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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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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Let’s Explore..!

People these days spend much of their lives indoors.  Whether it’s working, watching television or hiding from the rain, survey after survey tells us to get outside more and get some exercise.  Many surveys spill doom and gloom across the media, telling horror stories of overweight, unfit people suffering in their lives.  As an Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion for 2017, I’m showing people how to enjoy the outdoors, even when you have a full-time job, work shifts and have serious injuries.  Society fails when we sit on our ever-widening backsides, eating processed food and assaulting our eyes with the world of digital media, but it’s not all bad news…

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Coming of Age…

Reaching your 18th birthday is seen as a coming of age.  You can marry, drink, vote, serve on a jury and legally get a tattoo..!  My 18th birthday was marked with a disco.  It was 1987 and Rick Astley was riding high in the charts, as was Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley, The Bee Gees and most of the Stock, Aitken and Waterman stable.  The Compact Disc was launched and I was driving a 1977 Metallic Gold Morris Marina with a huge Ghetto Blaster across the back seat.  I thought I was cool…

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The Shifting of Time…

There are more quotes about time than probably any other subject.  How we use it, pass it or waste it, there’s always a sentence of reflective words to describe it.  People ask me how my time is used because of my travel, life and importantly, my work.  ‘You’re always away’ seems a common statement, and ‘how do you get out so much when you have a job..?’ is another.  During my engineering life, I’ve worked part time, normal days, 24hr stand by and more recently, shifts.  They disrupt your life, both physically and socially, but it’s not all bad news.  They do allow you to get into the outdoors, provided you’re effective with your time…

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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 “Holding Your Nerve – The Eighth Frostbite Report…”

‘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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