|Force Ten Nitro Lite tunnel tent on test in the Cairngorms|
The July issue of The Great Outdoors has just appeared, with something of a camping theme. My backpacking column is about crossing the Highlands on this year's Great Outdoors Challenge. Challenge Co-ordinator John Manning also writes about the Challenge with an overview of this year's event. Roger Smith touches on it too in his Environment column in which he rightly bemoans the approval for a huge windfarm at Stronelairg in the Monadhliath. In the future, he says, that as a route-vetter for the Challenge rather than encouraging people to cross this area as he always has in the past he's now likely to advise against doing so. I understand why. I walked there on this year's Challenge. When the wind farm is built I won't go back.
In the gear section I review 9 tunnel tents and 15 summer sleeping bags (a rather loose description covering bags rated from +15 to -5C) along with the Six Moon Designs Fusion 65 pack. Daniel Neilson reviews a whole range of gear for car camping and base camps, everything from a giant polycotton tent to tables and chairs and an inflatable wash bag. Daniel also gives advice on camping with kids. The Hill Skills section has a piece on choosing a shelter, whether for solo backpacking or car camping.
Away from gear and kids there is much to encourage getting out in the hills, starting with a lovely double page photograph taken from the summit of Lochnagar by Mark Hamblin. There are more fine photographs from Terry Abraham too in a piece on making his film Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike, and from Yorkshireman Carey Davies as he describes the attractions of his home county - God's Own Country. Carey also visits the Arrochar Alps and enjoys mixing with the crowds there. James Reader goes bivouacing, packrafting and hillwalking in 24 hours in Snowdonia on a 'micro-adventure' with author and explorer Alastair Humphreys. David Lintern spends rather longer in the Cuillin on the Isle of Skye, a story that opens with a spectacular photograph. Further afield Ian Battersby suggests things to do in and around Chamonix in the Alps.
Jim Perrin often chooses favourite books or authors of mine for his Hillwalkers' Library. This month I am particularly pleased that he is recommending John Hillaby's Journey Through Britain as this was the book that led to my first long-distance walk from Land's End to John O'Groats. The book is out of print, sadly. Second-hand copies are well worth seeking out.