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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Uganda 2017 – To the the Mountains of the Moon, and Back… Part 2

We left the Bujuku Hut at 4am in our attempt to summit Mt. Speke 4890m (16.042ft).  Initially the terrain was thick bog and undergrowth, but this gave way to more open ground as the sun tried to break through the dense clouds.  We ascended a large scree field suffering faltering disability, reaching the ridge early morning.  This is where our problems began.  Thick rime ice had plastered the rocks, making what should have been a challenging scramble, impassable.  The only way we could summit was to circumnavigate the peak and approach it from the opposite side.  It’s all sounds so easy to read it here, but what followed was a two-hour slog up and down scree scattered boulders and exposed edges.  At least the clouds broke occasionally and allowed extensive views over the range and the tongue of the Ruwenzori Glacier.  This ice used to allow easy access to Ruwenzori Peak, but its retreat has made any ascent of the mountain a real challenge.  Few ever venture there now because of the loose rock and unstable ridge.

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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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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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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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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”

Wearing a Smile…

Smiling

When I was a child, I watched the Saturday morning TV programme TISWAS.  It stood for ‘Today is Saturday, Watch and Smile’, but should we restrict smiling to just one day..?  I can’t remember how many countries I’ve traveled to, how many cultures I’ve encountered, or how many people I’ve met, but one thing is for sure – a smile goes a long way…

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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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Time…

Pocket-Watch

Language is full of sayings and quotes about time. ‘Time is of the essence, ‘Time is money’, ‘Time marches on’ etc.  This unending continuum drives many people’s lives at a relentless pace and without respite.  For some, it rules their lives, but should it..?

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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 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.

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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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Seven Peaks – Seven Islands part V – Sumatra

Gunung-Kerinci

Here’s the fifth miniblog about my Seven peaks – Seven Islands challenge…

Climbing Gunung Kerinci is one thing, but just getting there is another.  The bus journey from Padang can be anything between six and nine hours, and crosses the spine of Sumatra.  Be prepared for an arduous, but hilarious time!  You usually arrive in the village of Kersik Tua after dark, but the dawn brings extensive views of well manicured tea plantations and the peak itself – cloud permitting.  Rain and hailstorms are not uncommon here as you are already at 1500m.

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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…

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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”.

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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.

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Turn your ideas into reality..!

One of my top five tips for life, business and education…

I’ve spoken to literally thousands of people in my career and hopefully I’ve inspired many of them.  I’ve heard fantastic ideas come from people after my keynotes, but the question is – Will you turn your ideas into reality..?  Its all well having ideas on paper, but do something about them..!

Here’s my thoughts…

Love life like a child, just don’t behave like one…

Ama-Dablam

Many people know me because of my mountaineering expeditions, but in parallel to my adventures, I’ve had a long career in Electrical Engineering.  Over my 27 years of nationalisation’s, takeovers and mergers I’ve seen may things, but one of the most startling is the ability to act like a child.  Let me explain…

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