Frontier Mixtape #25

Our intern Nancy has spent her Summer working with us in the office, you might have seen some of her articles around the place. She’s at uni so we thought she would be the perfect person to make you guys a Summer mixtape you can really get into…you’ll have to play it to find out whether that was a good idea or not.

To complain about or rejoice in the amount of post-dubstep in Nancy’s playlist you can comment below or on our Facebook. If you want to join our Online team then check out the jobs page to find out about our amazing internship.

Can’t believe she forgot this…the youth of today etc.

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What to pack – Nicki – Research & Development Intern

What’s your best travel experience?

Travelling gives you so many amazing memories it is hard to choose just one. But one of the most magnificent places I have ever visited has to be China. A world apart and relatively untraveled in comparison with a lot of Asia, I could go more than a week without seeing another person who spoke English, let alone another foreigner. The language barrier was really hard to overcome, but this made it all the more rewarding because by talking to the locals I discovered what beautiful and open people they were.

I spent three months zigzagging across the country, clocking up thousands of miles by every means including 24 hour train rides, buses with no speedometer whizzing round mountain bends at g-force speeds, playing the ‘how many people can you balance on a bike’ game and an all Chinese boat cruise down the river Yangtze. Although to some extent terrifying, the transport part provided some of the best opportunities for meeting people and getting a real glimpse of Chinese life.

Everything in China seems so ancient and spiritual. The architecture is so unique and colourful, the Great Wall goes on forever and the holy mountains are so huge and mystical that you half expect a dragon or two to come flying around the peaks. I didn’t believe it until I saw it but you really could have a picnic on the toenail of the Giant Buddha in Leshan.

Despite their turbulent history, people were always so friendly, and even with some of the huge differences in culture, I always felt incredibly welcome. You cannot go very far in China without seeing a toothy smile, smelling the roasting tea leaves, or being bombarded with ‘Gan bei’ (‘dry the cup’) from some enthusiastic locals before downing yet another Tsingtao.

What did you take?

With the language being so complex in comparison with our own and with intonation that can result in many a mix up, my phrasebook was my bible. ‘Ma’ is the word used when you are asking a question in Chinese, however, said in the wrong tone it can also mean mother, horse or hemp. After many embarrassing attempts I would often have to point to the word and hope that whoever I was talking to would get the general idea.

My silk sleep sack liner was also a godsend for those questionable sleeper trains. I once woke up to a man sitting grinning on my bed, having his morning shave!

What do you wish you had taken?

Although I packed pretty well, I do wish I had gone for a smaller backpack. There were many instances where there was no room for my bag in the luggage hold of a bus due to it being full of chickens or not having any doors. This meant a long and cosy ride on an already overcrowded bus with all my gear. Sardines come to mind.

The food in China was amazing. From centipedes on a stick to some blow-your-head-off spicy dishes. China is famous for its division in food regions with north being salty, south being sweet, east being sour and west being spicy. I wish now I had made an effort to note down all the amazing food and recipes I came across.

Oh and a lifetime supply of loo roll.

Which Frontier project would you like to visit?

In all honesty I would love to visit every one. But every time I hear about our Tanzania Wildlife Tracking and Community Adventure I go green with envy at some of the fabulous things they see and do.

What would you take there?

I have a really great pair of Hawke binoculars which would be top of my list to get a good look at some of the amazing African game out in the Savannah. From previous experience, I would take a huge jar of peanut butter to satisfy those cravings for something other than rice and beans!

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Frontier Style: Swimsuit Issue

With it being August it is only appropriate that Frontier Style comes back with some sizzling wardrobe suggestions. Feel cool in this summer’s sweltering heat with today’s feature on ethical swimwear. For the girls we recommend Fair + True Hava Fair Trade African Print Bikini. Besides its incredibly long name this African Print Bikini is a gorgeous two-piece that risks being perforated as eyes burn green with envy.

Fair + True is a new eco fashion line that is both fashion-forward and ethical, usually a hard combination to come by. Its innovative line features organic silks, jersey and fabrics made in the UK and fair trade groups in Africa. This week’s featured bikinis are made in Kenya under a Fair Trade scheme which supports the local communities there.

  As well as being wholly unique and original, these bikinis can be purchased for as little as £35, and girls you will definitely get your money’s worth as the top is designed to be worn four different ways. The Hava African print bikini has everything you’d want in swimwear; it’s flattering, trendy and doesn’t involve poor women working in sweatshops. So I ask you, what’s stopping you from buying one?

Boys don’t worry we have something for you too. Keep your swagger up to date (and no not the Cheryl Lloyd version) with Vilebrequin’s men’s swimwear. This will definitely attract all the right attention. Established in 1971 Vilebrequin continues to maintain the Saint Tropez spirit and lifestyle. The swimwear oozes luxury and elegance despite its vibrant array of colours and prints.

40 years ago the founding designer wanting to veer away from the traditional designs gave birth to a new and original style of freedom, expressed by the stand-out-of-the-crowd tones, and elegance, shown by the cut and quality of the material. The material is made of spinnaker canvas that dries at a faster rate than the usual fabrics. For those who think pink is the new butch, have a look at the practical, comfortable, colourful and yet masculine swimwear collection. Fanciful is the new pink.

