Becoming a SportPursuit Champion

I am a newly-recruited Champion for SportPursuit. Here is the link to the announcement on the company’s website. This is what it is all about. Who or what is SportPursuit? SportPursuit is a members-only sports sale website selling well-known, high-quality brands at heavily-discounted prices. For instance, a pair of Inov8 Roclite 295s could be purchased…

Being a parent: the greatest endurance challenge of them all

It is 11.40pm. My daughter is three-and-a-half months old. Having changed her nappy, I am sitting with her on the sofa, tapping out these words with one hand, rocking with the other. She will not sleep. At least she has stopped crying. A few minutes ago she was emitting a cry: loud, shrill and rising….

Can running ever be ‘fun’?

In Charlie Spedding’s very good First to Last he observes for years how he’d rated many of his training sessions as ‘not bad’. His conclusion was that to use a negative adjective to describe something that was ultimately a positive and an enormous part of his life and living was psychologically counter-productive. This realisation helped…

The end of the Isles

With 96 days to go to publication and some eight months after I commenced writing, Isles at the Edge of the Sea is, at long last, completed. I sent the manuscript – all 71,000 words of it – to my publisher, Sandstone Press, today. It has been a labour of love, but not always – at…

In praise of libraries

There has been much recent fuss – with good reason – over the closure of  libraries as local authorities seek to cut costs. I’m all for libraries. When in an unfamiliar place, where else is there to go that is dry and free during a rainy interlude? As I waited for ferries to various Hebridean islands last…

Lord Hereford’s Knob

I am currently working through the edited script of The UK’s County Tops: Reaching the Top of 91 Historic Counties. I have got as far as Black Mountain, the highest point of Herefordshire, and for which my editor suggested I compile a ‘fact box’ on Lord Hereford’s Knob, a neighbouring mountain. I was scouring the web…

From Everest to Helvellyn, via Boring Field

What does a man do once he has conquered the world’s 8,000-metre peaks? Everything else must seem pretty mundane in comparison. Not tackling England’s 39 shire county tops (sort of, anyway), it seems. For that is what mountaineer Alan Hinkes is up to at this very moment, raising money for mountain rescue teams in the process. Hinkes…

The writing

The journey over, the writing has started, and I have churned out almost 14,000 words in 10 days. It has been a long, time-hungry process. Constantly, as I read and re-read my words, I ask the same questions. Is it any good?  Will anyone want to read this? Will anyone actually pay good money for this? It can be a…

Isle of Jura Fell Race

We were sent on our way, a ripple of applause and the pounding of 200 pairs of feet on road drowning out the skirl of pipes. The theatrical idiom ‘break a leg’ was written across a saltire – a light-hearted but all too realistic prospect. A gloomy blanket of mist had been thrown over Jura…

283 Munros in 100 days – at 66

Now here is a man that deserves respect: Gerry McPartlin, a 66-year-old retired GP who is attempting to conquer Scotland’s 283 Munros in a continous 100-day journey. Starting at Ben Lomond on April 10 and compleating on Ben Chonzie, he will cover 1,000 miles and climb some 400,000ft. It is a test of endurance that would examine…

Wind turbines

If it were possible to lift the Monadhliath and drop it in south or middle England, it would be a National Park, visited by tens of thousands of people every year. Unfortunately, these hills are in the wrong place: sandwiched between the Cairngorms, an actual National Park, and Loch Ness, a would-be World Heritage site. That is why it…

Review

Heights of Madness was reviewed in the Sunday Telegraph yesterday. Here it is: Energetic is certainly a word that could be used to describe Jonny Muir, who set out to climb (for charity) the highest points in each of the counties in the UK in three months. To make it harder, he decided to eschew…