Mr Frostbite. He’ll take your breath away

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I’m Mr Frostbite. Let me take you on an incredible journey.

I love mountaineering, adventure and travel.  To feel warm sunlight on your face and breathe cold, fresh mountain air is what keeps me alive, but it has almost cost me my life…

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I Turn Trial into Triumph…

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I’m a record-breaking Frostbitten Mountaineer, Author, Business and Educational Speaker, but what can I do for you..?  I can inspire audiences, help them understand changing times and how to deal with them.

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Holding Your Nerve – The Eighth Frostbite Report…

My eyes had been stuck on the weather forecast for weeks, before my annual trip into the Highlands with my friend Ian.  There had been snow, sun, snow, sun, ice, melt, ice, melt, and then Storm Doris had her day.  Reports of driving blizzards and road closures filled my heart with joy.  There would at least be snow..! Continue reading

‘We Do Not Remember Days, We Remember Moments…’

…so wrote Italian Poet Cesare Pavese.  We may think that our minds are sharp and that we commit to memory everything that our senses detect, but when it comes to remembering, only certain moments appear.

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Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Champion for 2017..!

It was late in 2016, when I glanced upon a tweet inviting applications for Ordnance Survey Get Outside Champions.  Initially I passed it by, but looked back and thought I’d give it a go.  I had no idea, that not only would I be selected, but what a lovely bunch of adventurers I was going to meet…

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Walking into the New Year…

Around 25 years ago, I started leading a New Year’s Walk.  Initially it was for a small group of friends, brought together by shared experiences on expedition with Operation Raleigh, but it has grown to encompass so many more.  Adventurers from over 25 years of international travel, family, fellow speakers, school friends, neighbours, friends of friends etc. all turn up  to walk, eat, drink and talk.  I have never run the event as a route march, because to me, this is much more than a walk.  It’s an important occasion for people to meet socially and enjoy a day in the hills.

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2016 – A Year For Time, Travel and Tingling Fingers…

I’m not a man to sit about, so during 2016 I travelled to South Africa, Greenland, Iceland, Italy, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Spain.  I took part in the ICEMAN Polar Race, walked the Otter Trail, spoke on two cruises and held down a full-time job.  Phew..!  I’m sure I slept at some point…

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The Duke of Edinburgh Award – Diamonds, Diving and Derbyshire…

stella-divers

My first connection with the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme was in the early 1990’s, when I was a young engineer at East Midlands Electricity.  They were a major sponsor back then and had purchased a number large of box trailers, filled with expedition equipment.  I ferried them around schools, helped set up a DofE group at the office and volunteered where I could.  Those days seem long gone as corporate takeovers scrapped sponsorship and abandoned the award. Continue reading

The Kendal Mountain Festival 2016 – BBC, Mt. Blanc, Burton and The Bond…

kmf-signpost

What began as a beautiful autumn day, turned into an aquaplaning nightmare as I passed Manchester.  The Peak District was resplendent in its glowing reds and golds, but the motorway was a silver-grey morass of dotted with beaming brake lights and dousing flood water.  By the time I reached Kendal, darkness had fallen and drizzle filled the air.  What did I expect..?  It’s November after all.

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The Right Frame of Mind…

 

vale-of-edale

Some people will tell you that you must write regular updates on your website, but what if you’ve got nothing to say..?  What, in this modern world of Blogging and Social Media, do you do when nothing really happens.  I’ll tell you what happens.  You write rubbish, post rubbish and spread rubbish.  There’s plenty of it out there, with innumerable tales of people’s eating, sleeping and weeping habits.  What if we only wrote when we had something important to say..?  Lately I’ve not been in the right frame of mind to write.  A combination of medical tests, stress, lame excuses and let downs has distracted my creativity.  I didn’t want to write rubbish, so I wrote nothing at all.   As Cyril Connolly famously wrote in 1933 – “Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self’.

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Forcing Your Hand…

Frostbitten Hands

The phrase ‘The day we stop learning is the day we die’, may be old, but it’s true. I thought after 17 years I had learned all there was to know about my frostbite injuries, but I was wrong. Though the amputations were very visible, regular treatment kept my skin grafts in good condition, and all was well with the world. The last few months however, have taught me a hard lesson in reality.

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A Time of Drought…

Coniston Old Man

After all the long running rains of spring, we here in Britain have finally seen blazing sun.  We’ve enjoyed temperatures hotter than the Mediterranean and as usual, many forget to cream so suffer sunburned skin (we never learn..!)  It’s the time to lounge or barbeque, expose our white skin and enjoy a drink – well for some anyway.  Advertising is strewn with images of people relaxing by pools, drinking beer, wines and spirits galore, but for me, for now, the strongest thing I’ll be on is a cup of tea…

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Adventuring Alone…

6-Beyond-Baffin

It might surprise you that a mountaineer such as my self may write about Mental Health Awareness Week.  People make assumptions in this world, and I’m afraid to say that many of them are wrong.  “You must be rich”, “You can’t have a job”, You’re never at home”, “You just travel the world as you please”.  If only they knew…

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Travelling Friends and the Otter Trail…

Me-in-the-Kruger-NP

Years ago I said that I would only ever visit a place once, unless it impressed the hell out of me.  Well, I’ve grown to love South Africa, and moreover I have a wonderful friend there – Sibusiso Vilane.  I spoke about friendship in my last blog and how the mountains have a way of bonding people together, and so it was that Sibusiso and I met back in 2006… Continue reading

Mountains of Friendship – The Seventh Frostbite Report…

Ian-&-I

I first started winter mountaineering when a group of work friends invited me to join them in Glencoe. That was over 20 years ago.  I was young, had dark brown hair, fingers and toes. Much has changed since those heady days, but my love of the hills has never been daunted. If anything its got worse… Continue reading

Trying to Tip Toe in Torridon – The Sixth Frostbite Report…

A-Chioch-Ridge

The end of 2015 brought miserable weather to much of the UK.  A time of supposed frosts, snow and ice had produced nothing but rain, and I was concerned about conditions on the mountains of the NW Highlands.  As it turned out, they were as challenging as ever…

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Speaking from Sea Level…

Cunard-Crevasse

“You’re doing what..? Speaking on a cruise ship..? Why..?” These were only some of the barrage of questions I fielded when I announced that I was going to speak on the Cunard Liner Queen Victoria. “You’re a Mountaineer and boats are at sea level..!” I certainly hope they are as I’ve never seen a liner fly, but let’s get past the obvious shock. Besides being a mountaineer, I’m also a speaker.

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2015 – A Year for Europe…

Lyngen-2015

The finale of 2014 was, for me a difficult  time.  I was exhausted, both physically and mentally to a level where I felt truly lost.  I had recently been reported missing in the avalanches of Annapurna, but as with  most major disasters, I coped well enough.  It was the pace of my day-to-day life which had ground me down.  2015 had to be better… Continue reading

#Kendal15

KMF2015

The warm and wet autumn brought the risk of severe flooding in Kendal. Not good for the festival I thought, although it would bring the adventurous aspect of the weekend close to home..!

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From Campsites to Cruise Ships – Know Your Audience…

Ice-Axes

Mountaineering and Speaking come together in many different ways.  Usually we climb mountains, have adventures, then go and speak about them.  We write books, sign photos and give media interviews, but the strangest combinations can exist…

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