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About The Great Outdoors

The Great Outdoors is the UK’s original mountain magazine. We have been leading people to explore high places for more than 40 years.

Through compelling writing, beautifully illustrated stories and eye-catching content, across a range of platforms, we seek to convey the joy of adventure, the thrill of mountainous and wild environments, and the wonder of the natural world. The Great Outdoors team is here to help you make the most of your time in the hills and mountains.

As well as stunning photography and top-class writing, we are famous for the rigour of our gear reviews. With well over 250 years’ experience between them, our team encompasses outdoor professionals, scramblers, bikers and boaters, runners, rangers and mountain leaders, authors, editors, and wildlife photographers. It is Britain’s most experienced outdoor review team, by a country mile. Our roster of contributors boasts established outdoor writers and authors as well as a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts.

We are also proud to have a long-running association with The Great Outdoors Challenge – a brilliant and unique backpacking event that takes place every year in the Scottish Highlands.

Meet the editorial team

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Francesca Donovan, editor

Based in a Peak District barn, Francesca Donovan joined The Great Outdoors team in 2022. After a rather sedentary upbringing, a fear of the gym led her onto the hills ‘late in life’ as a tool for fitness. Instead, she found community and adventure as well as a love of the natural world and the magic of mountains. Recently, she spent a summer as an outdoor instructor introducing young people in the Peak to the hills of her home. Her own adventures – so far – have taken her from Snowdonia to the Scottish Highlands by way of the Alps and Málaga mountains. After a decade in journalism at publications such as the BBC, ELLE UK, and DAZED, she can now combine her love of the outdoors with the written word. When she’s not writing or sharing your best mountain portraits on social media, you’ll probably find her hiking, swimming, scrambling or wild camping.

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Chris Townsend, equipment editor

Our equipment editor Chris Townsend is known globally as a writer on hiking and backpacking skills and equipment, the author of 25 books – many of them award-winning – and as a record-setting long-distance hiker. He was the first person to complete a continuous round of all the Scottish Munros and Tops and the first person to complete a continuous walk the length of the Canadian Rockies. He has also walked the Scottish Watershed and walked coast-to-coast across Scotland 18 times. In the USA he has walked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Pacific Northwest Trail and Arizona Trail plus several self-devised long walks. Other walks include south-to-north through the mountains of Norway and Sweden and 1000 miles through the Yukon Territory. He has also worked as a Nordic ski tour leader in Scandinavia and other places and as a trek leader in the Himalayas.

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David Lintern, deputy editor

David is the deputy editor of The Great Outdoors. He looks after the narrative features and coordinates gear reviews for the magazine. He has been hillwalking since the late 90’s, and an outdoor writer and photographer since 2011. His very first feature was with The Great Outdoors. He has since produced three award winning books and worked as an editor, journalist, TV researcher, location scout and photography tutor. In addition to walking and backpacking, he’s a keen packrafter, cyclist and winter mountaineer, and a learner climber and skier. He has been lost and found in the Indian Himalaya, the Sierra Nevada (both of them!), the Pyrenees, the Alps, Arctic Lapland and all over Britain.

Mary-Ann Ochota headshot - The Great Outdoors team

Mary-Ann Ochota, columnist

Mary-Ann Ochota is a broadcaster, writer and outdoorswoman. She’s a fan of bivvy-bagging, hiking with her kids and she can mostly find her way around a horse, bike or a boat. You’ll spot her on re-runs of Time Team, and more recent shows like Mystic Britain with Clive Anderson and on BBC Radio Walking the Iron Curtain. Mary-Ann is the Hillwalking Ambassador for the British Mountaineering Council, a trustee for the John Muir Trust and a patron of The Tony Trust, which gives grants to young people to experience outdoor adventures. She’s also honoured to be the Patron for the Ridgeway National Trail’s 50th Anniversary in 2023. Mary-Ann’s book Hidden Histories: A Spotter’s Guide to the Landscape is for anyone who wants to spot historical and archaeological clues in the landscape, from prehistoric barrows and ancient villages to lost field systems and standing stones.

Jim perrin - The Great Outdoors team

Jim Perrin, columnist

Described in The Observer as “the pre-eminent writer on the British landscape”, the writer of our Mountain Portrait series is renowned outdoor, mountaineering and travel writer Jim Perrin. He is the author of several highly respected outdoor books, including two winners of the Boardman Tasker prize.

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Lucy Wallace

Lucy is a Mountain Leader (Summer, Winter and International), and wildlife guide who has worked professionally in the outdoors since 2007. She is based on Arran and works throughout Britain, Europe and Tanzania, on everything from environmental conservation, the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme to Mountain Leader training and assessments. She has tested and reviewed outdoor gear for various titles since 2012 and joined the review team in 2019.

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Alex Roddie

Alex has been a hillwalker, mountaineer, and backpacker since 2003, cutting his teeth winter climbing while working as a barman in the famous Clachaig Inn in Glen Coe, before backpacking extensively throughout Britain and Europe. He’s the author of several books and an editor, writer, and photographer across outdoor media. He’s been part of the review team for The Great Outdoors since 2016, and is based in Scotland.

