What I’ve been reading this week, 24 October 2020

A bumper instalment this weekend, as I didn’t publish last week. A landscape of hope, the impact of Coronavirus on outdoor education, traverse of the Mamores, an open-source fleece, and photographs from peak to shining peak.

Nature and environment

Red Backed Shrike And Vigo The Bearded Vulture — wonderful images of two wonderful birds from Pete Walkden.

Langholm — a landscape of hope — the Langholm community buyout plan is something I’ve read about here and there over the last few months, but David Lintern has really brought the project to life in this piece for Walkhighlands. This feels like the future, but it won’t be easy.


A Glorious Cairngorms Trip Above The Clouds — absolutely sumptuous stuff here from Chris Townsend, who found a real treat up in the Cairngorms.

Coronavirus – The Impact on Outdoor Centres, Guides and Instructors — from Dan Bailey: ‘If no action is taken and no support is provided this academic year the sector stands to lose all its 15,000 jobs and nearly half its capacity permanently, decimating a vital British industry.’

The Big Routes: Traverse of the Mamores — another good piece from Dan at UKHillwalking, describing one of Scotland’s all-time classic big walks. I’ve enjoyed many a day out in these hills, most recently in September 2019, and this piece has me itching to return.

The Power of Human Connection — Alex Staniforth: ‘World Mental Health Day seemed the perfect opportunity to talk about isolation. The outdoors can be a lonely place.’

Houdini and Polartec makes open-source fleece jacket to help designers fight plastic waste — MyOutdoors reports on a development whose significance I fear may slip under the radar. Open-source design is not something we’re used to seeing in the outdoor equipment industry. Another one to be filed under ‘this feels like the future’.

The Cuillin Traverse — to do or not to do? — Mark Horrell ponders a traverse of the Cuillin with a knee injury and a head full of doubts. ‘Even with a miraculous two-day Skye weather window, my two injuries were going to be a problem.’

Books, writing, and publishing

An autumn update — as Sheffield enters another lockdown, Jon Barton at Vertebrate Publishing pens another detailed blog post on how they’re coping and adapting. Times remain hugely challenging for the world of outdoor literature. I’d urge you all to continue supporting writers and publishers directly rather than sending your pennies in Amazon’s direction.

Experience and Research: Writing Big Trails by Kathy Rogers — Kathy Rogers, who has recently published two Big Trails guidebooks with Vertebrate, writes about the process of creating these books. They’re out now. I have a few photos in each.


From Peak to Shining Peak — ‘The encouraging news is that I feel my best images are still an improvement over my previous efforts. But the question remains, why have I become a less productive photographer?’


Successes in a Disaster Year — Emily Woodhouse writes about some of the things she’s achieved this year. I’m sharing this mainly because we all hear a lot of bad news at the moment, so it’s good to learn of something positive for a change!

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By Alex Roddie

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

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