The Earths continual pitch has placed us into Autumn – to me, one of the most beautiful times of the year. The moors burst into bright purples and the trees slowly turn to reds, yellows and browns. Leaves rain down in the freshening winds and the nights draw in. Morning dew settles upon the grass as the evenings chill becomes more apparent. Autumn signals the slow end to a year I suspect many people would rather forget. Many lives lost, families forced apart and plans either cancelled or indefinitely put on hold. COVID-19 has changed our lives for the future, but I don’t think we should sit in the doldrums. Every Autumn brings change before the grip of winter takes hold and I love that change…Continue reading “Forever Autumn…”
The COVID-19 lockdown is steadily easing and though times are still difficult, sighs of relief are abound. Holiday companies are recording a huge upsurge in bookings as international travel bans ease, the leisure industry is beginning to open its doors and tourist spots seem as busy as ever. Last month I noticed social networking filled with the cries of ‘Who’s going where on July 4th?’ and the answers scared me, certainly if incidents like Bournemouth Beach are to be a lesson. Littering and fires are on the rise, vehicles are abandoned casually and fears for National Parks are voiced. I fear a Tsunami of Tourists are on the way during the summer. The RNLI and MRT’s have been rushed off their respective boots and wellies. There has and will continue to be much comment about COVID and its effects upon our lives. Voice and opinion are everything, but shouting is not. Shouting is something I abhor – I always have…Continue reading “Volcanic or Tectonic…”
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…Continue reading “The McKinley Diaries – 21 Years On…”
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…Continue reading “Control…”
“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…Continue reading “The Power of Words…”
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.Continue reading “2019 – Exemplo Ducemus”
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…Continue reading “The Kendal Mountain Festival 2019 – Friends will be Friends”
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…Continue reading “Shout…”
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…Continue reading “2018 – Peace at Last..?”
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.
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.
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…