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
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.
“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.
The quest to see what is ‘Over the Horizon’ has intrigued man for millennia. The desire to explore the world has led to much of it being extensively mapped, with people like Magellan, Carstensz and Cook being fine examples, but for centuries, the physical horizon was as far as we could see. For example, if you are 5’7” it would be just under 3 miles, whereas from the summit of Everest you can see over 200. This is why for centuries man has sought high ground. Defences always needed long distance views to see an enemy coming, and explorers want the best viewpoint into the unknown that they can get. This fact remained unchanged until the onset of the Telegraph and the Radio. Suddenly you didn’t need a semaphore or signal fires to communicate over distance. Within years, messages could be sent around the world, pushing the horizon far from view. But there is another horizon – limit of a person’s knowledge, experience or interest.
My 2014 New Year’s resolution was to have the best and most productive 12 months of my life. Plans were bursting out of my brain, and within weeks my diary was filled to overflowing – speaking engagements across the UK, ski racing in Greenland, climbing in Scotland – the list went on.
The modern world seems to rely on instant news media. Satellite communications and Social Networking relay information around the globe within milliseconds, against the hours, days, weeks and even months that used to be required. Though this has a good side, it can also cause unnecessary stresses and tensions, as my family found out recently…
I was recently asked to write an article on the importance of insurance, predominantly personal insurance. Sickness and accidents can happen at any time, but I wonder how many of us are prepared..? The field of insurance can seem bewildering and boring, but it’s a subject that we should not ignore.
The next morning the wind had died and weak rays of sun fought their way through high, wispy clouds. I dug out my tent, packed my pulk and all of us set off on skidoos to the valley of Kalkdal.
Here’s the TEDx Derby presentation I gave asking the question “Is modern communication is destroying adventure..?” Whats do you think..?
Here’s the seventh and final miniblog about my Seven peaks – Seven Islands challenge…
From the islands capital – Antananarivo (known locally as Tana), you fly north to the coastal town of Diego Suarez to begin the trip. Diego is one of the world’s largest natural harbours and is a quiet town, full of crumbling French colonialism, 2CV’s and graced with wonderful sunsets. Here you depart by 4 x 4 as far as the road will go (weather and mud permitting), before the trek begins.
Here’s the sixth miniblog about my Seven peaks – Seven Islands challenge…
Carstensz Pyramid (4884m-16023ft) is a classic in the mountaineering world. First sited in 1623 by Dutch explorer Jan Carstensz, it is the highest island peak in the world.
Technology has entered our modern lives with a vengeance. Whether we like it or not, the digital age has crossed the globe and there seems little escaping it. I recently spoke at TEDx Derby, and challenged an audience of creative and technology driven people to think differently about the umbilical cord of the mobile phone, wi-fi and worldwide web…
I wonder how many times you have made plans, only to find them falling apart around your ears..? As Robert Burns once wrote “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, Gang aft agley”.
Here’s the third miniblog about my Seven peaks – Seven Islands challenge…
Most of the worlds mountains were first climbed in the Victorian era, but Mt Fuji (3776m-12388ft) must hold the oldest recorded 1st ascent – 663AD..! Japan is an ancient country with deep-rooted traditions and I would urge a little research into etiquette before you visit.
Here’s the second miniblog about my Seven peaks – Seven Islands challenge…
Climbing in Greenland is an honour that few have experienced. The flight from Iceland over the Denmark Strait is enough of an eye opener, particularly as you approach the teeth like mountains of the coast, but the Watkins Mountains are a magnificent range of ice-capped peaks.
The Seven peaks – Seven Islands challenge encompasses freezing Polar ice to burning tropical savannah, ski touring to scrambling, volcanoes to glaciers and everything in-between. It may not have the altitude of the Seven Continents climbs, but brings huge challenges and rewards for those will to take up the baton.
The best partnerships are those where both sides work to help each other. Therefore I am very pleased and proud to announce that I have accepted a role with Terra Nova Equipment as a Brand Ambassador. We are both based in Derbyshire and have worked together for many years. Where we exactly first met is lost somewhere in the mists of time, but they have helped me on many occasions with my expeditions across the world. Initially it was with the specialist needs that Frostbitten hands require in the way of gloves. Getting any to fit was an almost impossible task, but with a little imagination and a lot of pinning we have succeeded. Since then I have also tested many tents, sleeping bags and rucksacks, and regularly place gear reviews on their website.