The fastpacking project, climbing and humanity, the future of sled dog racing, and walking this way | The Pinnacle
Since we last spoke a few weeks ago, I've been putting my new plan to develop my fitness as a trail runner into action.
The morning run has become a permanent fixture of my schedule (although I've been varying the route, distance, and pace), and I've even completed my first fastpacking trip – a 69km circuit in the Lake District incorporating 15 summits and 4,000m of ascent. It wasn't all running by any means, but fastpacking rarely is, and I feel like I've made an excellent start to the year. I’ve also completed my first 100% running half marathon.
Fitness gains aside, other aspects of the fastpacking project are coming along very well. I've previously written about my plans to do a big route in the Alps this year. Although I can't be too specific about this yet, the route will be incorporated into a big adventure project. I'm fantastically excited about what's ahead.
Also, it just feels good to get my teeth into a new learning curve. Backpacking is a thing that I know how to do. Packing light is a thing that I know how to do. But multi-day running in the mountains is something entirely new to me, and it's always good to be a learner.
I've been busy since my last newsletter, so there are quite a few personal updates before we get to my links of interest!
Wild Writer Series online talk with the John Muir Trust, 23 Feb 2022 - my next online talk will be for the John Muir Trust, and I’ll be exploring what I learned about nature and conservation in Scotland’s mountain landscape, as well as climate change, on my 2019 winter Cape Wrath Trail.
Sheffield Adventure Film Festival talk, 20 March 2022 - and here’s my next talk out there in the real world. It’s a free event at ShAFF in Sheffield.
Much later in the year, I’ll also be speaking with Jenny Tough at the Sidetracked Creators Tour. The date and venue for this one are TBC but it will be either late October or early November, and probably at a venue in Scotland.
The Sidetracked Adventure Fund - we’re very excited to be bringing the Adventure Fund back for 2022, supported by the Sidetracked Creators Tour. The winning applicant will be awarded £1,500 towards their expedition as well as access to the Sidetracked team of athletes, photographers and writers (that includes me!) - and we’ll help you tell the story of your journey as well.
Digital mapping & apps for hiking: 7 of the best reviewed - much to my surprise, Outdooractive came out on top in this comparative review. This was not an easy decision to make - I personally prefer Topo GPS for my own usage - but breadth of features and mass appeal had to win out over niche power-user scenarios. I hope this piece is useful for those wondering what to do after the demise of ViewRanger.
In Conversation with Adventurous Ink - last month my book The Farthest Shore was featured on the Adventurous Ink online book club. Tim Frenneaux and I had a fascinating conversation; he asked me some very interesting questions, including several I hadn’t been asked before. The video is now up on YouTube.
Links of interest
We Can't Leave Them - Climbing and Humanity - a fantastic essay for UKClimbing by Mick Ward. ‘And that's really what this is all about. So often, in climbing, humanity is a mixture of courage and compassion. In saying to Heckmair, "We can't leave them..." Vörg was displaying outstanding courage and compassion by accepting a suddenly even greater level of risk.’
Bothy nights - words and pictures about a night at Ryvoan bothy.
The End of Sled Dog Racing - ‘Since 1984, mushers have made the annual pilgrimage to the Cairngorms to race their huskies through snow. But snow is becoming a rarity as temperatures rise. This year, the huskies raced through mud.’
How rock climbing gave me a new perspective on the world – and myself - Anna Fleming on her journey as a climber.
Walk This Way - every word of this. ‘Only when walking becomes a daily practice do the benefits really kick in. Legs get stronger and leaner. Fitness levels increase. The mind becomes clearer and calmer. Ideas start to flow.’
Until next time,
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