What I’ve been reading this week, 3 January 2020

Empty labels, hiker ruins family Christmas, Norway to Scotland by foot and bike, and the empty promises of minimalism.

Environment and nature

Danish farmers divided over plan to flood their lands to cut emissions – this is an interesting piece, illustrating some of the conflicts that will rise to the surface as land use changes in the coming years and decades.

Convert half of UK farmland to nature, urges top scientist – I like to think that this is a vision of the future. It may sound radical and scary, but it could (and should) be made to work for everyone. It could lead to a new flourishing of rural communities.

On Brontë country’s moors, the end of grouse shooting is in sight – this could be good news.

Empty labels – Lisbet Rausing is one of the more enlightened of Scotland’s landowners, as I found out recently when I edited a book by a former Highlands land agent that included an essay by Rausing. She has worked wonders at Corrour Estate.

Long-distance hiking and the outdoors

The winners of The Great Outdoors Reader Awards 2019 – congratulations to the winners!

Hiker Ruins Family Christmas With Overly Specific Wish List – I laughed far too hard at this.

The solstice on Cairn Gorm – Chris Townsend had a glorious trip up onto Cairn Gorm for the solstice. I doubt it looks this snowy now!

Norway to Scotland by foot and bike – although this trip by Colin Ibbotson didn’t work out, it’s still an incredible journey.


Favourite images of 2019 – some cracking images here from my brother James.

Shooting the breeze – Anke Addy – a great interview by David Lintern with Cairngorms-based photographer Anke Addy.

Where to from here? – interesting thoughts on the current state of sharing our photography online, although this blog post poses more questions than it answers.

Books, writing, and editing

Mountain Literature Classics: My Climbs in the Alps & Caucasus by Albert Mummery – Ronald Turnbull introduces a classic volume by a titan of the Golden Age of Mountaineering.

Leaving the Wild and Crazy Decade of the Self-Publishing Revolution – this is an interesting look at just how much publishing has changed since 2010.


The empty promises of Marie Kondo and the craze for minimalism – this is a fascinating deep dive into the countercultural movement of minimalism. ‘It is an abstract, almost nostalgic desire – a pull toward a different, simpler world. Not past or future, neither utopian nor dystopian, this more authentic world is always just beyond our current existence, in a place we can never quite reach.’

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By Alex Roddie

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

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