The willow walk, why photos lie, staying alive in the mountains, and 21 years on Ben Nevis

This week’s Pinnacle Reads

This week’s Pinnacle Reads include a selection of links on conservation (including a great story from the Cairngorms), climbing and risk, the fine art of hot tenting, and some tough talk on fancy notebooks. Enjoy.

The Willow Walk: why a team of volunteers carried 3,000 saplings into the Cairngorms – a great conservation story here from Walkhighlands. ‘The downy willow saplings may only be small, but they are part of a much larger picture – one that is full of hope.’

Why are our national parks failing to protect nature? – a good piece by Hannah Lindon at TGO. ‘National parks are consistently failing to deliver for biodiversity across the UK.’

Writing on Nature, Landscape & Place – a great resource from Merryn Glover, collating a list of journals and other publications that feature writing on nature, landscape, place and ecology.

Staying Alive! Climbing and Risk – this is an excellent essay on risk, summit fever, and the games climbers play. ‘Most of all, I fought for my life, I refused to give in. Ultimately, with survival, fighting for your life trumps all else.’

My Photos Lie – ‘I have no photos that show the joy I felt as I took my first steps into the woods. I have no photos that capture the feel of rough earth underfoot – of rock, soil, mud, rushing water, soft snow, ice, slick tree root, loose stones and grit.’

Life in a Hot Tent – John Burns has discovered the joys of a sort of ‘mobile bothy’, enabling him to camp in much greater comfort (and style!) than a backpacking shelter. 

Mountains & lochs: a walk in the NW Highlands – great photos here from Chris Townsend up in the northwest. 

21 Years on Ben Nevis – the John Muir Trust are celebrating 21 years of caring for the UK’s highest mountain. It was a pleasure and a privilege to write this piece for the Sidetracked field journal.

My Nevis: Mick Tighe – a fantastic selection of stories, folklore and knowledge about Ben Nevis here from Mick Tighe, writing for the John Muir Trust’s blog.

Surely these notebooks will help me create amazing things – real talk here about fancy notebooks. ‘You dream about being a writer who sits somewhere aesthetically pleasing or at least worthy of appearing in a scene in a biopic about you while frantically writing longhand because your hand can hardly keep up with your brain as the magic happens, but really when your actual ideas come to you, people see you tapping your phone and assume you’re just another person texting their spouse from the line at the grocery store asking if you should have picked up more garlic, tweeting inane shit as @Dave674359 while walking your dog, or replying to work emails instead of enjoying that slice of pizza on the patio.’

Until next time,


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