Bivvying in the Lake District, fast-packing the West Highland Way and crossing Europe on foot (despite the pandemic!) – the July issue of The Great Outdoors is packed cover-to-cover with adventure.
Main image: David Lintern soaks up the summer sun in the Flowerdale hills, north of Torridon. Photo: David Lintern
It’s not always easy making time for adventure, which is why the July issue of The Great Outdoors is an ode to the delights of shorter trips. From Hanna Lindon’s roundup of bite-sized British hillwalking weekends to James Forrest’s three-day ultralight backpack of the 155km (96-mile) West Highland Way, it’s proof that short time frames can still yield big adventures.
And while it’s the very opposite of a ‘bitesize’ adventure, Ursula Martin’s feature on continuing her 5500-mile walk across Europe despite the impact of the pandemic deserves a special mention – it’s an extraordinary story. Read more about it below.
Also in this inspirational issue:
- Legendary bivvier Ronald Turnbull describes his 100th lightweight summit sleep in the Lake District
- David Lintern attempts a new backpacking route in Torridon
- David Lintern and Lucy Wallace review multi-day backpacks.
PLUS: Top 10 walks in the South Lakes, how to hike in heat, warm weather hats reviewed, 5 varied walking route across the UK, and masses more.
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Read more: a peek inside the issue
Finding the flow: Travelling fast and light with a minimalist setup, James Forrest set out to walk and wild camp the 96-mile West Highland Way in just three days. Idiotic or inspired? He’d soon find out…
“I thrive on a challenge. I love the exercise, the adrenaline and the sense of achievement. I love spending all day outside from dawn to dusk, knowing that – whilst other walkers are in the pub by 5pm back in ‘reality’ – I still have five hours left on the trail at the quietest, most charming time of day. And, perhaps most of all, I love moving fast and light through a landscape.”
The freedom of the hills: Bivvying is camping at its most minimalist, with just a waterproof bag between you and the elements. Legendary bivvyer Ronald Turnbull heads to the Lake District to mark his 100th lightweight summit sleep – and looks back on some of his most memorable nights in the wild.
“We reached the top of Walla Crag at around 6.30pm. A chilly wind was blowing, the light was fading into evening, and the view looked about as lovely as Lakeland gets. Which is to say, very lovely indeed. Supper would be slightly delayed, with photos waiting to be taken in every direction. And then some more photos, as the clouds wafted around Walla and the colours of the sky slowly faded into nightfall.”
Paradise found: The giants of Torridon get all the plaudits, but the mountains to their north are blissfully overlooked. David Lintern makes the most of a glorious summer weather window to attempt a new backpacking route: the ‘Flowerdale Three’.
“I was out onto open moorland before the first of the weekend’s miracles took place. As I stopped for water, wondering exactly where I should peel off the path for the first top, the grey, humid fog that had hitherto ignored Met Office optimism began to thin out and separate. First I saw just the top of Baosbheinn – the evocatively named Wizard’s Hill – then the flanks of Beinn an Eoin (‘the hill of the bird’) emerged, flush with the reds and golds of sunlight on deergrass.”
Walking through lockdown: What’s it like to be a long-distance wanderer in a locked-down world? Despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ursula Martin has continued a walk across Europe that she began in 2018. Here she gives her unique perspective on the last year.
“Where were you when you heard the news about your country’s first lockdown. Me? I was wild camped underneath a little chapel deep in the forest of the Ligurian Alps in western Italy. There was an open archway leading to a small, sheltered area with a long wooden table and benches. It had smoke-blackened walls from dozens of ineffectual fires in the crumbling corner fireplace. The mist drifted through the trees, the birds sang their merry morning tune and I stared at my phone in disbelief. ‘Italy is on national lockdown. All citizens to go to their homes and stay inside’.”
Order a single copy of this issue and get it delivered with free postage.