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Category: Outdoors

Senses: Touch

Senses: Touch

Wash your hands after touching anything. Or better still, don’t touch anything, and then wash your hands anyway. My permitted walks have become an exercise in crossing stiles without making contact. And immediately dousing myself in hand gel if my concentration lapses and I accidentally brush past a leaf. And human contact has stopped altogether. I’m not one for hugging every person I pass in the street but an element of touch does come naturally to us. We shake hands…

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I miss the mountains

I miss the mountains

I miss the mountains. I miss fine-tuning the route. Reading guidebooks. Poring over maps. Checking the weather forecast. I miss packing my rucksack. Sorting my kit. Filling my water bottles. Making a sandwich and deciding how many Mars Bars to take. I miss loading up the car the night before. Laying out my clothes ready. I miss going to bed early. Waking up in the early hours. Sneaking out of bed and wolfing down some breakfast. Creeping around the house…

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Can not Can’t

Can not Can’t

Writing has taken a back seat these past few weeks. COVID-19 – “The Virus” – has hit and cast a shadow over the world. And writing about the outdoors and work-life balance has felt, well, a little trivial. I’m lucky in that lockdown hasn’t meant too many adjustments for me. My work is largely done from home, I don’t eat out too often and I quite enjoy my family’s company. My friends joke that social distancing is where I excel!…

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Navigation Nuggets

Navigation Nuggets

When it comes to hillwalking, having the right skills is a key component of being adventure smart. And competent navigation in the hills is arguably one of the most important. You might be a human TomTom but there’s always more to learn. And the good news is there’s no substitute for getting outside as much as possible to practise, practise and then practise some more. If you are just starting out then map and compass skills can appear somewhat as…

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Patience

Patience

I reckon we should all try to have a little more patience. I grew up in a time before self-checkouts and online shopping. When sending an e-mail meant plugging a cable in and keeping your fingers crossed someone didn’t try to use the phone as you connected via dial-up. Mobile phones were used to speak to people. Doing a project at school meant heading to the library or, if you were lucky, digging out the Encarta CD-ROM. I remember the…

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Ultimate Hillwalker’s Flapjack Recipe

Ultimate Hillwalker’s Flapjack Recipe

A walk of any length requires some decent snacks in your rucksack to keep you powering up those hills. Flapjack takes some beating. It’s easy to make, it doesn’t melt like chocolate and you can tailor the recipe to your tastes. Plain flapjack is tasty enough but supercharging it into the ultimate hill snack means adding your own ‘secret ingredient’. Chocolate chips, raisins, or even ginger are firm favourites. I’ve recently taken things up a notch with a mix of…

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Running in the woods

Running in the woods

I don’t have the stats on this but I reckon January is one of the more popular months for running. I rarely see other runners when I’m out but 1st January tends to mark a change. Whether it’s starting as you mean to go on, or blowing away the cobwebs after the excesses of the festive period, lots of people reach for their trainers come January. It tends not to last though. As the months go by, numbers dwindle as…

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Other people’s adventures

Other people’s adventures

Last weekend saw the first proper snowfall of the year in the Lake District. My Twitter feed has since been inundated with glorious photos of the mountains in their Winter coats. It’s been so tempting to drop everything, drive up there and head for the nearest summit to experience this magical landscape for myself. But that would be foolish. I don’t have the right kit for climbing mountains in Winter. I certainly don’t have the right skills. And although most…

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How to enjoy the outdoors when it’s cold and you’d rather stay inside…

How to enjoy the outdoors when it’s cold and you’d rather stay inside…

Let’s face it, many people find it harder to enjoy the outdoors when it’s cold. December is a busy time of year for many with work, not to mention ‘the C word’ just around the corner. The shorter days and dark nights mean it’s harder to motivate yourself when the sofa looks so inviting. But those who can fight the natural urge to stay tucked up warm in bed are on to something. With the right mindset, it’s possible to…

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Kendal Mountain Festival and Everyday Adventures

Kendal Mountain Festival and Everyday Adventures

Last Friday saw me in the Lake District for the Kendal Mountain Festival. As a first-time festival goer, I booked myself on to a couple of talks and went with an open mind to see what KMM has to offer. Here’s how I got on… If you don’t know Kendal, it’s not hard to find the Brewery Arts Centre, home to the festival’s ‘basecamp’ for the long weekend. ‘Follow the people in down jackets’ is as good advice as any….

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