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

The hill road, taming the Eiger, remembering Doug Scott, and the comfort of a pencil.

Nature and environment

The Hill Road — a perceptive and thought-provoking piece from Matt Cross in his new blog, A Strange Country Almanac, about grant-driven forestry (and solastalgia too, I guess). ‘In truth few of us can look too long at ourselves when we are talking about landscape, because the same forces that give us the predictable comfort we crave draw the neatly mounded lines across hills and put the spruce trees where there were once sheep and cattle. The lives we want to live and the landscape we want to see are not often compatible.’

Tree Planting & Donald Trump’s Dunes — the latest Inkcap is a good’un.


The Swiss mountain that’s changing forever — there are a lot of words in this piece like ‘modernize’, ‘quicker’, ‘successful’, ‘sleeker’, and ‘streamline’. I hate to gatekeep anyone’s experience in the mountains but I can’t help feeling that this will forever diminish the Eiger. Is it our role to dominate and tame mountains, crush them down to our level? More access can be a good thing, but where do we draw the line?

Remembering Doug Scott — Jon Barton at Vertebrate Publishing pays tribute to his friend Doug Scott, legendary mountaineer.

Doug Scott, an appreciation — Chris Lines pays tribute.

Winter Is Here. Deep Snow In The Cairngorms — Chris Townsend has put his snowshoes to good use in the Northern Corries.

The winners of The Great Outdoors Reader Awards 2020 — some well-deserved winners in here.

Books, writing and editing

20 Haiku About 2020 — these hit close to home!

The comfort of a pencil — unlike Austin, I am not into buying fancy and expensive pencils (bog-standard Staedtlers work fine for me), but everything else about this is spot on. ‘In an era of infinite screens, the humble pencil feels revolutionarily direct: It does exactly what it does, when it does it, right in front of you.’

Which are our bestselling books of 2020? — Vertebrate Publishing blog about their top books of the year.

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By Alex Roddie

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

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