Nigel Vardy

Random Access Memories…

If COVID has taught us anything, it is the desire to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. Though this is a wonderful privilege, it comes at a cost and an onus, and its repercussions will be felt for generations. It is easy to use occurrences such as the Kinder Trespass of 1932 as a justification for greater land access, yet over the past 18 months I have been able to witness another mass trespass across these beautiful isles.

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Raising the Bar…

Since the dawn of time, the older generations have guided and inspired the younger.  Children have always looked up to their parents, guardians, teachers and role models and lived by the examples they set.  Whether these exemplars are in the family, in education, sport, exploration, business or politics, we have never failed to follow them.  This is why we, as elders, need to set the example and our generation holds a huge responsibility for future children.  What we do or say can have far reaching effects.  Let me explain…

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Play Your Cards Right…

I’m frequently told that I need to ‘Play the Disabled Card’ (apparently because everyone else does), but do we really need to go endlessly on about how hard life can be, or just get on with it..? How do we even define Disability..?

There are many ways to define a Disability in law, but this one makes sense to me – ‘A physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities’. What I would allow as a caveat is choice. The choice to be disabled or enabled. Let me explain…

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Word Up..!

Something, somewhere has happened.  Over the last few weeks my YouTube Page has been alive with comments about my accident on Mt. McKinley.

This is not new news – This was over 20 years ago.

One of the programs we recorded all those years back has been aired on TV again (in the USA I think) and people have been commenting non stop.  It’s now received over 400,000 views..! This is not all down to TV however, its down to Algorithms…

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Mountaineering Online…

These last few months have been challenging in more ways than I could ever imagine.  My outdoor work has dried up, but speaking goes on – virtually.  COVID-19 may be preventing us from meeting, but not from speaking. I’ve covered subjects from Science to Space, Jungles to Mountains, Resilience to Mental health and even the 1924 Mt. Everest Expedition.

Speaking to a computer screen is nothing like the experience of being onstage, but the principles remain the same – professionalism, message, timing and quality.  Just because you’re not there, doesn’t mean you can get away with not planning and execution an excellent session.  On the contrary, you have to pick up your game.  

Like outdoor kit, people collect reams of gear to work with, show off or just pile up, which in my view is going over the top.  Virtual speaking is here to stay, so here’s a few thoughts about what has worked for me. The whole set up has cost less than £500.

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2020 – A Good Year for the Roses…

2019 was a year of death, cancellations and accidents, so I hoped for a more relaxing and rewarding 2020.  It certainly started with a bang as during the 2019 Kendal Mountain Festival, I was asked to don my best Edwardian Mountaineering Tweeds and marry two friends in the Lake District.  Surely enough on January 18th, I stood before Tom and Emily in Sticklebarn and pronounced them Husband and Wife.  I felt extremely honoured to be asked and we all enjoyed a wonderful weekend under sunny skies in Langdale.  2020 was off with a bang..!

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Forever Autumn…

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…

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On Days Like These…

I adore the Dolomites.  For over a decade, I have walked, climbed and skied amongst them, gained wonderful memories and many great friends.  COVID cancelled a planned ski trip in March, but now that restrictions have eased, I couldn’t resist a visit.

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Volcanic or Tectonic…

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…

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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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