|An igloo on the Moine Mhor in the Cairngorms, mid-April, 2014|
The May issue of The Great Outdoors has just appeared. My gear piece is a review of eleven waterproof jackets costing £100 or less. Can you get an adequate jacket in this price range? Yes, you can, and a few are really good for backpacking. Which ones? Read the review to find out! In my backpacking column I look at the start of spring, or rather the wide range of dates over which it starts depending on location, altitude and weather.
This issue is described as the Backpacking Issue. To that end there's a big feature on backpacking 1000 miles right round Wales via the coast and the Offa's Dyke Path by new TGO Editorial Assistant Will Renwick along with his suggestions of the best places, wildlife, castles, pubs and more. Carey Davies has an overnight walk in the fells east of Ullswater while Mark Waring goes much farther afield and spends ten days backpacking on the Arctic island of Svalbard (a fantastic place where I once led a ski tour - it's the farthest north I've ever been - and for the only time ever carried rifle, as Mark does, in case of an encounter with a polar bear).
Also in this issue Jessica Traditi looks at whether Everest has become too commercialised, Ed Byrne takes an outdoors first aid course, Robert Mercer photographs the island of Handa, Carey Davies is depressed by the 'renaming' of Malham Cove, Roger Smith wonders why our natural treasures are accorded such a low value, and Jim Perrin praises Colin Kirkus' 1941 classic Let's Go Climbing. In the Gear pages Daniel Neilson reviews and likes the chunky-looking Hoka One One Mafete Speed shoes and Kirk Watson tries seven mountaineering tents.
This is also the last issue under the guidance of Acting Editor Daniel Neilson who is standing down on the return from maternity leave of Editor Emily Rodway. Daniel says he will still be writing for TGO, which is good. Daniel has done a great job in my opinion and it's been good working with him.