The December issue of The Great Outdoors is a snow-packed special, bundled with a free 32-page winter skills guide. Discover the routes, gear and essential skills you need to make the most of the season.
Welcome to winter, in all its cornice-capped, glaciated glory. So the December edition of The Great Outdoors is a special one – in this bumper celebration of the snowy season, you get two magazines for the price of one!
Our free 32-page winter skills supplement is your one-stop guide to the knowledge, kit and clothing you need to take on snow-covered mountains. Learn how to use ice axes and crampons; discover our pick of the best winter equipment; get expert advice on understanding avalanche danger; or set your sights even higher and learn how to climb Mont Blanc; it’s all here, and loads more besides.
For an Alpine-style winter mountaineering fix it doesn’t get much better than Lochaber (as long as that fickle winter weather plays ball, of course!). So in the main issue, a host of outdoor enthusiasts lay on a feast of inspiration with winter tales from this spikily spectacular part of the West Highlands. If your winter ambitions are more modest, Vivienne Crow’s Lake District feature visits the best valleys and low fells for gentler snowy outings.
Elsewhere in the December issue:
- Alex Roddie tackles the snowy Munros above Glenfinnan
- James Roddie backpacks through the fledgling forests of Glenfeshie
- Lucy Wallace and David Lintern review the best ice axes and crampons.
PLUS How outdoors instructors coped through Covid, Jim Perrin’s portrait of a Shropshire summit, walking trousers reviewed, how to tackle the Mosedale Horseshoe, and five mapped wild walks for your delectation.
How to get a copy
- Order a single copy of this issue and get it delivered with free postage.
- Take out an annual subscription and take advantage of our new subscriber offer (£15 for your first 6 issues).
- Download the digital version to your tablet or smartphone and start reading straight away.
- Take advantage of our special lockdown offer (3 issues along with the accompanying digital editions for just £9.99 plus free postage, with no ongoing commitment to subscribe.)
- Buy it in shops across the UK.
Read more: a look inside the issue
FREE winter skills guide: Produced in collaboration with our friends at Mountain Hardwear, this is our one-stop guide to the knowledge, kit and clothing you need to take on snow-covered mountains. Learn how to use ice axes and crampons; discover our pick of the best winter equipment; get expert advice on understanding avalanche danger; or set your sights even higher and learn how to climb Mont Blanc; it’s all here, and loads more besides.
Winter wonderland: With a coating of snow and ice, the West Highland region of Lochaber is the nearest Britain gets to a landscape of Alpine proportions. Back in the main issue, a host of enthusiasts share the stories of their best winter days in this mighty mountain kingdom.
“Arguably, Lochaber is the heartland of mountaineering in the UK. Wasdale in the western Lake District can claim to be the birthplace of rock climbing, but Glen Coe and the north face of Ben Nevis are where climbers pioneered the first winter test pieces. Mountaineers came here to practise before heading to the Alps and Greater Ranges, and it was the stomping ground of working-class climbing clubs like Creagh Dhu and the Ptarmigan, which sprang up from Glasgow shipyard communities.”
Seize the day: Winter in the Scottish mountains can be a fleeting thing. In this abridged extract from his new book The Farthest Shore, Alex Roddie diverts from a winter walk of the Cape Wrath Trail to tackle the Munros above Glenfinnan in their full snowy glory.
“Beneath us, mist curled in the valleys. I could see the greenish tinge of frost in meadows where the sun had not yet stripped it away. Sandwiched between the shadowy forests below and the snow above, hillsides burned a steady russet-gold in the sunshine, the colour of old bracken and deer grass.”
Low and mighty: You don’t always need to head for the heights to appreciate the dramatic beauty of winter in a mountain landscape. Vivienne Crow reflects on some of the Lake District’s most beautiful valleys and lower fells – perfect for gentler walking during the snowy months.
“Going off-piste on the way up to the 658m High Pike at the start of last winter, I climbed slopes of virgin snow unsullied by walkers’ boots. Even on the way up to this tiddler of a fell, beloved of runners and picnicking families in the summer, I felt like the first person ever to have stepped into this immaculate landscape. From the summit, massive expanses of white led towards Blencathra and Skiddaw. In the distance, Bow Fell and the Scafells looked bigger and edgier than normal in their Alpine-like garb.”
Reaching for the future: In a glen in the Cairngorms, a lost forest is making a spectacular comeback. James Roddie goes on a two-day backpacking trip through one of Scotland’s most hopeful landscapes: Glen Feshie.
“After 20 minutes we came across our first ‘Granny pine’. A huge Scots pine, twisted by time and the wind, greeted us from the heathers. These ancient trees, relics of the ‘Caledonian Forest’ – a coniferous rainforest that once covered vast swathes of Scotland – can be found in fragments throughout the Highlands. Usually they are in the last decade of their lives, and centuries of overgrazing have left them to die alone, without a single sapling to replace them. This old pine, however, was far from lonely. Spread out in an arc beneath the Granny’s limbs were hundreds of tiny trees, all reaching for the future.”
Order a single copy of this issue and get it delivered with free postage.