The McKinley Diaries – 21 Years On…

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be recording daily video logs about the fateful expedition to climb Mt McKinley in Alaska. April 30th 2020 will be the 21st anniversary of the adventures start. Using original images, equipment and reading from my mountain diary, I’d like to share my experiences, feelings and emotions from this life changing time in my life…

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Control…

Due to the present COVID-19 outbreak, we’re all under Central Government Control. Control is a subject I’ve been discussing with my close friend Helen Davies for a while, so by the power of the internet, we’ve maintained #socialdistancing and brought our ideas together. Before we get started, here’s an introduction from Helen…

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The Power of Words…

“Sticks and Stones Will Break my Bones, but Words will Never Hurt Me’ is a phrase which many of us grew up with as children, but is it true?  I wonder if anyone reading this has never been hurt by words?  I believe that words have the ability to convey beauty and love, but also horror and hate.  I’d advise you say what you mean and mean what you say…

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2019 – Exemplo Ducemus

What a year 2019 was, or wasn’t.  The first time I missed a Scottish winter for 20 years, a trip to Africa cancelled at the last minute, a climb in India scrapped because of lack of interest and a cycling trip to SE Asia cancelled because of injury.  For some just that would be disastrous enough, but all those setbacks paled into insignificance on March 20th as, out of the blue, I lost my Dad.  The literary world is strewn with poetry, prose and paragraph about death, but no words can describe the feelings of loss I had and still have.  I’m happy that he left us peacefully, with his loving family around him.  He felt no pain or suffering and I thank God for that. Only the night before, he’d been on top form, laughing and joking with me at a Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme Presentation.  It was a striking lesson in living every day of your life to the fullest of your abilities.

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The Kendal Mountain Festival 2019 – Friends will be Friends

The run up to Kendal is always busy, so this year I decided to spend as much time as possible in Hospital to shield me from the chaos.  Actually, I’d been knocked off my bike by a car and was nursing some rather stiff joints.  Serious care, rest and drinking would be required over the festival weekend if I was to make it through…

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Shout…

It’s been a while since I posted a blog.  The loss of my Father has put many of life’s (so called) priorities into stark perspective.  Caring for my Mother takes up much of my time, but with family support I still get out into the hills.  I reflect more, stare more, say less and await the grieving to come.  I’m a rather stoic old Englishman, with far too much stiff upper lip and not enough heart to easily let go – for now anyway.  Real life has put the virtual world in its place, but it sometimes still intrudes…

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2018 – Peace at Last..?

As I sit here in late December, I find it difficult to remember what I was doing last week, never mind during last year. It’s a good job that I still write my daily diary…

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Blinded by the Light…

I’ve walked the path from Mam Tor to Lose Hill more times than I can count.  Over the years it has changed dramatically as thousands of pairs of boots take their toll on rock, soil and grass.  Popularity has been punishing and pounding this beautiful place into dust.  Stone paving has been laid from Hollins Cross to Mam Tor in an effort to lessen the erosion, and the old six lane motorway of tiered paths is recovering.  Around the trig point another bed of stones has been laid as this is one of the most famous viewpoints in the Peak District.  Some people like the work, whilst others detest it.  I don’t like the countryside changing, but we are damaging it at an ever-increasing rate.

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Crossing the Cuillin…

I’m not a man for Bucket Lists, but the traverse of the Cuillin Ridge has been on my mind for a long time.  The legends it has created are long seated in the history of British Mountaineering and an opportunity appeared for me to give the ‘Royal Route’ a go.  I had recently been climbing at altitude in Uganda and felt strong for the challenge.  Guided by Martin Moran, I crossed the 12 Monroe’s faster than I could have imagined, but wore my skin grafts almost to the bone.

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The Shifting of Time…

There are more quotes about time than probably any other subject.  How we use it, pass it or waste it, there’s always a sentence of reflective words to describe it.  People ask me how my time is used because of my travel, life and importantly, my work.  ‘You’re always away’ seems a common statement, and ‘how do you get out so much when you have a job..?’ is another.  During my engineering life, I’ve worked part time, normal days, 24hr stand by and more recently, shifts.  They disrupt your life, both physically and socially, but it’s not all bad news.  They do allow you to get into the outdoors, provided you’re effective with your time…

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