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Ian Middleton

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Member Since: Jan, 2007

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To the End of the World and Back (A Millennium Adventure)
by Ian Middleton   

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Books by Ian Middleton
· Mysterious World: Ireland
· Hot Footing Around the Emerald Isle
                >> View all

Category: 

Travel

Publisher:  Schmetterling Productions ISBN-10:  0954077903 Type: 
Pages: 

288

Copyright:  Aug, 2000
Non-Fiction

The fascinating story of one man's journey across Patagonia to visit the southernmost tip of South America, Tierra del Fuego.

Available in paperback and Adobe e-book format. E-book edition also contains over 100 colour photos

Amazon
Waterstones
WHSmith
Ian Middleton: Travel Writer

At the far southern tip of South America, surrounded by some of the world's roughest seas, lies the island of Tierra del Fuego. It's three days into the new Millennium, and Ian is about to set off on the journey of a lifetime.

After finally tearing himself away from the delights of Buenos Aires he journeys down through the wild and spectacular landscape of Patagonia. The journey should have been simple and direct, but turned out to be neither. Discover, after miles of hostile landscape, the wonders that lie at the end of this continent: spectacular mountain scenery and a thriving community of friendly people in the southernmost city in the world. Then travel back through the diversity of the long, thin country of Chile where he: goes to painful lengths to hike the mountains and touch a glacier, gets stranded in the desert, takes an ill-fated journey across the Andes before ending up on Lake Titicaca where, on an island that belongs more at the turn of the last Millennium, he gains a fascinating insight into the life of some Titicaca Indians. Finally end it all off with an illegal tour of San Pedro prison in La Paz, led by one of the inmates, Fernando, a drug dealer.

This is the fascinating story of Ian's experiences as a lone backpacker on a not so lonely journey across South America. There are tales of the opulent cultures Ian encounters as he makes his way along the East Coast from Buenos Aires to the southernmost tip of South America and the inestimable experience of actually being at Tierra del Fuego, the end of the world. The geographer will enjoy the stories of how Ian experienced and handled the exotic climates of South America and sometimes found that he was not dressed for the weather. The historically-minded will relish Ian's deep insight into the culture and customs of the Titicaca Indians. Hikers will dig the stories of how Ian tackled the desolate and sometimes perilous landscape as he moved in to get the closest possible shot of the breathtaking scenery.

One of Ian's adventures concerned a planned peaceful hike through the Chilean mountains. As February constitutes the equivalent of their summer, it was felt by Ian that a hike in the mountains could be a pleasant experience. Even the light snow that flitted about did not deter Ian and his travelling companions as they started up. Upon taking a break after a couple of hours climbing, Ian noticed to his dismay that the tent pegs and ropes had vanished from his backpack. There was no way to anchor the tent without them. Ian had to split from his companions and go back. After about five minutes, the light snow transformed into a Siberian-style blizzard. What to so next? Ian's waterproof trousers were in his backpack, which he had hidden by leaving a marker at the point from which he turned back. With the weather closing in on him and barely able to make out the trail, Ian's options were running out. Find out how this damp story concluded.

Learn about a four-day tour across the Bolivian Altiplano in a jeep that kept breaking down! Even given unreliable transport, a trip to the end of the salar near the Isla de Pescadores was hard to resist. The reward was a view of the most amazing sunset in the world. The price to be paid was a 76-kilometre drive in a jeep that was about as reliable as a Virgin train. Ian tried to convince his companions that they could make it. But as the sun set, the jeep spluttered to a stop, not for the first time. Ian and his companions were still miles from the edge of the salar as darkness was setting in. The jeep was also starting to hit water. The driver struggled to make out the tyre tracks.  


Excerpt

At the bus station I bought a ticket for the midday bus to Punta Arenas, Chile. I was about to enter a new country, only to leave again shortly after. To get to Tierra del Fuego I would have to take a boat from Punta Arenas. The island is unequally divided between Chile and Argentina, one of the many arguments over land between these two countries.
'Is it always so windy here?' I asked the girl behind the counter.
'Yes,' she replied, 'cold also!'
The tone of her voice suggested that she longed to be elsewhere, preferably tropical.
She then presented me with a customs form to fill in, which informs you of the various things you are not allowed to take into Chile like: animals, vegetables, fruit and semen. Semen! How was I supposed to help that? Perhaps I would be asked to remove it before entry. I imagined arriving at the border and being directed to join a long line of men, eventually leading to a door where a nurse would be handing out magazines.



