Mountain Heritage Trust

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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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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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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Hold Me Now…

Ice Climbing is a sport which many thing crazy, wrong or downright dangerous.  I disagree.  It’s a pure athletic sport, with routes that change year on year, challenging even the most skilled climber.  Variations in the weather can make or break a route, or a season.  It can be made as safe as you wish, but also as challenging as you like.  Physically it’s incredibly demanding, but the mental aspects come harder.  Youre climbing up water, which for much of the year is heading downhill.  Ive recently returned from a weeks climbing in Rjukan, Norway, where icefalls galore await…

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Leo Houlding, Mountain Heritage and Facial Hair…

MHT-Crowd

The first time I heard Leo Houlding speak was on a dark, rainy night at the Buxton Opera House.  He had quite literary just returned from free climbing The Prophet in Yosemite and the excitement showed.  He danced on the stage like a marionette, (reminding me of my childhood TV favourite Thunderbirds) which made for a strangely unnerving evening.  Though we should bring emotion into our speaking, there is a time, a place and then a need for some control.Read More »Leo Houlding, Mountain Heritage and Facial Hair…

Volunteering

Heage-Windmill

Giving some of your time for free is a wonderfully rewarding experience. The world doesn’t have to be all money driven, and I regularly find that people are more committed to a cause when they work for the love of it. Many charities run on volunteers because of their dedication and generosity. If only all things in life could be worked purely for passion…Read More »Volunteering

KMF 2014 – A Post Avalanche Special…

KMF-2014

I’d only been home from my latest Himalayan expedition a few days, before another adventure began.  The Kendal Mountain Festival might only last a few days in the eyes of the public, but to the organisers, planning a trip to the moon would be easier.  The tsunami of e-mails that my inbox sank under took some sorting, but by the Thursday morning of the festival, I was ready to go.

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Where Conflict and Cold Collide…

Compass

100 Years ago the ‘War to end all Wars‘ began. Across Europe (and later the world), nations faced each other in what became the bloodiest conflict known at the time.  Millions of men, some regular soldiers, but many fresh troops, defined the phrase ‘Trench Warfare‘. For centuries, the cavalry charge had been the dashing face of warfare, but suddenly heavy artillery and deep mud ground the advances to a halt.  Many simply drowned in the mud, rather than by falling to the enemy.

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The Kendal Mountain Festival – backflips, books, slacklines and grand prizes…

Well it was that time of year again.  Time to head to Kendal for the Mountain Festival and volunteer as a presenter.  Volunteer you say???  Well, I may be a professional speaker, but there are times when the outdoor community comes together and works together.  We all give our time for free for the good of the community, and work harder than any professionally paid staff.  Working in engineering, I hear a great deal that ‘Money is the greatest motivator’.  If only these people knew how wrong they were.  Passion drives people, love drives people, people drive people.  And it’s the people I meet at the festival who drive me…

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