If you’ve ventured into the winter hills more than once or twice, you’ll have seen winter climbers: men and women with short, bent-shaft ice axes strapped to their packs, marching at speed up to the North Face of Ben Nevis or into the Northern Corries. Are they mad? Perhaps – but if you’re winter climbing curious too, here’s a primer for the winter walker who dreams of more vertical challenges.
In the end, it wasn’t about the miles
At the start of 2017, I decided to take on ViewRanger’s Walk2017 challenge. The idea is simple: you pick a mileage target—500, 1,000 or 1,500—then aim to hike it over the course of the year. Because I had several long-distance walks planned, I picked 1,500 miles, which I hoped would present a challenge without being impossible to achieve.
Through ups and downs, I’ve stuck with it, and I hit 1,500 miles on the 31st of December (1,504 miles, actually).
Nine of the best, from Ardgour to Norway
For the last few years it’s been my custom to do a roundup of my year in the outdoors, but this year I have been posting monthly photo updates and I feel that ground has already been covered.
2017 has, however, been a very good year for wild camps. While it has lagged slightly behind 2015 and 2016 in terms of nights spent under canvas – I’ve only camped for 51 nights this year – I’ve put a bit more effort into finding that elusive perfect camping spot.
As I near the end of my attempt to walk 1,500 miles in 2017 (yes, I should just about make it!) it’s time to post my penultimate gallery of images.
After a quieter month, things are moving into high gear at Pinnacle Editorial HQ, and my time is now fully accounted for until the end of February 2018.
I have a varied mix of projects on the go at the moment:
- I’ve just started work on Vol.11 of the peerless Sidetracked magazine;
- Exciting new projects on my desk (or soon to land on my desk) from long-term clients John Burns, Keith Foskett, and others;
- My ongoing responsibilities for The Great Outdoors magazine;
- Several new clients on the horizon with outdoor or adventure non-fiction manuscripts;
- Outdoor features for The Great Outdoors and UKHillwalking;
- Somewhere in the midst of that lot, I’d like to fit in at least two trips to snowy Scotland and a few days off over Christmas.
So while this might not be welcome news for potential clients who are looking for an editor over the next couple of months, I have achieved one of the goals I set for myself when I started Pinnacle Editorial: for the bulk of my work to come from outdoor/adventure non-fiction. By specialising in this genre, my area of greatest expertise, I’ve made myself a clear choice for outdoor writers who are looking for editorial support.
The future of Pinnacle Editorial
In 2014, I started out as an editor working entirely on fiction manuscripts from indie authors. This was a good choice at the time and I worked on a wide range of great books from several writers, some of whom are still clients to this day.
But, as much as I enjoy working on fiction, there are a lot of fiction editors out there and it’s hard to differentiate yourself. Fiction can also be very time consuming for money that, to be honest, isn’t that great. Indie authors are not rolling in cash, and while I was happy to offer lower rates when I was starting out and gaining experience, I now stick broadly to the SfEP’s recommended minimum rates.
I’ve found far greater success – not to mention job satisfaction – in focusing on outdoor writing. This is now the kind of work that I write and publish myself, and the kind of writing that I read in my spare time. I live and breathe outdoor books and magazines. Frankly it would be weird not to specialise in this subject.
So, from 2018, I will no longer be considering fiction manuscripts from new clients. While I’ll continue to work on selected fiction projects from established clients, taking on new fiction writers simply isn’t a good decision for me any more. But if you have a book about mountains, adventure or the outdoors, and are looking for an editor in 2018, let’s talk.