What to read when you read about hill running

WHAT TO READ WHEN YOU READ ABOUT HILL RUNNING Writing and running are activities connected by extended metaphor: while running is prose, hill (or fell) running is poetry. This sport, therefore, demands writing of the highest ilk. In the course of research for my own book on hill running, The Mountains Are Calling, I have…

A record-breaking Ramsay Round for the 21st century

When news of the success of the expedition to climb Mount Everest was revealed to the world on June 2, 1953, four days had elapsed since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay had stood on the summit. When Jez Bragg reached Glen Nevis youth hostel at the end of a record-breaking Ramsay Round in the Scottish…

What is Alan Hinkes up to at the moment? … and other questions

Traffic – is that the right way to describe people? – to this blog arrives via a plethora of web searches. Handily, WordPress lists these terms. Many are questions: some are perfectly logical, others make me question the sanity of the human race. However, according to the web search questions, people do not want much….

Ben Nevis Race 2010

Eroded and overcrowded it may be, but I’ve grown fond of Ben Nevis. It was the first Munro I climbed, as a brief walking interlude while cycling between John  O’ Groats and Lands End on a snowy May day in 2003. I climbed it with my girlfriend, now fiancée, two years later, with swirling mist obscuring any…

Training for the Ben Nevis race…

… in central London. Not easy, not easy at all. Still, I’m trying to do the best I can with what is at my disposal. The absence of hills of any great height or length – you would have thought there could be at least one Munro, even a rubbish one, in London – means I…

Craig Dunain hill race

And so the Highland hill running season is underway: Craig Dunain, a 5.5-mile dash to a 900ft summit, a glorified cross-country for purists, a useful test of early spring form for the rest. Things started going wrong for me 24 hours before the race. ‘Jonny Muir should lead the charge’, wrote the Inverness Courier’s esteemed athletics…

Craig Dunain

Up Craig Dunain again, yet again. There is no other hill or mountain I have climbed so frequently, at the moment three times a week. And why not? The hill is a perfect training ground within easy running distance of Inverness. Craig Dunain – all 288m of it – doesn’t look terribly impressive in this photograph, but it’s a…

Ben Nevis Race – in!

I’m in! I’ve got a place in the Ben Nevis Race, the pinnacle of the Scottish hill racing season. I’m excited, yet nauseous.

Ben Nevis race 2010

I’ve entered the Ben Nevis race. That doesn’t mean I’ll get a place. That wasn’t meant to rhyme. I’ve just put an application in the post. Hopefully, the local yobs don’t torch the pillar box containing my neatly folded entry form and cheque tonight, which, in the part of Inverness I live in, is a possibility….

Charging for Ben Nevis

About 160,000 people climb Ben Nevis every year, a quarter of them of them charity walkers. Obviously, their charitable intentions are to be praised. But those 40,000 people – many of them arriving, leaving and scaling the Ben at the same time – left an almighty mess. The car park was strewn with litter and the toilets used…

Highland Cafe

I was on BBC Highland’s Highland Cafe today. When I was first contacted by the programme, I was asked to speak about plans to fly a Model T Ford to the summit of Ben Nevis. Crazy idea, I told the producer. We mustn’t allow our mountains to be abused in this fashion. I’ve mellowed since. Lochaber man Iain Blyth wants…

Carn Mor Dearg

  Thankfully, there is another way, a better way, to climb Ben Nevis. This is it. Instead of continuing to trundle up the soulless tourist track to the summit, on reaching the fork in the path above Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe, I turned north, leaving the hordes wearing wellies and carrying umbrellas to their ascent. The path…