Printer Friendly Version 24 October 2010

About Me


“Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever” Lance Armstrong

I have been enjoying the fells and mountains of the UK all my life and gained a rich understanding of the landscapes of both England and Scotland. In reality my walking experience falls in to 3 distinct phases. The vast majority of my family holidays when I was younger were spent at a small cottage in the village of Threlkeld, near Keswick. Here my father took a fairly reluctant son and his friend out on the fells of the LakeDistrict. Weather conditions seemed irrelevant and I guess during this period I simply became used to being on the fells and they became just part of what I did. Gradually my dad’s knees stopped him coming out and the Wainwright books (not maps) started to direct my efforts. They are still part of my motivation and simply the best guide books written, by a country mile. By my late teens and early 20s I had completed a first round of Wainwrights and was leading groups of friends into the hills.

My brother introduced me to the Munros in my early 20s and for 15 years they dominated my walking life. Long weekends taken alone or with Barry, Alistair, JP and Bracken the dog became extremely focussed on ticking the summits. Routes needed to be planned meticulously, map reading (on 1/50,000) was vital, as was accurate compass work but it was hard work on the hill. Many of the walks included overnights in bothies or tents and long days of up to 12 hours almost continual walking. This gave me a great confidence to ‘operate’ in the mountains and I came to love the freedom and exhileration of being in a remote and challenging environment.

However the Munros and tops were completed and I cut back on the long drive up the M74 to Scotland. My job had taken me to the Yorkshire Dales and I had a young family so I turned closer to home for my walking fix. First of all I completed my Mountain Leader course but soon started exploring the Dales. I was still driven by summits (principally because it gives me a focus for a walk, which I like) but I also took the family on non hill walks, increasing my understanding of this fantastic area that I live in. Family holidays have nearly always been taken in Scotland or the Lakes which the whole family seemed to enjoy and made me think ‘why feel obliged to go abroad when there is so much good stuff on our doorstep’.

I do like planning walking routes, poring over maps and looking at the best and most exciting route but walks rarely turn out as planned so I strongly believe in the philosophy of making it up as you go along. As long as you understand a map and where you are on the map you will not get in to danger, Wainwright always used to say that the ‘mountains do not cause injury, only people do’ and as ever he is right. Put a plan together by all means but do not feel obliged to stick to it, the mountains and valleys are friendly and interesting places, very few people get in to any serious trouble so explore the area, look around and you are far more likely to enjoy the whole experience.