Nigel Vardy

Time to die..?


Now, don’t think I’m being morbid, but death is one of the three definite happenings in life (after birth and incurring tax).  One day it’s going to happen, perhaps tomorrow, perhaps next week, perhaps next year, but it’s coming.  What’s important is how you live your life until that point, and how people remember you.  The recent passing of Nelson Mandela is a prime example.  Here was a man who worked tirelessly for peace and reconciliation, and his name has forever been etched into the annuls of history.

Read More »Time to die..?

No Picnic on Mt. Kenya part II – Here comes the sun..?


Here’s the second part to my Kenyan climbing trip…

My alarm sounded at 2am, and with some intrepidation I opened my tent and looked up at the sky. The stars I had hoped to see were hidden by thick, wet cloud.  Gloomily I dressed and set off at 3am with Cyrus, my mountain guide.  He was full of excitement as, in his opinion, the weather was ideal.  I take my hat off to him now as by 4am the skies were clear.  A dense layer of fresh snow had fallen over the last 24 hours which made progress very slow, particularly as it was knee-deep and wet.  To a Kenyan this is unknown, but to a British winter climber like myself, this is perfectly normal.

Read More »No Picnic on Mt. Kenya part II – Here comes the sun..?

No Picnic on Mt. Kenya part I – Still falls the rain (and snow)…


I have travelled the world for over 20 years. In that time I’ve been lucky enough to climb high mountains, hack through dense rainforest, and meet wonderful people.  I’ve had a few scrapes and come home with tales of adventure that few would survive, and had my heart broken many times because of my ramblings, but I still love to travel.  When I was young, I would happily do all this alone, with the world as my oyster and nothing able stop me.  As I’ve got older, I’ve realised that it’s not just the journey, but the sharing of experience that matters. It was with this in mind that I happily planned an ascent of Mt. Kenya with my friend Mandy.  Why am I telling you this..?  Because of a tearful phone call I received that day of our departure.  Mandy was unable to join me because of a sudden family emergency. What do you say in such a situation..?  Whatever words I could muster seemed pointless, and it was with a heavy heart that I left the shores of this sceptered isle alone, on a plane, bound for East Africa.Read More »No Picnic on Mt. Kenya part I – Still falls the rain (and snow)…

The Kendal Mountain Festival 2013 – Life’s great balancing act…


The run up to the 2013 Kendal Mountain Festival was filled with the usual barrage of emails, packed with ever-changing pdf’s and spreadsheets.  This I could cope with.  It was the last-minute call on the Thursday from Andy Perkins, regarding the Kendal for Kids session on the following morning that took me by surprise.  Things had changed and I was suddenly asked to perform live before 150 Primary School children, after the last film was done. Thankfully as a presenter I always carry my kit with me and my mind is filled with plenty of ideas to fit any session.  I love enthusing an audience about mountaineering and adventure..!

Read More »The Kendal Mountain Festival 2013 – Life’s great balancing act…

Are you obsessed with your goals..?


I recently attended the PSAUKI MEGA Conference in Manchester.  There I caught up with fellow climber Cathy O’Dowd.  She was speaking about her part in a record-breaking climb to cross the Manzeno Ridge on Nanga Parbat.  Her stories and images were stunning, but one phrase Cathy said struck a chord with me.  It was ‘Goal Obsessed Society’.  Lets look at those two words…

Read More »Are you obsessed with your goals..?

Terra Nova Equipment – Brand Ambassador


The best partnerships are those where both sides work to help each other. Therefore I am very pleased and proud to announce that I have accepted a role with Terra Nova Equipment as a Brand Ambassador.  We are both based in Derbyshire and have worked together for many years.  Where we exactly first met is lost somewhere in the mists of time, but they have helped me on many occasions with my expeditions across the world. Initially it was with the specialist needs that Frostbitten hands require in the way of gloves.  Getting any to fit was an almost impossible task, but with a little imagination and a lot of pinning we have succeeded.  Since then I have also tested many tents, sleeping bags and rucksacks, and regularly place gear reviews on their website.

Read More »Terra Nova Equipment – Brand Ambassador

Safety 1st (aid..?)


Last month I sat my Outdoor First Aid qualification in the lovely Peak District village of Castleton.  It was an extremely enjoyable two-day course, which pushes the usual first aid at qualification further, due to the difficulties experienced in an outdoor environment.  Ok, so my hands make wearing the silicone gloves a bit challenging and removing some of the packaging painfully difficult, but that’s no excuse not to get a qualification.

Read More »Safety 1st (aid..?)

Sunshine, south westerlies and skylines…


During the last few years, the green energy debate has become a huge subject, both in engineering and the outdoors.  Scores of wind turbines and solar panels have appeared across the countryside and coastline, and there seems no end in sight to their construction.  Some people love them, others hate them.  One things for sure though – they’re here to stay.  Besides my mountaineering exploits, I’ve spent over 25 years in electrical engineering and see what many of these sites actually produce when it comes to so-called ‘green energy’.  So, here’s the low down as I see it…

Read More »Sunshine, south westerlies and skylines…

Country roads, take me home…


The British countryside is suffering a major problem – congestion.  This ‘green and pleasant land‘ as William Blake put it, is becoming more Goretex than grass, more litter than landscape and more car park than copse.  The major problem is not only the sheer number of people (UK – 609 per sq mile against Poland at 328 and Spain at 210), but also because of their desire to use the outdoors.  Though we all have a right to go out and enjoy ourselves, we have no right to cause damage. As a Leave No Trace Trainer, I do everything I can to protect the countryside I live in and enjoy.  One of the seven principles of Leave No Trace is ‘travel and camp on durable surfaces‘.

Read More »Country roads, take me home…

Working with the media part IV – Radio


In my fourth media blog, I’d like to talk about working on, and with Radio.  The airwaves are full of local and national stations, all needing interviews and experts to comment on news and events.  The BBC has an excellent network and it’s here where I do most of my interviews.  My local station (BBC Radio Derby) and I regularly stay in touch, and this is paramount.  You must always keep in touch with the media.  If you’re launching a new project, product, climbing a mountaineer etc, give them a call.  Remember, relationships are a two-way thing…Read More »Working with the media part IV – Radio