Professional Reviews

Book Review by Marty McCool, South East Voice Newspaper
29 November 2001

For some people, it’s a big thing to have travelled even to a small number of places around the world, to have covered a sprinkling of exotic destinations, jumping from one country and culture to the next one that happens to suit your taste.
Some people I’ve known and worked with think they’ve seen it all after they have been to the Dark Continent. Others want more.
A year ago, my sister Noelle McCool and her travelling mate Vera Prendergast from Gorey went as close as you can get to a trip around the world, taking in Australia, Bali, New Zealand, a bicoastal tour of America and London.
They returned better, more knowledgeable people, and, from talking to them since their return, I suspect they will want to go back to some of those places.
But how cool is it to be able to boast that you have been to the end of the world and back?
Well, for incurable wayfarer and travel writer Ian Middleton it was an experience of such enormity that he had to record his adventures in a book ‘To the End of the World and Back: A Millennium Adventure’.
All of us surely remember where we were on the eve of the new millennium in 1999. For my family and I, it was a fantastic firework display on a bridge dividing our native area of Ballybofey and Stranorlar.
For Ian, it was a simple ritual in the garden of his uncle in a small Hampshire town in England.
Far more significant for Ian was the first few months of the new millennium, a time he would spend travelling to the darkest corners of the planet.
What it left him with was an incident-packed story that would move even the most domesticated person to make a trip to the travel agents.
For any benighted citizens of Wexford who would like to know more about the perils, the possibilities and the rewards of travelling, the news is good.
Ian Middleton has arrived in Wexford and is here to promote his book ‘To the End of the World and Back: A Millennium Adventure’.
The book is now available in all good bookshops throughout Co. Wexford and is in the process of being launched further afield in the South East. At just £8.00, it is an absolute bargain.
For the travel reader, this book is a must. If you know anyone who is into travel, Ian’s book is the ideal Christmas gift and real value for money.
However, the book rates an enjoyable read for just about anyone.
There are tales of the opulent cultures Ian encounters as he makes his way along the East Coast from Buenos Aires to the southernmost tip of South America and the inestimable experience of actually being at Tierra del Fuego, the end of the world.
The geographer will enjoy the stories of how Ian experienced and handled the exotic climates of South America and sometimes found that he was not dressed for the weather.
The historically-minded will relish Ian’s deep insight into the culture and customs of the Titicaca Indians. Hikers will dig the stories of how Ian tackled the desolate and sometimes perilous landscape as he moved in to get the closest possible shot of the breathtaking scenery.
But if you are looking for an exciting and enthralling story told with an extraordinary clarity, this book is for you too.
It’s one thing to have been immersed in such an experience as Ian’s, quite another to reproduce it for the reader so vividly that you can virtually visualise the magic of each moment.
In telling this story Ian brings many enviable gifts to his task; an ability to tell a multi-faceted story in a fluid, coherent narrative form; a sardonic wit; an eye for comic detail and gift for consistently transporting the reader to the heart of his experiences.
The story surges forward with all the urgency of the Slaney during a spring flood. As the reader is carried along with Ian on his inexorable trip to the end of the world, his story occasionally restrains the action to flesh out the detail of a particular experience for the reader, working up the reader’s enthusiasm for another slice of the action.
That Ian manages to combine all these skills in his narration is a testament to his ability as a writer.
To give potential buyers of Ian’s book an insight into what they are getting, here are a few extracts from his book.
As Ian arrived at the end of the world, one of the most memorable experiences that came his way was visiting Isla Redonda, which contains the southernmost post office in the world.
The only other thing to be seen there was an abundance of wildlife. Ian takes up the story:
“No one lived on this tiny island, so I failed to see the logic in having a post office. The only apparent reason for its being here was to provide visiting tourists with a stamp in their passport to prove they had been to the southernmost post office in the world”.
The island of Tierra del Fuego, we learn from Ian, is divided unequally between Chile and Argentina. While there, Ian contemplated the preponderance between them as he stood on a hilltop in Argentina while looking at Chile.
