Year of the Snake

I swore blind to a friend I wasn't going to do this, but as I glance furtively at the year ahead with a mix of anxiety and anticipation, it seems right to cast an eye back over 2013.  Hopefully this isn't too indulgent, and makes for interesting eye candy via the links.

2013 was the year we stopped being visitors in Scotland, and made it our home.  The honeymoon was definitely over, but our comprehension deepened.  Whatever (y)our personal views, Scotland in the year before a vote on Independence is a land full of debate and potential - a vibrant and exciting place to be.  That spirit of engagement is worth celebrating.

Our personal lives grew complex for a time, but slowly we grew alongside.  And I was also outside alot, and for the first time that meant work as well as play.  This was very definitely not a bad thing.  I cut my teeth on some new tricks and (I hope) got better at some old ones.  The new year holds new unknowns, but I guess that isn't new.  In the meantime, here are some personal highlights:

January, and my first Hogmanay in Scotland.  We also built an igloo with some new friends.

February, and I met up with Fraser in the wintery heart of the highlands, for two beginner's mountaineering routes that ended up as a feature in the December issue of The Great Outdoors Magazine.

March, and another winter weather window.  T, phil and I went back to the Cairngorms for Easter.  Our almost alpine weekender ended up featuring in the recent British Moutaineering Council's (BMC) Summit Magazine.

April was busy, first Arran to see family and get blown off Goatfell, Italy for The Great Outdoors, and then back to the Isles for Outdoors Enthusiast magazine. Our squally trip around the 'lost coast' on Skye made for a reflective way to round out the month.

May, I gave a talk about the HRP in London, and we had A Rum One.  On reflection, this was probably the most satisfying trip of the year personally - the right mix of fun, weather, history, exertion and relaxation.  It's due in The Great Outdoors Magazine in Spring 2014.  I also wrote up a route for Walk Highlands across the Rum Cuillin.

June, I learnt how to Packraft in Inverpolly with Backcountrybiking.  Or at least, began to learn.  Articles appeared in The Great Outdoors and Outdoor Enthusiast in the autumn.

In July, there was a heatwave on Ben Lawyers, and an attempt on a classic round that challenged mentally and physically.  A different take on this was written up for Mountain Pro Magazine in the autumn.  I got the gig for the feature by email as I stood on the 18th Munro of the circuit. 

August, I went walking in the Rhinogs on a photo shoot, and then photographed Todd and Phil looking heroic in the Alps.  Our tale of 3 men in a Bongo should be popping up in Outdoors Enthusiast next year.

September saw a trip to the Bridge of Orchy Munros on two wheels, talking at the Edinburgh Night of Adventure about... nights of adventure, and a pitch perfect bushcraft trip across Loch Lomond led by Tam from Wild by Nature.  Another for Outdoor Enthusiast, spring 2014.

October, I was out twice and both times with friends - once on the ridges and scrambles around the glens of Affric and Shiel, and then onto Loch Maree and Torridon with a packraft.  One or both of these are slated for The Great Outdoors Magazine as features next year.

November was spent exploring the gentler parts of Perthshire, and I took a trip around Glen Lyon that I'm hoping will pop up somewhere soon enough.  The packraft section of that trip didn't exactly work out as planned.

December, and a 3 day packraft trip on the River Dee during a huge thaw meant some choppy water and honing some skills, working my way past dangerous to amateur.

May the trail rise up to meet you.  Forward, Avanti!

Walkie Talkie

On Saturday 11th May, I will be speaking as part of an evening about walking at Westminster Reference Library, central London.  I'll be talking about the sea to sea walk on the Haute Route Pyrenees, and sharing some new photos and thoughts from the trip.

As per our original HRP walk, proceeds from the evening (including all book sales) will be split between the music education charity Soundmix and the conservation charity The John Muir Trust. 

Links to advance tickets, and the speakers and artists involved are below.   

Nick Hunt walked from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul.
David Lintern (that's me) walked across the Pyrenees.
Ingrid Plum writes and performs music about landscape.
Foster Spragge makes real-time walking drawings.
Tim Mitchell launches a limited edition photobook 'Up & Down the Pyrenees'.

