Time After Time…

The phrase ‘Work Life Balance’ has been banded around since the 1980’s.  Then the Yuppie generation armed with brick sized mobile telephones and Filofaxes worked until they dropped, stood up and worked some more.  It was a time of overbearing pressure all in the name of money.  ‘Work hard and you can buy your time back’ was a phrase I once heard at a speaking conference from a sharp suited, tanned and trained presenter.  I’ve heard some ridiculous things in my time, but this must take the prize.  The inference was to make a fortune by 40 and then retire, no doubt with an ulcer or two and a heart problem.  The moment we become able to buy time as a commodity, is the time we should stop the world and get off…

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Walk of Life…

Winfields have launched ‘Walk & Talk‘ campaign to show how getting outdoors is one of the best antidotes for feeling down, overly stressed or generally anxious. For years, being outdoors has saved me more times than I can imagine.  Here’s my story… Continue reading “Walk of Life…”

Its a Hard Life…

Many of us have mentors in our lives.  They are the people who inspire us, drive us, motivate us, rollock us and guide us (usually in equal measure).  Only a few days ago, I said goodbye to one of the best…

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Jordan 2018 – Searching for a Desert Rose…

I’m a mountaineer.  I climb mountains, love mountains and speak about mountains.  People drive me as wild as I do them, because of my adventures, cock ups and rescues, but I travel to other places too.  I’ve bashed through dense jungles, crossed open plains and sailed oceans across the globe.  During late 2017 I decided that I needed a change.  The year had been a tough one and I was tired.  Tired physically, tired mentally and tired emotionally.  I needed a break, but wasn’t sure what to do.

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Blinded by the Light…

I’ve walked the path from Mam Tor to Lose Hill more times than I can count.  Over the years it has changed dramatically as thousands of pairs of boots take their toll on rock, soil and grass.  Popularity has been punishing and pounding this beautiful place into dust.  Stone paving has been laid from Hollins Cross to Mam Tor in an effort to lessen the erosion, and the old six lane motorway of tiered paths is recovering.  Around the trig point another bed of stones has been laid as this is one of the most famous viewpoints in the Peak District.  Some people like the work, whilst others detest it.  I don’t like the countryside changing, but we are damaging it at an ever-increasing rate.

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Becoming X at Mosimann’s…

On June 14th 2018, I’ll be speaking at Mosimann’s in London in support of the charity ‘Becoming X‘. Continue reading “Becoming X at Mosimann’s…”

Breathe in the Air…

I’m regularly asked ‘Nigel, Why do you like the cold..?’  I’m no expert or scientist, but I know what feels right to me.  Cold may have tried to kill me, but it’s where my heart is happiest.  After recent trips to Scotland, Norway and Italy this year, I decided to look into my childhood for some answers…

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Hold Me Now…

Ice Climbing is a sport which many thing crazy, wrong or downright dangerous.  I disagree.  It’s a pure athletic sport, with routes that change year on year, challenging even the most skilled climber.  Variations in the weather can make or break a route, or a season.  It can be made as safe as you wish, but also as challenging as you like.  Physically it’s incredibly demanding, but the mental aspects come harder.  Youre climbing up water, which for much of the year is heading downhill.  Ive recently returned from a weeks climbing in Rjukan, Norway, where icefalls galore await…

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Love of the Common People…

Social networking is both a useful tool and an invasive curse.  It has allowed us to advertise what we do and where we are, but also invite the world into our homes and create a world of voyeurism and mental stress.  Last year I noticed an invitation on the web to a reunion party from my comprehensive school.  It was over 30 years since the class of 1985 had walked away from Belper High School and made their way in the world.  I didn’t think long before pressing accept.  I thought it would be good to catch up with old friends and talk over old times.  It was to be held in January, in a local pub, so I could wander down on foot, enjoy a few drinks and wander back home.  It seemed perfect…

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High Winds and Helping Hands – The Ninth Frostbite Report…

Every winter in Scotland is a lottery when it come to the weather.  I’ve experienced everything from snowdrifts to sunburn and blue sky to thick fog.  Driving north to the Cairngorms, my friend Ian and I were buffeted and bashed even at lower levels.  We drove to the Cairngorm Mountain Ski Centre for a quick look at the conditions before checking into our accommodation.  We opened the car doors and almost took off.  The next days foray into the hills saw us beat a hasty retreat when the wind speed picked up to hair-raising and visibility dropped to nil.  For some, this would be scary to say the least.  In my world – welcome to the mountains.

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2017 – Quality not Quantity…

The end of 2017 is upon us, and it’s easy to look back and think that not much exciting happened.  It was just another year, like the one before and like the one to come.  Thankfully I write diaries and looking back, 2017 has certainly been packed with life experiences.

