Blog

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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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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Wild Night Out…

We should all spend more time outdoors.  Its simple to say and easy to do, but still as a nation we struggle to get people outside.  Because of this, Belinda Kirk created ‘Wild Night Out’, to enthuse people to enjoy the wonderful world around us.  The Ordnance Survey teamed up with Belinda for 2017.  Some people choose to wild camp, others sleep in their garden.  Some camp with youngsters, others with their pets.  Whatever and wherever, example is better than talk, and I lead by example.  I decided to do more of a marathon than a wild night, and joined by fellow outdoor enthusiast Jo Elson, the adventure began…

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Let’s Explore..!

People these days spend much of their lives indoors.  Whether it’s working, watching television or hiding from the rain, survey after survey tells us to get outside more and get some exercise.  Many surveys spill doom and gloom across the media, telling horror stories of overweight, unfit people suffering in their lives.  As an Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion for 2017, I’m showing people how to enjoy the outdoors, even when you have a full-time job, work shifts and have serious injuries.  Society fails when we sit on our ever-widening backsides, eating processed food and assaulting our eyes with the world of digital media, but it’s not all bad news…

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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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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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Walking into the New Year…

Around 25 years ago, I started leading a New Year’s Walk.  Initially it was for a small group of friends, brought together by shared experiences on expedition with Operation Raleigh, but it has grown to encompass so many more.  Adventurers from over 25 years of international travel, family, fellow speakers, school friends, neighbours, friends of friends etc. all turn up  to walk, eat, drink and talk.  I have never run the event as a route march, because to me, this is much more than a walk.  It’s an important occasion for people to meet socially and enjoy a day in the hills.

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The Duke of Edinburgh Award – Diamonds, Diving and Derbyshire…

stella-divers

My first connection with the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme was in the early 1990’s, when I was a young engineer at East Midlands Electricity.  They were a major sponsor back then and had purchased a number large of box trailers, filled with expedition equipment.  I ferried them around schools, helped set up a DofE group at the office and volunteered where I could.  Those days seem long gone as corporate takeovers scrapped sponsorship and abandoned the award.Read More »The Duke of Edinburgh Award – Diamonds, Diving and Derbyshire…

The Kendal Mountain Festival 2016 – BBC, Mt. Blanc, Burton and The Bond…

kmf-signpost

What began as a beautiful autumn day, turned into an aquaplaning nightmare as I passed Manchester.  The Peak District was resplendent in its glowing reds and golds, but the motorway was a silver-grey morass of dotted with beaming brake lights and dousing flood water.  By the time I reached Kendal, darkness had fallen and drizzle filled the air.  What did I expect..?  It’s November after all.

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The Right Frame of Mind…

 

vale-of-edale

Some people will tell you that you must write regular updates on your website, but what if you’ve got nothing to say..?  What, in this modern world of Blogging and Social Media, do you do when nothing really happens.  I’ll tell you what happens.  You write rubbish, post rubbish and spread rubbish.  There’s plenty of it out there, with innumerable tales of people’s eating, sleeping and weeping habits.  What if we only wrote when we had something important to say..?  Lately I’ve not been in the right frame of mind to write.  A combination of medical tests, stress, lame excuses and let downs has distracted my creativity.  I didn’t want to write rubbish, so I wrote nothing at all.   As Cyril Connolly famously wrote in 1933 – “Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self’.

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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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A Time of Drought…

Coniston Old Man

After all the long running rains of spring, we here in Britain have finally seen blazing sun.  We’ve enjoyed temperatures hotter than the Mediterranean and as usual, many forget to cream so suffer sunburned skin (we never learn..!)  It’s the time to lounge or barbeque, expose our white skin and enjoy a drink – well for some anyway.  Advertising is strewn with images of people relaxing by pools, drinking beer, wines and spirits galore, but for me, for now, the strongest thing I’ll be on is a cup of tea…

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