Sat 11th May, 7.30-10.30pm.  
Licensed bar.  
Advance tickets £6 available through http://www.ticketlab.co.uk/event/id/11

Westminster Reference Library
35 St Martins Street
London WC2H 7HP
Nearest tube: Leicester Square

Thanks to Tim Mitchell for organising all this, and thanks to the participants for donating their time and artworks for free.  It's a great venue and the evening promises some real variety in outlook and approach to putting one foot in front of the other.   It'd  be fantastic to see some of you there.

The last word goes to Ingrid, who'll be performing on the night:


Semi confessional

Over the last few months I've had a few things published out there in the world, not directly connected to this blog.  I thought I'd better get over myself and post about them here.

Top of the list is a feature in TGO magazine, April issue, about my coast to coast walk in the Pyrenees.  This walk seems like a long time ago now, but I'm really pleased that TGO were interested - it feels like a natural fit.  I've also got a photo contribution in this months 'Escapes' supplement, about one of my favourite haunts, Aberlady Bay.  It's out now, folks, go get...

Next up, and a bit of a surprise, was a 2 page portfolio of photos in Landscape Photography Magazine, March issue.  I submitted a raft of stuff 6 months ago, and only found out recently I made the cut.  I'm pleased I managed to give my stepdad an acknowledgment somewhere relevant for teaching me the rudiments of film photography on family holidays in Wales all those years ago.  Funny what sticks.

Following a photo essay in Mountain Pro Magazine, I've done some more work for Target Publishing, this time an article for Outdoors Enthusiast Retailer Magazine, spring edition.  This was all about modular gear choices, no real surprises for the technical amongst you, but hopefully a more inclusive/less about the bling way of thinking about modern hiking and camping techniques, which is kinda ironic, given that it was written for a trade paper.  Or is it?  Read on to find out.

photo courtesy of Phil Turner

The winning photo from the Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival  photography award was published in the MCofS Magazine spring 2013, which is quite an honour in my universe.  It's a high quality, feature rich magazine, and the photo printed well.  Almost worth moving to Scotland and transferring my BMC membership for.

Better than pixels - A few months ago I blathered on like a teenager about creating a new website for the photos, but I've had no time to focus on that.  In the meantime, I have had some printing done by the top print company in the UK using a really beautiful archive grade giclee paper, so you can buy any photos you see on this blog, or on Flickr (except the old ones, which are rubbish) mounted, signed and numbered, for A3 - £40, 1:1 - £35, A4 - £30, including P&P to anywhere in Europe, (add £7.50 for rest of the world).  Just let me know what you want and the preferred size using the contact form, and we'll sort out payment using paypal.  In time I hope to sort out a better mechanism, but I want to try a few things locally first to test the market properly.  Anyway, just holler - the prints are really stunning (even if I do say so myself!)

I've also added a tab at the top of this blog called press, where I'll squirrel away the archive for things like this in the future.  There are one or two more things in the pipeline which I'll tell you about if, as and when they come to pass - I'd rather not speak too soon. 

Keywording my Tombstone - Lastly, I've joined the growing number of outdoors folk contributing to photo stock agencies, so if you work in the trade and want something, let me know...

Pennies from Heaven - I've never made any bones about the fact that this blog is a very personal take on the outdoors, but I'm also enjoying the learning curve involved in occasionally writing and taking photos for new and different contexts.  The financial rewards are mostly tiny - as it stands at the moment, I'll pay off my fancy new camera just as digital becomes obsolete and we're jacking into the mainframe telepathically.  Then again, that's hardly the point - anything is a bonus, on top of days and nights out in places that renew us.  So I'll continue to do it for the love first and foremost, and hopefully that love will shine through either way. 

Thanks for tuning in, see you on the hill.

Keith Foskett interview

Keith Foskett is a UK thru hiker who has tackled the Camino de Santiago in Spain, the Pacific Crest Trail and now the Appalachian Trail both in the USA.  In this interview, I caught up with him just after he returned from the 2100miles of the AT. 

We've been meaning to do this since he came back from the PCT, so it was a real pleasure to finally sit down to chat, over a year later than originally planned and after his second big US walk.  Keith is a really humble guy and talks openly about his experiences on the walks, how they have changed his outlook, as well as the practical aspects of the 3 long distance trails he has completed.  

Keith has written 2 books about his travels and is writing a third - they are available directly from his website here 

The audio can also be downloaded here for use on mobile devices.  Many thanks to Terry Abraham and Josh Myers for use of their photographs.