Category: Reference

Fairy Lights: A Cosmic Connection

The weekend before last, as I was decorating the Christmas tree, accompanied by the obligatory cheesy Christmas music compilation, and feeling very Christmassy as perfectly timed, big white fluffy flakes of snow fell outside (a very unusual occurrence here in London), I got to thinking.  As I was carefully placing baubles and decorations so as to achieve maximum sparkle from the fairy lights entwined around the tree, I began contemplating, not for the first time, just why it is that we are so drawn to all things twinkly and sparkly.   And it is not just the magic of fairy lights at Christmas that enchant and excite us, we are captivated by all forms of light, natural and artificial, at any time of the year. As I write, the mood will be set for many a romantic dinner the...

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Walking To The British Isles

St Mary’s Island Looking at the global map you see quite clearly the shape of Great Britain, consisting of the majority of England, Scotland and Wales. That is the name of the big large recognisable island. However did you know that the British Isles consists of over 6000 Islands. Out of shore all around are land masses ranging from the larger likes of Anglesey and Isle of Wight to tiny rocky islands and yes, thousands of them. At the bottom of this post is a clever video that very quickly does explain the difference between United Kingdom, Britain, British...

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Animals Living The High Life in Altitude

When climbing to high altitudes you cannot help but notice the landscape turn from greenery to barren rock/ice. As the oxygen thins out the capacity for life diminishes. Why even as you climb up you get to realise that moving around becomes rather unnatural for lung wielding beings never mind plants. So, is there life up there living and thriving? Well, evolution and adaption has helped some creatures survive up high. The key ingredient? Haemoglobin in the red blood cells! This takes oxygen to the body tissues. Those of you who have climbed to high altitudes, where the number...

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Dangerous Beasts in Britain? Not Exactly

Very often as I set off on a local hike or a trip to the mountains I am asked questions from around the world on Twitter. Many and varied. I was struck by how many times I am asked if I come across things like bears or wild dogs here. Of course if you know Britain you may think that is a silly question, but, in the far reaches of the world people will naturally know as little of our land as we theirs. One great reason to travel is to learn and questions also help to learn. Britain...

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Mountain Tops and Goals for All

Mount Vesuvius – Italy You may at times see me on a high mountain of the world, or trekking for days on end, but I assure you that some of my greatest memories and fondest climbs have been lower heights.  It’s the country, the sights variety, the experience and sense of achievement that makes a venture upwards exhilarating and makes all the effort worthwhile. I have a huge bucket list that is full of summits that on paper and statistically seem small and unworthy but each one for me will be a dream and a goal to savor. If...

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3 Remarkable Survivals of Freezing Proportions

As I look at the challenges ahead for me in the next 12 months, I am naturally drawn to research survival in cold temperatures. Whilst reading and learning you cannot help looking at some highly extreme and brave survivors of the cold in the past. Here are 3 great examples which include bravery, leadership and pure survival instincts: Ernest Shackleton and Crew How did ALL crew survive?… Shackleton had already made great accomplishments by the time he set of with a crew on his ship, aptly named ‘Endurance’ in Aug 1914. Having heard of Amundsen’s reach of the South...

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Time To Get Vertical

Mount Thor Whilst out climbing, hiking it is common that you will come along drops. Some steep, some shallow and some hair-raising… well if you can raise your hair 😉 Some are great for scrambling up, heart and lung workouts or a fast way down. Many more are aimed for by climbers with technical abilities to claim new goals in their confidence and thrills. Around the world there are many speactacular vertical drops. I wanted to take a look at a few: Longest Purely Vertical Drop on Earth – Mount Thor Simply a stunning looking drop too. On Baffin...

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A Few Favourite Creatures

A few months ago I did a post on wasps and hornets. That is one of my least favourite beings but got me thinking about some I do like. Quite frankly there are thousands and thousands of animals/creatures that I love to see and learn about. Some of my goals in life are to see as many as possible untouched by humans in their own habitat and not behind a fence or glass. I thought I would share with you just a small few I admire: The Orangutan A wonderful ape. One that I could sit and watch for...

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