Friday, 7 February 2014

The Great Outdoors latest issue: John Muir, Cross-Country Ski Tips, Going Lightweight In Winter, Mid-Size Packs


The March issue of The Great Outdoors has just appeared in the shops and as a digital download. This being the centenary of the death of John Muir my backpacking column is a tribute to this great wilderness explorer and conservationist. In the Hill Skills section I give some tips on starting out cross-country skiing and going lightweight in the hills in winter. My main gear review covers fourteen 45-55 litre packs and I also review the Hillsound Trail Crampons Ultra and the ultralight Berghaus Hyper Therm jacket.

The magazine opens with the now standard dramatic photographic double-page spreads. I particularly like Damian Shields image of Buachaille Etive Mor and the River Coupall. It's a much photographed scene but this wide angle image still stands out.

Jim Perrin writes about his concern at plans to allow wildfowling close to the Wales Coast Path in a conservation piece and in his Hillwalker's Library praises photographer Gordon Stainforth's excellent The Peak: Past and Present.

Up in the hills Dan Bailey tackles four classic winter mountaineering ridges in the Lake District and Ronald Turnbull tours the Southern Uplands. James Reader starts his Munro tally in the most dramatic way possible with winter ascents of Buachaille Etive Beag and Buachaille Etive Mor.

Far from the wintry British hills Tony Howard describes a long-distance route running the length of Jordan that he is helping to develop. Back in Britain Ed Byrne tries night navigation, a useful skill at this time of year, and Carey Davies wonders why strangers met in the hills are so friendly after an encounter on a wild winter's day on Schiehallion.

In the gear pages Judy Armstrong reviews sports bras and briefs, Tim Francis of Natural High Guiding describes his favourite gear, James Reader gives some Canada Goose garments a severe test and Daniel Neilson tried Montane's warm Tigertooth Pro softshell jacket.

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