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Go Take a Hike

I guess it’s not uncommon for those of us who live on this side of the Pond to occasionally borrow words from our transatlantic cousins, a trend that appears to have grown considerably since the Second World War when many American military troops were stationed in the UK. And more recently we adopted the word ‘backpacking’ from the US, a term that describes the activity of walking for a period of time, usually several days or weeks or even months, whilst carrying everything you need to survive carried in a pack on your back. I seem to recall the word

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Posted in Features, Magazine

A Lancastrian’s North West Legacy

Cameron McNeish remembers Richard Gilbert, author and mountaineer I’M at the age, unfortunately, when I attend more funerals than weddings and conversations with contemporaries commonly start with “Have you heard about…” Sometime the news of the death of someone you didn’t actually know can have an effect on you and that was certainly the case when I read of the passing of Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile in under four minutes. I immediately thought of the late Chris Brasher who had been one of Bannister’s pacemakers in that epic race in 1953 and the effect

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Posted in Features, Magazine, News

Our Wonderful Access Legislation That Almost Wasn’t

Cameron McNeish looks back at an unlikely event that ensured the success of our much lauded Scottish access legislation. ACCESS campaigners in Scotland have been celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, probably the most significant piece of legislation to affect all those who enjoy Scotland’s countryside. The Act secured the traditional rights and freedoms of all of us in Scotland to access land, coast and inland water, provided we do so responsibly. An accompanying code of practice, the Scottish Access Code, sets out those responsibilities for access users and land managers alike. Most hillwalkers are

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Posted in Access issues, Features, Magazine

Consulting on Wolves

A London-based company is currently consulting with stakeholders on the feasibility of creating a Highland Wilderness Reserve for the release of wolves. Cameron McNeish knows who is behind it. HE’S back again. Every so often the millionaire owner of Alladale Estate in Sutherland invites a metropolitan journalist to his luxury hotel near Ardgay, wines and dines them, and feeds them his version of re-wilding. In particular he offers a romantic story of re-introducing wolves into Scotland. This normally results in an emotive feature in a glossy magazine or national newspaper, gets picked up by other media outlets and the whole

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Posted in Access issues, Features, Magazine, Nature

The End of an Era

Cameron McNeish laments the loss of our traditional mountaineering hostelries. I was initially surprised by the amount of criticism directed at the development plans for the historic Kings House hotel on the edge of the Rannoch Moor. Mountaineering Scotland, the John Muir Trust and the National Trust for Scotland have objected to the latest revisions made to the original proposals while social media has seen a fair amount of comment ranging from “why interfere with an historic droving inn” to “refurb this Scottish treasure and bring it back to its former glory, albeit the wonky fireplace and walls.” I’m not

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Posted in Features, Magazine

Wainwright Revealed

FILM-maker Richard Else and I have worked together for the best part of a quarter of a century. In that time he has endured the idiosyncratic nature of this curmudgeonly outdoor writer with patience and good humour, and has persevered with fortitude on those occasions when some of my own hare-brained schemes were clearly impractical. But Richard endured a tough apprenticeship before he began working with me – he was the television producer who coaxed the reclusive and cantankerous Lake District guidebook writer Alfred Wainwright onto our television screens and worked closely with him for several years. At one point

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Posted in Features, Magazine

In the Eyes of the Beholder

HARD on the heels of the news that walking is worth £1.26 billion to the Scottish economy it appears that readers of the internationally acclaimed guidebooks, Rough Guides, have voted Scotland as the most beautiful country in the world. Having climbed mountains in over twenty different countries in the world it really doesn’t surprise me that Scotland has been given such an accolade. I’ve been saying exactly that for over 40 years. We have such a wonderful diversity of landscape in this country and I believe that is partly what makes it so special. Take for example the different characteristics

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Posted in Features, Magazine, Nature

Book Review: Days to Remember

YEARS ago I commissioned a young UIAA Mountain Guide to write a feature for the very first issue of Footloose, an outdoor magazine I edited in the late seventies. I’d read some of Rob Collister’s writings in the superb Mountain magazine and was very impressed. Some years later when I was editor of Climber Magazine I spent the day rock-climbing with Jim Perrin at Tremadoc in North Wales and in the evening Jim invited Rob and his wife Netti to join us for dinner. In the course of the evening I learned much about this gentle mountaineer; his expeditions in

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Posted in Books, Gear reviews, Magazine

What Price a Bothy?

IT was a number of years ago now when my two sons had joined the Boy Scouts. I was asked to help organise an overnight expedition for the lads and since it was February I agreed to take them to Glen Feshie for an overnight in the popular bothy known as Ruigh-aiteachain. We kitted the boys out with headtorches and wandered down the snow covered footpath from Achlean. As soon as they picked out the grey walls of the bothy through the trees they made a run for it, all eager to find the best space to put down their

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Posted in Features, Magazine, News

Just a Bang on the Head…

Cameron McNeish discovers that a head knock had much more serious consequences than he first thought. IT all seemed fairly innocuous. The gutters on our house needed clearing and I figured it would be an easy job to stand on a ladder with a hosepipe and get the job done. I cleared the gutters and was about to descend the ladder when whatever happened next happened. I had fallen off the ladder (the ladder had actually slipped and I came down with it) and on the way down I banged my head off the harled wall, which tore the skin

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Posted in Features, Magazine


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Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. Information is provided free of charge; it is each walker's responsibility to check it and navigate using a map and compass.