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Kirsty Pallas

Kirsty Pallas is a safety advisor for national body Mountaineering Scotland, and a freelance mountaineering instructor the rest of the time. She holds the Summer and Winter Mountain Leader and the Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor Awards (working towards the WMCI). She’s been working in the outdoors professionally since 2011 and was hillwalking long before. She’s also a member of Oban Mountain Rescue team.

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John Manning

Hiking the Pennine Way in 1986 inspired John to spend his life writing about the outdoors. He penned a triple award-winning column while sub-editor on his local daily newspaper, before serving 13 years as deputy editor on The Great Outdoors. He’s contributed to most UK walking magazines and edited several titles in his own right. His hiking CV includes the US Pacific Crest and John Muir Trails, New Zealand’s Rees-Dart and Kepler tracks, and Finland’s Bear’s Ring.

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Fiona Russell

Fiona is better known as Fiona Outdoors, a journalist and award-winning outdoors writer. She lives in the Scottish Highlands and enjoys hillwalking, trail and hill running, back country skiing, sea kayaking, off-road cycling and wild swimming. She was introduced to hillwalking while at the University of Newcastle in the early 1990s. Fiona has compleated the Munros and is now working through her Corbetts.

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Peter Macfarlane

Peter combines a life in the outdoors with an engineering background to consult on gear design and carry out pre-production testing. His outdoors journey started with the scouts in the 70’s and drew him into the Scottish hills, where you’ll find him in every season, often with a tent. Peter tests gear throughout the highlands, as well during his regular work as a Woodland Trust ranger.

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Lara Dunn

Lara has worked in outdoors media since the late 90’s as a writer, reviewer, and an editor in her own right across adventure travel and cycling titles. She has hiked, cycled, climbed, scrambled, trekked, ambled, and swum all over the UK and further afield.

James Roddie headshot

James Roddie

James is a wildlife photographer and guide based in Inverness. He has been hill-walking and climbing in Scotland since 2007 and is nearing the end of his first round of Munros. Highlights of his outdoors career have included first ascents of rock-climbs in Glencoe, backpacking in the Yosemite backcountry, and perfect winter days on the Cuillin Ridge.

As the original mountain magazine, The Great Outdoors has been leading the way to high places for over 40 years. We aim to be the perfect companion to your next big adventure. With the finest mountain photography, authentic voices from the trails as well as expert gear reviews and skills advice, you’ll find everything you need to stay safe and enjoy big days out.

For those times when you can’t escape into the hills, The Great Outdoors will transport you there from the comfort of your armchair.

Subscribe and discover adventure in every issue…

– Tales from the trails

– Expert gear reviews

– Mapped walking routes

– The best skills advice

– News from the hills

and so much more. So, subscribe today.

Contributors wanted!

Are you passionate about hill walking, hiking, and exploring the great outdoors? Do you find solace in the serenity of mountain vistas, the rush of fresh air, and the thrill of conquering new summits? If so, we want you to be part of our adventure-loving team at The Great Outdoors!

What We’re Looking For: We’re on the lookout for passionate contributors who can help inspire and inform our audience. Whether you’re an experienced mountaineer, a hiking aficionado, a trail runner, or a camping expert, we welcome you to share your knowledge, experiences, and love for the outdoors with our growing community.

Why Contribute?

  • Share Your Expertise: Showcase your expertise and passion for the great outdoors. Help fellow adventurers learn new skills, discover exciting trails, and stay safe in the wilderness.
  • Build Your Portfolio: Gain exposure and build your online presence as a respected outdoor expert.
  • Connect with a Community: Join a vibrant community of like-minded adventurers who share your enthusiasm for hill walking and hiking.
  • Impact Lives: Your contributions will inspire and motivate others to explore the wonders of nature while promoting responsible outdoor practices.
How to pack a backpack_TGO-BERGHAUS-Jessie_Leong-H68A5904

Checking the map in the Grey Corries. Credit: Jessie Leong.

Types of Content We’re Interested In

  1. Trail Guides: Share your favourite hiking routes, complete with stunning photos and detailed descriptions.
  2. Survival Tips: Educate our audience on essential wilderness survival skills, safety precautions, and emergency preparedness.
  3. Tutorials and How-Tos: Create step-by-step guides for outdoor skills, such as map reading, campfire cooking, and wilderness navigation.
  4. Environmental Awareness: Advocate for responsible outdoor practices and promote eco-friendly approaches to hill walking and hiking.

How to Get Involved

Please send a brief email to sam.curtis@kelsey.co.uk with the following:

  • Your name and a short introduction
  • Your areas of expertise and the type of content you’d like to contribute
  • A sample of your previous work (if available)
  • Your social media handles (optional)

Join us in our mission to inspire, educate, and connect outdoor enthusiasts from around the world.

📧 For digital pitches email: sam.curtis@kelsey.co.uk

📧 For print feature pitches and gear queries email: davidlinterntgo@gmail.com

📧 To speak to the Acting Editor email: francesca.donovan@kelsey.co.uk

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