Monday, 30 December 2013

Best Reads of 2013

My reading diet this year was both broader in subject and more selective in quality than normal. Trekking and the Outdoors featured heavily, complementing the subject of my other day job (leadership consulting and executive coaching), and several classic works of fiction.

Trekking and the Outdoors

Monday, 16 December 2013

Thank you for helping "The Call of the Mountains" on its way

Thanks to distinguished reviewers and generous purchasers of  "The Call of the Mountains", helping it climb, at least on Amazon... 

"An interesting and worthwhile addition to the literature of the Munros and a book worth reading by anyone with an interest in the hills and hillwalking..." 
Chris Townsend, one of the world’s most experienced backpackers and outdoor writers November 2013 

Sunday, 15 December 2013

A Munro-baggers holiday: The Seven Hills of Rome

“See Rome and die!”

While Goethe's words were actually “see Naples and die,” Rome is undoubtedly the more beautiful city. Thus the chief threat to compleating a full round of her Seven Hills is the range of tempting photographic diversions and exquisite sights that the Imperial City offers.

View from the Aventine Hill


Onto last week’s business trip, I decided to tag a ‘continuous, unsupported, solo round’ of the hills, and started with the historical and topographic research that enhances any adventure. Several things readily become apparent:

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Munroists, Toppists, Furthists and more

[Charts corrected 13 December]
Having compleated the Munros last year and the Furth Munros last week, I was curious to know what company I was in. I turned to the SMC website and fired up my Excel spreadsheets. But I am a data fiend, so I quickly got drawn deeply into the world of Munroists, Toppists, Furthists and more.
Below I offer answers to such exciting questions as: how many people have climbed all the Furths? How many have climbed all the Furths and all the Corbetts? What is the typical gap in years between compleating the Munros and the Furths? Has anyone bagged all the SMC lists?
Of course there is the usual caveat that not everyone who compleats these lists necessarily logs the information with the SMC… And I also had to remove two Munroists before starting the analysis: #284 (the Unknown Munroist) and #666 with its blank data!

Overall popularity

Munros compleations grew rapidly during and after the 1980s and appear to have settled at around 250 per year Рwith 2001 and 2010 as notable dips, perhaps due to the impact of 9/11 and certainly due to the impact of the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Ireland's Munros - an outline for Furth-baggers

Ireland boasts 13 delectable Furth Munros - a Furth being a mountain outside, or ‘furth’ Scotland but high enough to have been a proper Munro were it lucky enough to reside within Scotland. See Dave Hewitt’s account of the history of this term here; broad discussion here.

Based on my visit earlier this week, this post aims to help the Furth-bagger with the summary logistics, a taste of the routes, and pointers to detailed route descriptions as they are not included here.

My favourite Irish Furths are Brandon Mountain with its commanding views over the sinuous and convoluted coastline of Dingle; and the 10 summits spiking along the sometimes knife-edged ridgeline of Macgillycuddy’s Reeks (a ridge that invites you to risk traversing its full length in one go despite the fact that the preferred 10 hours of visibility does not fit into the 8 hours of sun up in early winter).

The Faha Ridge en route to Brandon Mountain:

How the British Isles were created

This animation shows how the British Isles were created from the collision of two entirely separate tectonic plates, and how Scotland itself was assembled from a jigsaw of many pieces.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013