Find out in Ian’s book why the two countries are not the best of friends.
One of Ian’s adventures concerned a planned peaceful hike through the Chilean mountains. As February constitutes the equivalent of their summer, it was felt by Ian that a hike in the mountains could be a pleasant experience.
Even the light snow that flitted about did not deter Ian and his travelling companions as they started up.
Upon taking a break after a couple of hours climbing, Ian noticed to his dismay that the tent pegs and ropes had vanished from his backpack.
There was no way to anchor the tent without them.
Ian had to split from his companions and go back. After about five minutes, the light snow transformed into a Siberian-style blizzard. What to so next?
Ian’s waterproof trousers were in his backpack, which he had hidden by leaving a marker at the point from which he turned back.
With the weather closing in on him and barely able to make out the trail, Ian’s options were running out. Find out how this damp story concluded.
During his travels, Ian took a seven day hiking tour through the national park in Chile. This experience taught him to be better prepared for all eventualities in future, albeit the hard way.
What was notable about this trip was that Ian took it alone. This episode underscores an important theme that runs throughout the book. It tells of how someone who travels alone can never be alone.
Ian points out that many people are daunted by the prospect of having to travel on their own. He argues that sometimes it can be better to travel on your own and that there may be more to be learned by setting out on your own.
Ian made it his mission during this part of his journey not only to see the Glacier Grey, an ice field which is the third largest in the world after Antarctica and Greenland; he wanted to touch it and would stop at nothing in his quest to do so.
It took an excruciating four hours for Ian to reach the nearest campsite and pitch his tent to lighten his load for his trip to the glacier.
After another couple of hours, Ian made it to the rocks lining the edge of the glacier only to find that there was no edge. Each path emerged at a point where water separated him from the glacier. Finally, he found a point where he could make a steep decent to the edge of the ice.
It was now eight-thirty and the sun was setting. Ian sat on the mountaintop and pondered his next move.
Also, once the sun went down climbing back would be tricky and Ian still had to find his way back down the mountain to the campsite. Getting to this point had taken him hours. His goal was within reach. But was the risk worth taking?
Find out about the joys of hitching as Ian grapples with his fear of taking a lift into the desert on his way to a national park.
It is times like this that the mettle of even brave and seasoned travellers such as Ian is tested to the limit.
When you are on your own, with an eternal haze of desert before you and your next destination, who knows what kind of people you might meet before you come safely out the other end…! How long would he have to wait for a lift in this desolate spot?
Learn about a four-day tour across the Bolivian Altiplano in a jeep that kept breaking down!
Even given unreliable transport, a trip to the end of the salar near the Isla de Pescadores was hard to resist. The reward was a view of the most amazing sunset in the world.
The price to be paid was a 76-kilometre drive in a jeep that was about as reliable as a Virgin train. Ian tried to convince his companions that they could make it.
But as the sun set, the jeep spluttered to a stop, not for the first time. Ian and his companions were still miles from the edge of the salar as darkness was setting in. The jeep was also starting to hit water. The driver struggled to make out the tyre tracks. Did they make it or not?
These are just some of Ian’s amazing stories, in a book replete with adventures. Get your copy now at your nearest bookshop.


Back from the Brink by Angela Turnball, Salisbury Journal.
When 1999 turned into 2000, Ian Middleton was thousands of miles from his home in Hampshire and about to go further - to the southern tip of South America.

To the End of the World and Back is backpacker Ian's account of his journey through South America from Buenos Aires south to Tierra del Fuego and then north through Chile to Bolivia.

Through desolate and spectacular landscapes, from sea level to the heights of Bolivia, Ian's account of his adventures and misadventures is always engrossing.

With him we visit breathtaking national parks and dusty villages, meet Argentineans, Chileans, Bolivians and backpackers of all nationalities.

This is a travel book that passes the ultimate test - you wish you were there too.



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