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…

Continue reading “Wild Night Out…”

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…”

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…

Continue reading “2016 – A Year For Time, Travel and Tingling Fingers…”

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’.

Continue reading “The Right Frame of Mind…”

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…”

Camping Wild on the Cumbria Way…

Cumbria-Way

After a week of scorching July sunshine, I hoped for something a little cooler to wild camp the Cumbria Way.  Working with facial skin grafts in the blazing sun is always a challenge…

Continue reading “Camping Wild on the Cumbria Way…”

Lost in Translation..?

You may think that English is the common language of the British Isles, but many people speak dialects which contain words that confuse and confound.  Just ask yourself what you call a cob..?  Whilst you are scratching your head, let me translate.  In Derbyshire we eat cobs, but they are also known as rolls, bread cakes, baps, bread buns, barmcakes and even a softy.  You might question what point I’m trying to make here..?  When you’re speaking with an audience, never assume they understand what you’re talking about.

Continue reading “Lost in Translation..?”

TEDx Derby 2015 – Remade

TEDx-Remade

After speaking at TEDx Derby in 2014, I was approached by organiser Christine Cawthorne to mentor the speakers for the 2015 event.  I was honoured to take up the challenge… Continue reading “TEDx Derby 2015 – Remade”

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”

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

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”

Terra Nova Equipment – Brand Ambassador

TNE

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.

Continue reading “Terra Nova Equipment – Brand Ambassador”

Sunshine, south westerlies and skylines…

Windmill

During the last few years, the green energy debate has become a huge subject, both in engineering and the outdoors.  Scores of wind turbines and solar panels have appeared across the countryside and coastline, and there seems no end in sight to their construction.  Some people love them, others hate them.  One things for sure though – they’re here to stay.  Besides my mountaineering exploits, I’ve spent over 25 years in electrical engineering and see what many of these sites actually produce when it comes to so-called ‘green energy’.  So, here’s the low down as I see it…

Continue reading “Sunshine, south westerlies and skylines…”

Country roads, take me home…

Longwalls3

The British countryside is suffering a major problem – congestion.  This ‘green and pleasant land‘ as William Blake put it, is becoming more Goretex than grass, more litter than landscape and more car park than copse.  The major problem is not only the sheer number of people (UK – 609 per sq mile against Poland at 328 and Spain at 210), but also because of their desire to use the outdoors.  Though we all have a right to go out and enjoy ourselves, we have no right to cause damage. As a Leave No Trace Trainer, I do everything I can to protect the countryside I live in and enjoy.  One of the seven principles of Leave No Trace is ‘travel and camp on durable surfaces‘.

Continue reading “Country roads, take me home…”