If it’s good enough for an otter…

I have been living and working in the Lake District for over 17 years. I teach wilderness bushcraft and expedition skills, instructing on everything from wild foods and tracking to axemanship and woodcraft, spending well over one hundred nights a year living outdoors under canvas in the UK, and travelling overseas to lead expeditions in the colder months, from dry desert to coastal tropical, and from steaming jungles to frozen sub-Arctic environments. Continue reading

Jumping the midnight sun

So here I am, an Adventure Leader for British Exploring, fresh back from the land of fire and ice. It was three awesome weeks of inspirational landscapes and people. I’ve always loved geography, and one of the reasons I entered the world of outdoor education was to immerse myself in the geography of the world.

Iceland is about as amazing as it gets when you are looking for a few geography topics to bring into the day. We spent one evening jumping the sun at about 11pm! It was a memorable way to grasp the concept of the midnight sun! Continue reading

Páramo now carbon-balanced with World Land Trust since its foundation

Since 2007, we’ve worked with World Land Trust to offset our primary carbon emissions at our UK sites – and following 10 years of double donations to balance 20 years of emissions, Páramo has now made an additional contribution to offset all primary carbon emissions for the whole 25 years since the company’s foundation.  Through donations to both Carbon Balanced and to other World Land Trust projects, Páramo’s contributions are invested to protect, conserve and restore forests across the globe in Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Kenya and Borneo, benefitting significant numbers of threatened and endemic species, including charismatic species such as jaguar or minute frogs. Continue reading

Expedition kit fit for purpose

I believe that there are 4 pieces of kit which are absolute essentials and form the backbone of my kit on any expedition, whether instructing DofE students or out in Nepal climbing Everest. These are boots, sleeping bag, rucksack and waterproofs. Having comfy feet, being toasty in the coldest conditions, feeling my backpack is robust enough for the jobs ahead, staying dry and warm on the inside in the harshest of weather – and knowing that this kit will not be a liability – is key to me being at my best in any situation. Continue reading

The Mother of all Mountains

I made the decision to climb Everest back in 2014. I’d already reached the summit of Manaslu, the world’s 8th highest mountain, in September 2013. Before that I’d said no to Everest swayed by the negative journalism, the commercialism, the ‘buy your way onto the mountain’ attitude – but, probably, most of all because I did not think I was capable. Continue reading

Owling in Páramo

Now that we’re into April, this breeding season’s owling is well into its swing. Owling is the name our group gives to the activity of putting up nest boxes and monitoring them for these magnificent birds. In the UK, Barn Owls, Little Owls and Tawny Owls breed inside pre-existing cavities, such as tree hollows and outbuildings, but all will breed in nest boxes. Short-eared Owls are ground nesters and Long-eared Owls prefer to breed in old Magpie and Crow nests.

I started owling in 2006 and have been hooked ever since. Continue reading

Zero footprint

Occasionally I have a plan when I walk out from my house, an image I’ve imagined in the moments between sleeping and waking or an inspiration sparked by something I’ve seen, but most of the time I simply pack up my gear, call the dog and head outside. Continue reading