Sunday 5 April 2020

The Great Outdoors Spring issue

The Spring issue of The Great Outdoors is out now. It's the first issue of the lockdown but was written and produced before this began. I guess it's best now to regard it as inspirational.

I wrote a piece on planning for the TGO Challenge in May. That's not taking place now of course but the advice will be useful next year! Or of course for other long walks that become possible once the lockdown is eased.

The lockdown has changed much, including the fortunes of magazines like The Great Outdoors. With many shops that sell it closed the best way for regular readers to help keep it going is to subscribe - which you can do here.

Back to this issue. In the Gear Pages I review ten pairs of three-season walking boots plus Mountain Hardwear's all-white Lamina Eco AF 15F/-9C sleeping bag. Coffee afficiando Daniel Neilson reviews three coffee makers for the outdoors. I'll be getting one of these! After years of deliberation I've finally decided I want decent coffee on the hills so I found this review very useful.

The theme of this issue is the Munros and the cover picture by Dougie Cunningham is of Buachaille Etive More, undoubtedly one of the finest of them. The lead article is a moving piece by Sarah Jane Douglas, author of Just Another Mountain, about climbing all the Munros and the solace the hills bring. In another major feature David Lintern links together a host of Glen Affric Munros in a high-level backpacking trip. There's a Q&A with Kevin Woods about his winter round, which he has finished since this interview. James Forrest, who recently completed his first round, talks to four Munroists about their bagging adventures. There are also lists of the five most difficult and five easiest Munros, which are sure to start some debate!

Away from the Munros the open picture spread is a dramatic shot of two scramblers on Crib Goch in Snowdonia. Ten TGO contributors pick their favourite walks for beginners. There's a look at Capel Curig in Snowdonia. Roger Smith reviews The Last Blue Mountain by Ralph Barker and Alan Rowan reviews Feet And Wheels To Chimborazo by Mark Horrell. Roger Smith calls for proper funding for footpaths. Jim Perrin's Mountain Portrait is Mweelrea in Co.Mayo in Ireland. I've never been there. It sounds wonderful! In the Lake District Andrew Galloway attempts the notorious Broad Stand on Scafell. Far away from our hills Phoebe Smith goes hiking with humpback whales on Dirk Hartog Island in Australia. Thinking about overseas trips Hanna Lindon looks at minimising the environmental cost.

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