|Checking the map below Mount Baker on the Pacific Northwest Trail|
The Spring issue of The Great Outdoors (it fits between the May and June issues) is out now and it's a bumper issue with the theme of Fast and Light. I have to say I'm no longer in the first category (and never really was even when I did mountain marathons) but I'm certainly interested in the second. To that end I review 12 lightweight packs and pick my ten favourites items of lightweight gear from recent years (and lament the demise of three no longer available items). Away from gear my backpacking column is about maps and the pleasure they give.
Sticking with the fast and light theme seven notable outdoors people discuss their experiences and the gear they use. These include Munro-bagger extraordinaire Steve Fallon (he's completed 15 rounds); mountaineer Alan Hinkes, the only Brit to climb all 14, 8,000 metre peaks; and long distance hiker Liz Thomas, who holds the women's record for the fastest unsupported thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, plus David Lintern, who's about to set out on a pack rafting/hiking trip over Scotlands 4,000 foot summits; TGO's Editorial Assistant Will Renwick, who has walked the entire circumference of Wales; fell runner Steve Birkinshaw, who holds the record for a continuous run over all the Wainwrights (6 days, 13 hours!); and ultra-distance runner Andrew Murray, who has run from John O'Groats to the Sahara Desert. There's a hell of a lot of experience there!
Amongst other good stuff in this issue (there really is an awful lot - I haven't read it all yet) there's an interview with Will Copestake about his amazing combination of a winter round of the Munros and a kayak trip round Scotland; Judy Armstrong describing a new trail in the Alps and, in the gear pages, reviewing six pairs of women's lightweight boots; David Lintern thinking about the shifting ground between walking and climbing on a scrambling trip in Torridon; Chris Wearne on a new 24 hour challenge route over 24 summits in North Wales; Alice Morrison exploring the jungles and mountains of Uganda; John Gillham suggesting a variation of the Cumbria Way taking in some summits; and Carey Davies on the nature of landscapes.