What I’ve been reading this week, 8 August 2020

Mountain hares bear the brunt, the grief of lost hikes, minimum-impact wild camping, and along the Yukon River.

Environment and nature

A visit to Rottal Estate in Glenclova – Alan Stewart investigates how the Rottal Estate is helping to preserve nature. It’s good to see estates taking a more progressive attitude. ‘On the marginal land not only was the tree planting regime impressive but so was the natural regeneration of trees, particularly birch.’

Unconfirmed reports of mountain hare culls on several Scottish grouse moors – if true, this is scandalous but hardly unexpected. For balance, here’s a somewhat prickly rebuttal from the Scottish Gamekeepers Association.

Outside In: James Roddie – this week on Outside In podcast, John Burns interviews my brother James Roddie. They chat about wildlife photography, nature, and what’s next for Scotland’s wild places.

Childhood connection to nature has many benefits but is not universally positive, finds review – ‘this connection is complex and can also generate negative emotions linked to issues like climate change.’

Irreplaceable – an interview with Julian Hoffman — Elsewhere – ‘It didn’t take long to realise that the size of a place bears little relationship to its depth, or to the quality of connection fostered there by people. Our attachments to place can be founded on the small and intimate as easily as the expansive and remote.’


Navigating the grief of a lost PCT thru-hike – Sally Phillips writes about the sense of loss, grief and guilt that comes from being forced to abandon plans for a major adventure in the time of COVID-19. I think many of us can identify with aspects of this.

Be a minimum-impact wild camper – a good primer from The Great Outdoors about how to practise leave-no-trace wild camping.

Trail Runners Vs Hiking Boots: A 30 Year Perspective – a fantastic, in-depth piece by Cam Honan on the benefits of trail shoes for backpacking.

A high route across the Wind River Range – a great trip report from Semi-Rad. Looks like tremendously wild country.

Along the Yukon River & through the Klondike Goldfields. Stage 4 of my Yukon walk, July 13 – August 3, 1990 – evocative photos from Chris Townsend, reminiscing on a big walk he completed 30 years ago.


If you’re not terrified about Facebook, you haven’t been paying attention – ‘We know social media is a bin fire and that the world is burning. But it’s like the pandemic. We understand in outline how bad things could get. But we remain hopelessly human. Relentlessly optimistic.’

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By Alex Roddie

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

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