By Nancy Bukasa

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Project Focus: Sri Lanka Experience

Touchdown at Colombo Airport marks the beginning of the Sri Lanka Experience. This project gives you the exceptional opportunity to visit some of those destinations off the beaten track, from Ambalangoda, a town on the coast of Southern Sri Lanka, to Uppurdi Beach.

In order to ensure that volunteers make the most of what this island has to offer, the project is split up into one-week segments. Each week gives the volunteer the chance to explore a different part of Sri Lanka. The first week introduces the volunteer the island, allowing them to truly immerse themselves in the surroundings. Volunteers can sample local produce and learn some important basic phrases they will need during their stay.

The following week gives them the option to volunteer in the community including assisting orphanage work or helping out at a woman’s shelter. As a volunteer this provides you with a feeling beyond those of a tourist that just comes to visit; you will understand the day-to-day events of life in the Sri Lankan communities, and have a positive impact on its members.

In the third week volunteers will have the choice to either discover the spiritual temples of Sri Lanka and its philosophy or trek through the mountains of Nuwara Eliya and cast their eyes upon the variety of flora and fauna in this unique part of the world.

The remaining days will consist of relaxing on the divine shores of this island’s exquisite beaches. Apart from soaking up the sun volunteers will soak up all their wonderful memories, and leave with an entirely different outlook.

One volunteer that took part in this project claimed that her favourite moment of the experience was when she held a baby monkey in her arms as she participated in the River Safari in Ambalangoda. This volunteer was also able to climb Adam’s Peak known as Sri Pada, which is an impressive 7,630 ft in height.

For those who really want to get a unique experience out of this project there is also the opportunity to adorn the idyllic landscape of pristine waterfalls and rolling tea plantations as well as the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch the sun rise at The Worlds End!

“I wanted to see the Sri Lanka that tourists don’t usually get to experience”

“I liked that each week was divided up because you got to fit more in”

“An amazing Sri Lanka Experience!”

“I had the most incredible, unforgettable 4 weeks. I would recommend the project to anyone”

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The Bakewell Pudding – The Peak of Desserts

Bakewell PuddingFollowing our profile of the Peak District National Park, there could be only one place we would look to find this week’s recipe: Bakewell. Far from its inferior tart of a cousin, the Bakewell pudding is a delightfully satisfying dessert that’s sure to brighten your day.

Like all the greats, the Bakewell pudding was discovered by mistake. The story goes that sometime during the mid-19th century, a busy cook at one of the town’s inns was asked to prepare a strawberry tart for some important guests. Having been told to mix the egg into the pastry, this confused culinary genius instead poured it on top of the layer of strawberry jam. The result was an overwhelming success, with her boss demanding more and more of the mouth-watering mishap.

Today, the original recipe is a closely guarded secret by several bakeries in the small market town. However, here at Frontier we love to share our knowledge, so here’s the top secret recipe for you to try at home. And be sure to let us know what you think.

  • flour, for dusting
  • 500g/1lb 2oz packet ready-made puff pastry
  • 4-5 tbsp seedless raspberry jam
  • 150g/5oz fresh raspberries
  • 100g/3½oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  • 5 free-range eggs
  • 150g/5oz ground almonds
  • a few drops almond essence
  • icing sugar, for dusting
  • clotted cream, to serve

Preparation method

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Grease and flour a 23cm/9in loose-bottomed tart tin (but remember, it ain’t no tart)
2. Roll out the pastry onto a lightly floured work surface to form a circle a few inches larger than the tart tin. Line the tart tin with the pastry, gently pressing into the edges. Trim the excess pastry from the edge of the tart tin.
3. Carefully spread the raspberry jam evenly over the pastry base. Lightly crush 3-4 of the raspberries in a small bowl and scatter the crushed berries on top of the jam.
4. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
5. Gradually add the eggs, one at a time, beating each well to incorporate. Stir in equal amounts of the ground almonds after you add each egg, stirring well until combined. Continue until all the eggs and all the ground almonds are used up, then stir in the almond essence.
6. Pour the filling mixture into the pastry case and, using a palette knife, gently spread it evenly over the raspberry layer.
7. Bake the pudding on the middle shelf of the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the surface is golden-brown.
8. Dust with icing sugar and serve with the remaining raspberries and a dollop of clotted cream.

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National Park Profile – Peak District National Park

Peak District National ParkAs part of an ongoing feature profiling some of the world’s national parks, this week Frontier speaks to Jane Chapman, head of Environment and Economy at the Peak District National Park Authority in the UK.

Frontier: Hello Jane. Can you give us a brief description of your role at the park?

Jane: My role involves managing many amazing professional and technical staff. So I’m responsible for all of the archaeologists, ecologists, foresters, historic building specialists and also the advisors who go out to the many private land owners to try to persuade them to conserve the landscape. It’s a very motivating and rewarding job.

Frontier: Excellent. So what are the main conservation issues currently being addressed?

