Sunday 7 July 2019

Inverness, Edinburgh, Manchester - Sandstone, DofE Gold, Outdoor Trade Show - July non-outdoor travels.

After sunset from a high camp, June 2018
The first half of this month is busy, very busy, with travels to different events all connected to the outdoors but all taking place indoors.

First came a trip to Inverness where my publishers Sandstone Press were holding a party to celebrate moving into new bigger offices. There I enjoyed talking to many people including fellow Sandstone authors Cameron McNeish and John Allen - the latter's Cairngorm John was Sandstone's best seller until recently. Now, unsurprisingly, it's Man Booker winner Jokha Alharthi's Celestial Bodies. There's a new updated edition of Cairngorm John due out soon - maybe it will regain the top spot!

Before the Sandstone party had even finished I had to dash off for the last train to Edinburgh as the next day I was a presenter at the big DofE Gold Awards at Holyrood Palace. When I say big I mean huge. There were twenty-four presentations (I did two) to almost 1000 young people. Handing out the awards to the eighty young people in my groups I reckon I was photographed at least four hundred times! It was a rewarding, interesting and tiring day. I was well out of my comfort zone too - I had to wear a suit and shirt and tie, for only the second time in many decades. (Mountaineer Alan Hinkes, another presenter, has photographs!).

Back home very late in the evening from Edinburgh I've had two days to get ready to head to Manchester for the three-day Outdoor Trade Show where I'll get sore feet  - it's always more tiring than any hillwalking - wandering round the exhibition halls looking at new outdoor gear. I'll be posting snippets of anything interesting on social media. At the show I'll also be meeting The Great Outdoor's new editor, Carey Davies, along with online editor Alex Roddie and various people from the magazine's publishers.

Once home from the show I'm hoping normal business can resume and I can get out in the hills and gaze at scenes like the one at the top of the piece. That's what it's really all about.

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