Thursday 19 September 2013

Rewilding & Trail Shoes in the latest issue of The Great Outdoors ... plus The Great Outdoors Challenge

Ancient Caledonian Pines in the Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve

The October issue of The Great Outdoors has just been published. My backpacking column is entitled 'Wolves and woods: Thoughts on rewilding' and describes my encounter with a wolf pack in the Yukon Territory and my ideas on rewilding Scotland with reference to George Monbiot's book Feral and Jim Crumley's The Last Wolf and The Great Wood.

Turn the page and, by coincidence, Jim Crumley turns up again in Jim Perrin's Hillwalkers' Library. Perrin picks Waters of the Wild Swan as his choice of Crumley's books. I haven't read this one but it does sound excellent. Of the many Jim Crumley books I have read - all of which I've enjoyed - I'd choose A High and Lonely Place, about the Cairngorms, and The Last Wolf as my favourites. I agree with Perrin that Crumley should be better known, though I'm not sure that insulting the prospective readership is a way to encourage them to seek him out!

In gear I review 12 pairs of trail shoes and unsurprisingly like the ones I used on the Scottish Watershed walk (there'll be a report on how my gear performed on that walk in the next issue). Judy Armstrong reviews six women's waterproofs and picks the female version of the one I used on the Watershed as her Best Buy. In individual reviews Daniel Neilson likes the Marmot Nabu, a Power Dry lined Neoshell jacket that looks good for winter, and the Patagonia Ultralight Down Vest.

Back when Daniel Neilson was putting this issue together he surprised me by asking if I had a photo of Meall Dubhag, a rather obscure summit above Glen Feshie that used to have Munro status. As it happened, I'd photographed this top while making The Cairngorms In Winter film with Terry Abraham last winter. On seeing the magazine for the first time today I discovered why the photo was required. Cameron McNeish has an entertaining and salutory feature entitled A Step Too Far? about problem he's had on various Munros. One of these was Meall Dubhag during a big winter storm when Cameron was at risk of falling into steep Coire Garbhlach, whose slopes can be seen in my photograph.

Elsewhere in this issue there's a lovely photo of Slioch and Loch Maree by Steven Russell; Mark Richards on line drawing; a look at crowdfunding with comments from Terry Abraham who used Kickstart to raise money for The Cairngorms In Winter film;  a wild camping round of Langdale with Vivienne Crow; a look at Lakeland mountain passes with Mark Gilligan; Leon McCarron describing his amazing journey on foot across China; a feature on jobs in the outdoors with interviews with a range of outdoor workers; and Roger Smith on the need to do more to protect wildlife. The Hill Skills section covers spotting satellites; the red deer rut; understanding rain; and walking solo.

This is also The Great Outdoors Challenge issue with accounts from this years event and application forms for next years.

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