Ian Roddie, 1938-2018

In memory of my dad, who introduced me to the good things in life

On the 5th of August 2003, my brother James and I went for a hillwalk with our dad and our crazy golden retriever Amber.

The objective of the walk was simple: we wanted to explore the old mining valley in the Coniston fells above Tilberthwaite in the Lake District. For the previous week or so we’d been spending time as a family (minus Mum, who was at home looking after Granny), camping, revisiting old haunts from our childhoods, tramping the hills, living the good outdoor life. But for reasons that did not become clear to me for some years, the Tilberthwaite walk was destined to shine like a beacon in my memory.

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Read my feature on Alpine bivouacking in the latest Sidetracked magazine

Sidetracked Volume 11 is shipping now. This is the eighth issue of this magazine I have personally worked on, but the first I have contributed to as a writer and photographer as well as an editor.

Key themes in this issue are humanity, authenticity, and expanding our sphere of experience. There are spectacular features by Alienor Le Guovello, Sarah McNair-Landry, Sir Chris Bonington, Marco Barneveld, Ben Saunders, Mary McIntyre, and many more. Our Editor, Andrew Mazibrada, has contributed an excellent editorial on the nature of discovery.

John has made some tweaks to the design, layout and typography for this issue. I think the changes work extremely well, particularly the confident new cover design. Built on a spellbinding image by Ray Collins, in my opinion it’s the best Sidetracked cover to date.

Being a part of this team continues to be a privilege. It’s great to work with people who truly care about what they’re creating. This love and respect for the subject matter manifests itself in a rigorous editorial process, an obsessive focus on quality, and a dozen ‘no’s to every ‘yes’.


In amongst all this, there’s my little feature. It’s a ‘single moment’ – a double-page spread accompanied by a single image – and tells the story of a tense high-altitude bivouac in September 2017. It was my first unprotected bivouac above 3,000m and anxiety about circling thunderstorms came to define the experience.

Although this is the first story I’ve had published in Sidetracked, it isn’t the first I’ve pitched, which reinforces what I said above about no versus yes. The truth is that Sidetracked maintains very high standards. Despite my proven track record of delivering quality features for outdoor magazines, this is the first time I pitched something good enough to make the cut – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You can pick up your copy of Sidetracked Volume 11 at http://www.sidetracked.com/volume-11/.

This is my image published in Volume 11, depicting me on the summit of Stockhorn in the Swiss Alps

Learning to shoot slide film in 2018 with Provia 100F

35mm film is not dead

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Things I wish I’d known as a new writer

A few things you won’t learn on that creative writing course

Of all the emails I receive each week, a small but growing number are from new writers – often young, and sometimes a bit bewildered, seeking advice on writing. They don’t know where to find ideas, or they don’t know how to start, or they’re scared that the rapid pace of change in our world will obsolete the book before they can write theirs.

While I try to reply to each of these messages, I thought it was time to write down some of the things I’ve learned over the years. I hope this helps.

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The upgrade trap

Sometimes, when you think you are upgrading an item, you’re actually downgrading instead

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