mongolian Ponies. Visited Nomadic camps, Monastery and Historical Sites. Turtle Rock and 100 Monks Rock.
- Train from Ulaanbaatar, across Mongolian Steppe to Russia.
- Arrival In Irkutsk. Hike around historical sites. Transferred to Lake Baikal.
- Crossed Lake Baikal – the deepest lake in the world. Hiked in Lake environ.
- Trans- Siberian Railway from Irkutsk to Moscow,
- Walked around Kremlin and many historical sites
- Train to St Petersburg ; walked around Hermitage and many historical sites.