What I’ve been reading this week, 23 May 2020

Beginning with the redstart, a virtual TGO Challenge, tales from rural lockdown, and dandelions.

(A lot of online writing has some link to the pandemic now, so these categories are more blurred than ever!)

Environment and nature

Country diary: let’s begin with the redstart – Mark Cocker writes about one of Britain’s most beautiful birds.


Solitude – this intense piece from Ursula Martin, author of One Woman Walks Wales, is one of the finest pieces of writing I’ve read all week.

The TGO Challenge, pictures from the first two events and this year’s virtual Challenge – this is a fantastic post from Chris Townsend about the first two TGO Challenge events (this year’s, of course, was called off due to the pandemic, but was conducted virtually instead).

Covid Dreams 18: Traverse of the Gods – another great Cairngorms ‘Covid Dream’ from Neil Reid.


Life under lockdown: Stories from those working in rural tourism and the outdoors – Walkhighlands have brought together a range of voices in this piece, including those of several people I know personally. As a former Clachaig employee, the words of Ed Daynes hit particularly hard: ‘The Clachaig is a social animal. It’s all about getting together, most often after a day in the hills. Being “socially distant” therefore doesn’t compute… Just talking about the very idea of it feels like the character that defines our business has been lost already.’

Lockdown Scotland – Limited Scope for Walkers and Climbers – some clarity from UKHillwalking.

Coronavirus: Security flaws found in NHS contact-tracing app – I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.

Increase in illegal bird of prey killings during lockdown – I am Jack’s… you get the picture.

Books, writing and editing

Mountain Literature Classics: The Big Walks – another of Ronald Turnbull’s Mountain Literature Classics pieces for UKH. I haven’t read The Big Walks; looks like it should be on my list.


Love Dandelions – a wonderful On Landscape photo essay from Veronica Worrall, including some atmospheric images from Orford Ness, a favourite place of mine.

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By Alex Roddie

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

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