Wednesday, 16 December 2015

The Great Outdoors January issue: winter camping, headtorches, packing a winter daysack, stormy Lakeland


The January edition of The Great Outdoors is out now, with a theme of winter adventure. To that end I've contributed pieces on gear for winter camping and packing a winter daysack plus reviewed eleven headtorches, a vital piece of equipment (I used one to descend from a snowy Cairngorm Plateau on a pitch black night just a few days ago). There are also winter features on how much you should carry and on navigation by Mountain Council of Scotland Safety Advisor Heather Morning and on walking in winter boots, choosing and using an ice axe, and fitting crampons by Glenmore Lodge instructor Giles Trussell. Will Renwick reviews seven pairs of waterproof overtrousers, something I often wear in winter for extra warmth rather than to keep out rain - it's much easier to pull on overtrousers than long johns if your legs feel a bit chilly!

Inspiration for the winter hills comes from Dan Bailey who describes a snowy round of the magnificent Ring of Steall in the Mamores, and Eric Whitehead who goes in search of Brocken Spectres, cloud inversions and fogbows on the Fairfield Horseshoe. Far away from Britain Paul Beasley goes dogsledding in Arctic Norway.

This issue isn't all wintry though. My backpacking column describes my failed wild camp with Terry Abraham in the Lake District - a failure due to high winds and heavy rain. We'd have welcomed snow. Much more successfully Jon Sparks explores the new extensions to the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks. In their respective columns Carey Davies spends a sunny day on Cnicht with his dad, Roger Smith welcomes a shift towards protecting wild land in planning decisions, and Jim Perrin praises George Schallers excellent book Stones of Silence. In the reviews section Andy Howell looks at Terry Abraham's latest wonderful  DVD The Lake District Upper Eskdale and Roger Smith reviews the fascinating sounding Weatherland by Alexandra Harris, a book that looks at how the weather has influenced our culture.


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