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The Kendal Mountain Festival 2017 – Films, Floods and Flying Around…

When the call for the Kendal Mountain Festival came, I was up my backside in builders.  Dust had found its way into every crevice and my lungs were a no go area.  My office was piled high with boxes, but somewhere in the morass, I found my computer and typed that dangerous word – Yes.  Of course I was coming… Continue reading “The Kendal Mountain Festival 2017 – Films, Floods and Flying Around…”

Finding Your Way…

On this National Map Reading Week, I though I’d share a few thoughts on why I love maps and the effect they’ve had on my life…

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The Long Sobs of the Violins of Autumn…

The modern world is stressful, well that’s what everyone will tell you.  Report after report states that our mental health is suffering, our ability to make (and take) decisions is disappearing and that risk is something that we can’t accept.  I think you find that life has been stressful since the dawn of time.  If you didn’t hunt successfully, you and your family starved, harsh winters killed the weak, and tribes fought hand-to-hand combat over land, property and resources.  That sounds a heck of a lot more stressful than a late train, flat phone battery or failing central heating…

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Becoming X…

Photograph courtesy of Mike Lawn and Becoming X

‘Its not what you know, but who you know’ is a phrase that has long appeared in the English language. Recently I was invited to be involved in a new and exciting charity called ‘Becoming X‘, which hopes to motivate, inspire and help people across the world, all because of someone I know…
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On Plastic Patrol..!

The world is filling with litter.  You only have to walk down a street, look in a lay by or attend a sporting event to see it.  The aftermath of any music festival is a disgrace, and people attending seem to think that whatever they dump doesn’t matter.  Dog owners pick up dog poo and the leave the bag on the floor.  A few miles from my house is Junction 28 on the M1, which is legendary for its waste.  I’m sure there is an invisible road sign which reads ‘Please chuck your litter out of the window before joining the Motorway’.   That’s the bad news, but there is some good…

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Uganda 2017 – To the the Mountains of the Moon, and Back… Part 2

We left the Bujuku Hut at 4am in our attempt to summit Mt. Speke 4890m (16.042ft).  Initially the terrain was thick bog and undergrowth, but this gave way to more open ground as the sun tried to break through the dense clouds.  We ascended a large scree field suffering faltering disability, reaching the ridge early morning.  This is where our problems began.  Thick rime ice had plastered the rocks, making what should have been a challenging scramble, impassable.  The only way we could summit was to circumnavigate the peak and approach it from the opposite side.  It’s all sounds so easy to read it here, but what followed was a two-hour slog up and down scree scattered boulders and exposed edges.  At least the clouds broke occasionally and allowed extensive views over the range and the tongue of the Ruwenzori Glacier.  This ice used to allow easy access to Ruwenzori Peak, but its retreat has made any ascent of the mountain a real challenge.  Few ever venture there now because of the loose rock and unstable ridge.

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Uganda 2017 – To the the Mountains of the Moon, and Back… Part 1

I rarely look for adventure.  Adventure finds me.  The years of scouring maps and magazines for interesting places are gone.  I’m extremely lucky to have wonderful friends across the world who share my passion for travel, as we love to share our experiences.  Sibusiso Vilane and myself met many years ago, climbing Carstensz Pyramid in Iran Jaya.  Since that day, we have been great friends.  Sibusiso has had some wonderful ideas, including cross the Drakensburgs and trekking the Otter Trail.  So when he said ‘how about climbing in the Mountains of the Moon in Uganda..?’  I leapt at the chance.  The Rwenzori’s were extensively explored during the colonial era and even starred in Rider Haggard adventure books.  The Idi Amin era saw much change, but people are back.  I have to admit however being surprised when asked to bring Wellington’s as well as an ice axe, crampons and mountain boots..! Continue reading “Uganda 2017 – To the the Mountains of the Moon, and Back… Part 1”

Crossing the Cuillin…

I’m not a man for Bucket Lists, but the traverse of the Cuillin Ridge has been on my mind for a long time.  The legends it has created are long seated in the history of British Mountaineering and an opportunity appeared for me to give the ‘Royal Route’ a go.  I had recently been climbing at altitude in Uganda and felt strong for the challenge.  Guided by Martin Moran, I crossed the 12 Monroe’s faster than I could have imagined, but wore my skin grafts almost to the bone.

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Wild Night Out…

We should all spend more time outdoors.  Its simple to say and easy to do, but still as a nation we struggle to get people outside.  Because of this, Belinda Kirk created ‘Wild Night Out’, to enthuse people to enjoy the wonderful world around us.  The Ordnance Survey teamed up with Belinda for 2017.  Some people choose to wild camp, others sleep in their garden.  Some camp with youngsters, others with their pets.  Whatever and wherever, example is better than talk, and I lead by example.  I decided to do more of a marathon than a wild night, and joined by fellow outdoor enthusiast Jo Elson, the adventure began…

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