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…

Continue reading “Coming of Age…”

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…”

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.

Continue reading “Forcing Your Hand…”

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.

Continue reading “Speaking from Sea Level…”

Scotland – What Did I Expect..? – The Fifth Frostbite Report…

Meall-a-Bhuachaille

Friends across the Alps had been complaining to me about the lack of snow for the skiing season. Indeed I experienced this myself in Austria during January, where the pistes were turning a delicate shade of brown.  Scotland was to be another matter…

Continue reading “Scotland – What Did I Expect..? – The Fifth Frostbite Report…”

Over the Horizon…

Padang-Sunset

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.

Continue reading “Over the Horizon…”

2014 – Surgery for the Soul…

My-Rugged-Look

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.

Continue reading “2014 – Surgery for the Soul…”

Don’t (always) believe what you read…

Nepal-Press

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…

Continue reading “Don’t (always) believe what you read…”

Get Insured – It Could Happen to You..!

Bandaged-Foot

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.

Continue reading “Get Insured – It Could Happen to You..!”

On the Edge – July 2014

Langdale-VW

The Kendal Mountain festival has traditionally been held in November, when nights are dark and the weather (usually) wet.  Things are changing, and a new festival ‘Kendal Mountain Festival On the Edge‘ has been launched for the weekend of July 25 – 27th 2014.

Continue reading “On the Edge – July 2014”

The Iceman Polar Race – part II

I'm sure something is following me
I’m sure something is following me

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.

Continue reading “The Iceman Polar Race – part II”

Is modern communication destroying adventure..?

Here’s the TEDx Derby presentation I gave asking the question “Is modern communication is destroying adventure..?”  Whats do you think..?

Seven Peaks – Seven Islands part VII – Madagascar

Sunset-off-French-Mountain

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.

Continue reading “Seven Peaks – Seven Islands part VII – Madagascar”

Seven Peaks – Seven Islands part VI – Iran Jaya

Carstensz-Pyramid

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.

Continue reading “Seven Peaks – Seven Islands part VI – Iran Jaya”

Is modern communication destroying adventure..?

TEDx

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…

Continue reading “Is modern communication destroying adventure..?”

Things don’t always go to plan…

Bandaged-Foot

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”.

Continue reading “Things don’t always go to plan…”

Seven Peaks – Seven Islands part III – Japan

Fuji-Sign

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.

Continue reading “Seven Peaks – Seven Islands part III – Japan”

Seven Peaks – Seven Islands part II – Greenland

Taxiing-on-the-Ice-Runway

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.

Continue reading “Seven Peaks – Seven Islands part II – Greenland”

Seven Peaks – Seven Islands

SPSI

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.

Continue reading “Seven Peaks – Seven Islands”