Sunday, 5 June 2011
New Style TGO
The July issue of TGO is just out and it’s something of a surprise. I knew there were changes on the way but I was still startled at how different the magazine looks. It’s all positive too, with more pages, a larger format and higher quality paper. Photos look brighter and sharper – some of them are quite stunning. The magazine has a spine now and feels thick and substantial. Overall it looks like a magazine that’s decided it’s finally time it flexed its muscles. Congratulations to editor Emily Rodway and her team. (In case anyone’s wondering I’m not involved with the production or editing of the magazine, I just write and photograph stuff, so I haven’t been involved with this new look).
The content has changed too – there’s more of it and it looks better. There’s a whole new Hill Skills section, for which I’ve written a piece on fitting a pack. Also covered in this section are scrambling skills, the many uses of duct tape, map analysis, weather fronts, how to deal with midges (accompanied by a fetching picture of Cameron McNeish hiding under a midge net) and much more.
In the Gear section I review ten single hoop tents, look at Colin Ibbotson’s ultralight packs and test a Ventile cotton/Nikwax Analogy smock from Hilltrek and vauDe’s new Norrsken insulated airbed. John Manning reviews 13 waterproof jackets costing under £100 and finds it hard to choose a Best Buy. There’s also a Best of the Tests page with recommendations and Best Buys from previous issues.
My backpacking column is about my summer long round of the Munros and Tops as it’s the 15th anniversary of this walk. On this day back in 1996 I crossed from Glen Lochay to Crainlarich over Ben Challum, my 71st summit, on the first dry and sunny day for over a week.
Picking out a selection from the rest of the magazine I’m pleased to see Roger Smith giving a page to Alan Sloman’s Wake for the Wild requiem for the Monadh Liath during the TGO Challenge (see Alan’s account here). Carey Davies visits Stanage in the Peak District and tries rock climbing for the first time – which reminded me of the few times I climbed there, my main memory being of how abrasive the gritstone was. New columnist comedian Ed Byrne also heads into the Pennines, but to learn some navigation skills rather than rock climbing. Andrew Terrill, whose pieces are always inspiring, spends a stormy midsummer’s day and night in the Cuillin on Skye and illustrates his dramatic story with some equally dramatic images. Speaking of fine images there’s a wonderful photo essay on the Patagonian Andes by Dougie http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifCunningham with some mouth-watering images that made me want to be there – now. Also lovely are the paintings of Welsh mountain artist Gwyn Roberts, with whom Emily Rodway spends a day. Away from pictures to words we come to Jim Perrin. He often quotes from his favourite outdoor writers in his column. Now he’s going to write specifically about them, with an introduction in this issue. In the Highlands Torridon is one of my favourite areas and I enjoyed Cameron McNeish’s piece on Beinn Eighe and two lower but still fine Torridon hills, Ruadh-stac Beag and Meall a’Ghuibhais.
There’s much more in this impressive issue. If you haven’t seen TGO in a while do pick up a copy and have a look. It really is different.
The picture shows two single hoop tents pitched on the Cairngorm Plateau.