Moroccan Zen: September’s Outdoor Sleep

Posted by on Oct 29, 2015 in Abroad, Bivvy, Climb, Morocco, Travel | No Comments
Moroccan Zen: September’s Outdoor Sleep

I found myself reaching for the word ‘Zen’ to describe the state of mind induced during and following my recent mountaineering trip to Morocco. But what exactly is Zen?  And why did this single three letter word seem to be a more accurate summation of my experience than any I might aspire to craft from the 8000 words […]

Canadian Toilet Blackout: July’s Outdoor Sleep

Posted by on Sep 18, 2015 in Abroad, Camp, Lavatorial Prose | No Comments
Canadian Toilet Blackout: July’s Outdoor Sleep

When holidays stop being fun I first encountered those grey shadow men when entered the world of work, men for whom holidays were not fun but duty or ordeal. I looked into their hollow eyes and knew that I could never become one of them. Years later, having assumed many of their characteristics; the receding […]

New York

Posted by on Oct 26, 2013 in Commentary, Travel, USA | No Comments
New York

  The anti-terror paranoia that pervades New York City had started to rub off on me. What if they were out to get me? Manhattan from Staten Island Ferry Train from Summit NJ to New York Penn Station The skyscrapers of the New York skyline, about twenty miles distant, appeared through gaps in faintly autumnal […]

Swiss alpinism: Weissmies traverse from Saas Almagelle to Hohsaas

Posted by on Oct 2, 2013 in Climb, Switzerland | 3 Comments
Swiss alpinism: Weissmies traverse from Saas Almagelle to Hohsaas

Somehow I became convinced that, should 2013 pass without my ascending an alpine 4000 m peak, I would be diminished as man, a worthless and contemptible specimen. Fortunately  I had at my disposal a crack team of similarly minded comrades: Colin, a man who has climbed slowly in most of the world’s mountain ranges; Dan, […]

Switzerland: Scottish weather thwarts an attempt on Uri Rostock, 2928 m

Posted by on Aug 27, 2013 in Camp, Climb, Switzerland, Walk | No Comments
Switzerland: Scottish weather thwarts an attempt on Uri Rostock, 2928 m

By the lake in Zug. The Finsterarhorn is just visible in the distance to the left of the fountain At the end of June I attended a training course in the Swiss town of Zug and was reminded what a marvellous, clean and orderly country Switzerland is.  One morning I observed a workman polishing a […]

Pyrenees: Pico de Aneto and Pico de Alba from Benasque

Posted by on Oct 23, 2012 in Climb, Spain | 8 Comments
Pyrenees: Pico de Aneto and Pico de Alba from Benasque

Mountaineering in the Spanish Pyrenees: Pico de Alba (3118 m, PD-), a night in Refugio Reclunsa, traverse of Pico de Aneto (3404 m, F+) and a night in Refugio de Coronas. Absorbing scrambling to gain summit ridge of Pico de Alba We flew Ryanair from Prestwick to Barcelona then drove through the arid, dusty landscape […]

Skiing, Social Capital and Scottish Independence

Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Commentary, France, Ski | 16 Comments

The mogulled delights of the Grand Couloir in Courchevel Late March in the French ski resort of Courchevel. We shared a gondola with a group of well-heeled English women. They were discussing their offspring, one of whom had a job interview that day. “How did Timmy get on at his interview?” The proud mother responded. […]

Time travel using Google Earth: Kudle Beach

Posted by on Feb 11, 2012 in India, Travel | One Comment

  Google Earth image of the beaches of Karnataka, Southern India. Anticlockwise from top left: Gokarna Beach; Kudle Beach; Om Beach It is tempting to regard travel in terms of physical movement, but when one travels it is through both space and time. One does not merely visit a place, rather one experiences a unique […]

Urban exploration in New York

Posted by on Oct 5, 2011 in Commentary, Travel, USA | 6 Comments

When this guy realised I was from Scotland he started singing the praises of George Galloway, who is now something of a celebrity in the US Last week I had the opportunity to travel to the US with work.  My itinerary took me to New Jersey, just outside the great city of New York. This was my […]

Iceland Part 5

Posted by on Aug 29, 2011 in Iceland | 4 Comments

This is the 5th and final instalment of my recent trip to Iceland. After traversing the interior using the Kjolur route and then taking a side trip into Askja it was a pleasure to be on mostly tarmac roads when we popped out of the highlands near the town of Egilsstadir. We were on the opposite […]