What I’ve been reading this week, 17 January 2020

Haunted by the future, getting better at map reading, winter worryland, and photography gear for lightweight backpacking.

Environment and nature

Haunted by the future – this superb essay by Barbara Hurd takes a hard look at the rapidly changing Arctic. ‘Unsettled by what’s been locked underground and has begun to hiss to the surface, we learn what it is to feel haunted by the future.’

National Trust to forest vast swathes of farmland under plans to go carbon zero – I’m cautiously optimistic about this, but I haven’t seen much evidence that the National Trust is effectively managing the woodlands they currently own.

In search of Scotland’s secret rainforest – Richard Baynes finds a ‘hidden lost world’.

HS2 will destroy or damage hundreds of UK wildlife sites, says report – another example of the urgent need to take better care of the woods we already have. It’s looking like the government’s plans for biodiversity offsetting are sloppy at best – ‘amateurish suggestions of paltry measures in the wrong places’.

Long-distance hiking and the outdoors

10 Ways to Get Better at Map Reading – plenty of solid practical advice in this good skills piece from UKHillwalking.

CDT highlights – Inaki shares photos and highlights from his Continental Divide Trail.

35 years ago I was planning my Continental Divide Trail thru-hike – another blog post on the CDT, from Chris Townsend, showing how much the trail (and backpacking itself) has changed in the last 35 years.

Winter Worryland – Merryn Glover writers about the anxieties and worries that can go hand in hand with winter mountaineering.

How the Colombian páramo thwarted the Spanish conquistadors – ‘The story I’m about to tell might be total bollocks, but it’s a funny story, so I’m going to tell it anyway.’


This Photo (2) – splendid photography (and interesting captions) from David Lintern.

Beware Internet Fiction – a primer on fake news for photographers.

Photography Gear for Lightweight Backpacking – some interesting points here on camera selection for lightweight backpacking. The Canon G7x II won’t be the best choice for everyone, but it’s a lot more capable than a smartphone and strikes an attractive balance between weight and image quality, especially if you don’t need to make large prints.

Books, writing, and editing

Making up stuff – an interesting essay on ‘the space between stories and lies’ by Emar Maier.

Occupy Every Inch of Travel Notebooks by José Naranja – I’m a sucker for an attractive notebook, and these are gorgeous. They look time-consuming to create, though!

Readers can now support my writing by making a one-off donation via my tip jar. Your spare change helps keep me going on the trail!

By Alex Roddie

Award-winning outdoor and nature writer, editor, author, and photographer.

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