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What a great week in Tuscany exploring the Apuane and Appenine Alps. This really is a wonderful area of deep beech and chestnut forests and rocky ridges of limestone.

I love the autumn season as the trees are heavy under the weight of fruit and nuts. The chestnut trees offer up sweet chestnuts for eating and also for the production of chestnut flour. The walnut trees are dropping nuts all over the fields and roads and the nuts can just be scooped up as you walk. The fig trees are ripening by the day in the autumn sun - still a very nice 25 degrees - and eaten soft and green are just delicious. Then there are the pear trees and apple trees with fruit rich for the picking! A true basket of plenty provided by the Tuscan countryside.

We have just put our dates on the website or summer 2012 in Tuscany. If you want a truly relaxing mountain holiday with excellent cooking and a pool for the end of the day, then Lavacchio is the place to be either early summer or in the autumn. Mid-summer it is generally too hot for walking, so we prefer to visit earlier and later in the season. The mountains then are so quiet and we really do always seem to get the landscape virtually to ourselves!

Has anyone hiked in any other regions of Italy? And if so what was it like? Also would anyone be interested in a trip in Tuscany involving a few nights in one of the rifugios? Do get in touch if you fancy this kind of trip. Lindsay

10 Awards we give "Just a bit more" Jules....

1. Best Urban Guide - "Let me check on that...and that...and that..."

2. Best Ice Cream Sleuth - "Of course we have to have ice cream!"

3. Best Option Giver - "we could do this...or this...or this...."

4. Best Encourager - "come on team! You can do it! Only 12,000 metres of climbing left!"

5. Best Rest Break Monitor - "Five more minutes!"

6. Best Pacesetter - "We'll just take it slow"

7. Best Tim-handler - "yes Tim" " No Tim", "that's right Tim", "oh, Tim", "whatever you say Tim"

8. Beset Mountain Encyclopedia - " Let me tell you about ...marmots, flowers, pine cones, mountain peaks, glaciers, hut locations, cows, cheese making, trail running, off piste skiing, on piste skiing,. Scotland, Africa, Frenchies, Everest, Pantomimes, Swiss history and culture, British-speak, trees, hut etiquette, etc

9. Best Trail Angel - "step on the anchor rock! No problem, you can make it down" "No problem, my shoes dry quickly", "Just step over this electric fence while I hold it down for you". "Here let me take your poles" etc etc

10. Best Guide Ever !!!

Just a few "awards" to our great Jules, from her recent team on the Tour du Mont Blanc. Well done! Lindsay

A HAT TRICK! Lizzy Hawker won the women's 2011 Mont Blanc Ultra Trail for the 3rd time. An amazing run completing the course 13th overall in 25h02mins. Huge congratulations to her - what an acheivement. If you would like the chance to run with Lizzy gaining expert advice from a very humble approach come and join us on our trail running camp next summer and perhaps enter the 10k, half marathon or full marathon in the same week. We are also looking to get a mini Ultra Trail team together for 2012 aswell - we can offer bespoke or organised weekends to practice trail courses for those interested. Please get in touch for further details. What's going to be your next challenge?

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