Ordnance Survey

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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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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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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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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Heal the Pain…

For over a year, I’ve been struggling with the nerves in my right arm.  After many appointments, tests and opinions, I recently underwent surgery on my Ulna Nerve in an attempt to heal the pain.  It’s too early to know whether it was worth getting my 26th scar, but time will tell…

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Racing for the Bottom…

Thousands of years of schooling, learning and education should have provided society with the most intellectual humans ever seen.  The philosophy of ancient Greece, the mathematics of Babylonia and the nuclear science of CERN should make us superbly intelligent.  So why do we choose to ignore them..?  It’s because we race for the simplest way or the lowest common denominator…

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Jordan 2018 – Searching for a Desert Rose…

I’m a mountaineer.  I climb mountains, love mountains and speak about mountains.  People drive me as wild as I do them, because of my adventures, cock ups and rescues, but I travel to other places too.  I’ve bashed through dense jungles, crossed open plains and sailed oceans across the globe.  During late 2017 I decided that I needed a change.  The year had been a tough one and I was tired.  Tired physically, tired mentally and tired emotionally.  I needed a break, but wasn’t sure what to do.

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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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High Winds and Helping Hands – The Ninth Frostbite Report…

Every winter in Scotland is a lottery when it come to the weather.  I’ve experienced everything from snowdrifts to sunburn and blue sky to thick fog.  Driving north to the Cairngorms, my friend Ian and I were buffeted and bashed even at lower levels.  We drove to the Cairngorm Mountain Ski Centre for a quick look at the conditions before checking into our accommodation.  We opened the car doors and almost took off.  The next days foray into the hills saw us beat a hasty retreat when the wind speed picked up to hair-raising and visibility dropped to nil.  For some, this would be scary to say the least.  In my world – welcome to the mountains.

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