Short cuts: Travel news and inspiration

Bhutan Blue Poppy Tours is to run a rare trek to the base camp of the world’s highest unclimbed mountain, Gangkhar Puensum in Bhutan. The 7,570m peak, which lies close to the Tibetan border, was attempted by several expeditions in the 1980s, but mountaineering is now banned in the country. The 10-day trek, scheduled for October, begins at Jakar and follows a little-used path to the southeast face of the mountain. The full trip, including travel to and from the trailhead, and visits to key cultural and religious sites on the way, will take 16 days, and cost £2,350, excluding flights.

Ireland Award-winning adventure tour operator Wilderness Scotland has launched a new sister company, Wilderness Ireland. It will specialise in walking, cycling and sea kayaking trips, with both guided group tours and tailor-made itineraries. Highlights include a trip on foot and by boat along the southwest coast to Cape Clear, and a sea kayak adventure from Connemara to Achill Island.

North Korea The mounting political tension surrounding North Korea has resulted in a surge in interest among tourists, according to a UK-based tour operator. Regent Holidays said inquiries from prospective clients had risen fourfold, and a controversial BBC documentary, in which an undercover reporter joined a group of students visiting the country, had prompted still further interest. “Whether in the news for good or bad reasons, any media coverage of North Korea has always generated interest from people who are keen to visit and see it all for themselves,” said Gill Leaning, the company’s marketing manager. Regent’s next group trip leaves on July 25, but it has private tailor-made trips departing throughout April and May.

UK Raymond Blanc, chef-patron of the two Michelin-starred Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in Oxfordshire, has created a new range of summer menus for Eurostar’s business class carriages. The menus, to be introduced from April 25, include dishes such as pressed Sussex pork belly with celeriac, summer squash and sage jus. His involvement has also led to the train operator working closely with the Sustainable Restaurant Association, of which Blanc is president. The SRA now rates Eurostar a “one star sustainability champion”, in recognition of its use of locally and ethically sourced ingredients.

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