Friday 7 December 2018

The Great Outdoors January issue

The results of the 2018 Great Outdoors Awards feature in the latest issue. They are split into the Readers' Awards (Campaigner of the Year and much more) and the Gear Awards, which were judged by a panel of five, of which I was one. We had long discussions over this and all the gear was tried out, making for a rigorous process.

To mark 40 years of The Great Outdoors we also selected 40 items for Special Awards to celebrate forty years of innovation. Choosing these made for an interesting and intense discussion.

In the gear pages I review eleven down jackets, the interesting Andrew Skurka designed Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor pack, and two smart watches. The last are part of a joint review with Alex Roddie and Daniel Neilson who also review two watches each.

The issue opens with a splendid Snowdonia sunset by Alex Nail, a picture that combines the warmth of the sun with the chill of a landscape covered in rime ice. There's also a review of Nail's splendid photographic book, Northwest, by David Lintern (you can read my thoughts here).

Away from books to films Alex Roddie reviews Final Ascent, a fascinating-sounding tribute to the great mountaineer, gear innovator, mountain rescue pioneer and author Hamish MacInnes.

On conservation matters Roger Smith looks at six current threats to the outdoors. The final one is about Cairn Gorm and this is covered in depth in an excellent article by Richard Baynes.

Up in the hills Jim Perrin praises Cader Idris, David Lintern celebrates the first snows on an overnight trip to the Beinn Dearg hills in the NW Highlands, Ronald Turnbull has an early start for a round of eight of the smaller hills around Borrowdale, and Roger Butler visits frozen Tryfan and the Glyderau.

There's also a fascinating interview with Hazel Strachan by Alan Rowan who accompanied her on the last summit of her tenth round of the Munros.

Finally, far to the north Phoebe Smith walks the Arctic Trail in Greenland, a route that sounds wonderful.

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