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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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…”

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…

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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.

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Return of the Phantom Menace…

Wrist-Splints

It’s over seventeen years since my fingers were amputated due to frostbite.  Life has changed, but I manage well with what I have left and continue to lead a normal(ish) life.  For years, all has seemed sorted, until recently…

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Mountains of Friendship – The Seventh Frostbite Report…

Ian-&-I

I first started winter mountaineering when a group of work friends invited me to join them in Glencoe. That was over 20 years ago.  I was young, had dark brown hair, fingers and toes. Much has changed since those heady days, but my love of the hills has never been daunted. If anything its got worse… Continue reading “Mountains of Friendship – The Seventh Frostbite Report…”

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.

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From Campsites to Cruise Ships – Know Your Audience…

Ice-Axes

Mountaineering and Speaking come together in many different ways.  Usually we climb mountains, have adventures, then go and speak about them.  We write books, sign photos and give media interviews, but the strangest combinations can exist…

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Volunteering

Heage-Windmill

Giving some of your time for free is a wonderfully rewarding experience. The world doesn’t have to be all money driven, and I regularly find that people are more committed to a cause when they work for the love of it. Many charities run on volunteers because of their dedication and generosity. If only all things in life could be worked purely for passion… Continue reading “Volunteering”

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…

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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.

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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.

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Himlung Expedition 2014…

Himlung-1st-View

For years I have wanted to climb to 7000m.  My frostbite injuries provide daily challenges, which make even walking down the road difficult, but when I’m in the mountains I feel alive and ache to climb.  I’ve written two blogs about my recent expedition to climb Himlung in the Annapurna region of Nepal…

Part 1 – Tragedy in the Snow

Part 2 – The Haunting

I hope you enjoy reading them..!

Himlung Diary part 2 – The Haunting…

Icefall

One of my favourite ghost films is ‘The Haunting‘.  Based on the wonderfully written book by Shirley Jackson, it tells the story of a house which is haunted by a ghost you never see.  Door handles move and people feel strange presences, but there is no visible spectre.  Why am I writing about this when I’m mountaineering in Nepal..?  Well, an old ghost came to visit me on the hill one night…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Iceman Polar Race – part I

Evening at Constable Point
Evening at Constable Point

Months of planning, teams coming and going, injury, frustration, kit buying and chaos came to an end when I boarded the flight to Iceland.

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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 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.

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