Jane: Well a lot of what is being done presently is related to climate change. This involves a lot of work on moorland stabilisation and restoration through our Moors for the Future partnership. Also, there is work being carried out on restoring peat bogs, which brings in issues related to carbon, hydrology and ecosystem services. These are aspects specifically linked to the moorlands. We’re also looking at instances of species decline within the park.

Frontier: So what about past issues?

Jane: One of the key priorities over the last few years has been getting sites of special scientific interest into a good condition. This is an area where we have achieved a lot.

Frontier: Looking to the future, is it a case of continuing with these current issues?

Jane: More or less, yes. In particular, we’ll be carrying out work leading on from the government paper on the natural environment. Also, we are the only national park, and one of only five areas in the UK, to have the European Diploma for Protected Landscapes. So preparing for the annual assessment to retain this status is also a priority.

Peak District National ParkFrontier: Which animals can be found in the park?

Jane: Well, we lack some of the more iconic species found in the UK. However, because we’ve got such a mosaic of different landscapes, the moorlands, the dales, the limestone, the gritstone for example, the Peak District is at a crossroads of habitats. So what that means is that we have northern species at their southern most range, and southern species at their northern most range. But in terms of specific species, we have dippers and various river animals such the water vole. Another species found in the moorlands area is the mountain hare. I know it’s not an animal, but we also have the only known example of Derbyshire feather-moss in the world, which is in a secret location to protect it.

Frontier: Interesting. Are any of the species endangered?

Jane: At the moment we have a real focus on upland waders like the lapwing and the curlew. We are looking at funding a project officer to look at how we can maintain populations because we’ve experienced declining numbers of these birds over the last ten to fifteen years. White-clawed crayfish are also a concern; we are looking to find arc sites into which we can potentially introduce them, away from the non-native signal crayfish which produce a damaging plague.

Frontier: How is the park funded?

Jane: We are funded by DEFRA (Department for environment, food and rural affairs), but as part of the public sector, we are facing significant cuts. So we are having to look at other options for the long term sustainability of the park, such as working with communities more closely by setting up local nature groups.

Peak DistrictFrontier: Why should people visit your national park?

Jane: It’s one of the most easily accessible parks in the country, right at the heart of the nation. People should come because the park is a great place to gain free access to a really healthy environment. Apart from the huge variety of things to do and see, you’ll also be contributing to the local economy. We’ve also just opened up the wonderful old railway tunnels for walkers and cyclists, going from Buxton down to Bakewell. So things like that are making it really easy for people to come and use the park in a sustainable way.

Frontier: What’s your favourite part of the park? Is it the secret moss patch?

Jane: Well, I was brought up in the Dales, so that’s probably my favourite place. But I also just love being up on top of Kinder up on the moorlands. It’s that contrast of environments that I enjoy.

Frontier: Does the park have any claims to fame?

Jane: Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice were both filmed around the Peak District, including at Chatsworth House, which has always been a big attraction to the park. That classic shot of Keira Knightley on the cliff edge with her skirt billowing in the wind was filmed at Stanage Edge. That’s also a hugely popular place for rock climbers, which the park is internationally renowned for due to the variety of different rock types.

By Alex Prior

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10 Films That Inspire Travel…continued

Before we end our week focused on the inspiring world of cinema there is just enough time to give you five more films to invoke your wanderlust. If you want to see some gorgeous footage of our Frontier projects then why not head over to our YouTube channel, we like to think we compete with Hollywood in our own little way but we’ll let you decide that for yourself.

James Bond

Ok so we’re wussing out and not actually picking a specific movie but Ian Fleming’s super-spy has been all over the world in his various incarnations so how could we possibly pick our favourite one? From the sun-kissed beaches of the Bahamas and Thailand to the intriguing cities of Hong Kong and St Petersburg…and space, he went to space once. You can’t go into space on a gap year yet but if you go on our beach projects you can pop out of the water and pretend to be Daniel Craig or Ursula Andress.

The Beach

We know what you’re thinking, so passé but this book and subsequent film adaptation inspired a generation of travellers to trample all over Bangkok and South East Asia. The idea of finding a secluded beach community is still a dream many gappers have, meeting Leo Di Caprio on holiday is a dream that many female travellers have. Amongst all the late-nighties hedonism the film does contain some valuable travel lessons  such as why not to befriend loud Americans and how to survive shark attacks.

House of Flying Daggers

In a head to head with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon we picked Dagger on the basis of its breath-taking use of the seemingly limitless landscapes and scenery of China. The film is an incredible story set in one of the most fascinating times in World History. The snow covered forest scene is one that particularly stands out…although ironically that was actually shot in the Ukraine.

The Darjeeling Limited

Wes Anderson is known for directing films full of richly textured characters and worlds and he did not disappoint with this tale of three brothers and their fateful journey across India. The country’s rail network is infamous, ranging from the sublime and opulent to the utterly ridiculous but as this wonderful film shows, it is a truly amazing way to travel around a country as culturally dense as India.

Y Tu Mama Tambien

Another beach expedition story but this time set in Mexico. As the protagonists road-trip their way from Mexico City to the mythical beach of Heaven’s Mouth we are given pockets of insight into the history of the country’s people and finally a view of some of the most beautiful coastlines and beaches you will ever see.

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