What I’ve been reading this week, 12 July 2020

Planting trees won’t save us, counting the cost of campfires, Scotland’s best mountains for landscape photography, and hillwalkers return to the hills.

Environment and nature

Why Planting Trees Won’t Save Us – sobering reading. What’s the point of planting a trillion trees if our climate is becoming so hostile to forests that huge swathes of these new woodlands will be wiped out? ‘As Anderegg’s paper points out, if we keep burning fossil fuels and heating up the planet, the impact on forests could be so great that instead of being a climate crisis solution, forests could become a climate crisis accelerant.’

‘Landscape of fear’: what a mass of rotting reindeer carcasses taught scientists – this is fascinating.

Counting the cost of campfires to the countryside – Ben Dolphin, writing about the problem of campfires in the countryside: ‘As wild and untouched as it might look out there, nowhere is off the beaten track any more.’


Plunged in – after weeks of isolation during lockdown, Ursula has resumed her massive journey on foot across Europe. Splendid writing here as always. ‘In some ways I think I’m not quite as tough as people imagine, I just make sure that I put myself in unavoidable situations which means I’m forced to deal with them.’

No Country for Brown (Wo)Men? Opinion – an eloquent piece by Faraz Shibli about barriers, opportunity, and representation. ‘It can lead to feelings of alienation from green spaces – that the countryside isn’t a place for people like us.’

Eight Great Scottish Hills for Landscape Photographers – James Roddie shares some fantastic images and valuable photographic tips from the Scottish mountains.

A homecoming – Lucy Wallace: ‘Getting back to the mountains has been a full-body, sensory experience. Every part of me has been involved. From the scent of the damp earth, to the fizz of the wind over rock, it’s all felt mysterious, and comfortingly familiar. The last few months have been difficult, but for every question, the outdoors seems to have an answer. It is good to be back.’

A Glorious Return To The Hills On Meall a’Bhuachaille – Chris Townsend has been back to the mountains too.

Books, writing and editing

Introducing Style Check – iA Writer, one of the best Markdown text editors, has introduced an automated editing feature. This looks interesting, and it could certainly help some people, although I like my text editor to be as unopinionated as possible.

Freelance job opportunities: proofreaders – Vertebrate Publishing, who will be publishing my own book, are looking for freelance proofreaders. If you have a strong view on ‘bivy’ versus ‘bivvy’ then you should definitely apply.


Garmin Instinct Solar Review: What’s New & Different – DC Rainmaker reviews the new Solar Instinct outdoor watch from Garmin. I have the original Instinct, and battery life is the only major downside, other than the usual software glitches. Even without solar charging, the improved battery life on the new model looks worthwhile. The hefty price increase is hard to swallow, though. One of the benefits of the Instinct was that it was a fraction of the price of a Fenix.

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By Alex Roddie

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

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