The Liebster Award? Nope. I hadn’t come across it either. It’s a bit like a chain letter of questions. Blame it on Keith Foskett. Anyway, here’s the questions he’s asked me and some other ne’er-do-well bloggers.
1) Is it the freedom, the scenery, the solitude, the inspiration, the adventure? What is it about being in the outdoors that you are passionate about?
I’ve always loved walking and camping. I enjoy walking whether it’s in the hills or in the countryside. Wild camping is something that I’ve done since a teenager. I love being in the middle of nowhere. If I don’t have a schedule, sometimes I’ll stay in one place for a couple of nights just to soak up the atmosphere.
2) What part of the world do you live in and where is the local place that you always go back to?
I live just outside London and I often walk in Epping Forest.
3) Where and what would be your dream hiking trip and why?
I’d love to go to New Zealand for the scenery and remoteness. Unfortunately it’s very unlikely to happen because of family considerations.
4) Assuming you expect good weather on a mid-summer trip, would you prefer boots or trail shoes?
I’m a boots man, mainly. I like lightweight boots. However, if the weather forecast is good and I’m not doing anything too rocky, I’d use trail shoes again. I might do for my next trip. The rest of the year, it’s lightweight boots for me.
5) Name the one night you camped that sticks out in your mind as being the best.
It’s difficult to name one night, but I’ll name a place that I’ve camped at several times, which is near Sampson’s Stones underneath Scafell. It’s a magical place to be.
6) . . . and the worst?
The worst night was on Dartmoor in 2012 at Teignhead Farm in heavy rain and strong winds when in the middle of the night I discovered my cuben Duomid had a small leak. I had to rig up a screen over the mesh section of the inner using a wind proof jacket to avoid getting wet. I didn’t get much sleep!
7) This question may seem a little strange but it relates to a blog post I have coming up. Would you be capable of finding your way, without a map, on a circular route around the town where you live? If you live somewhere huge, like London, I’ll let you off this one.
Generally, I have a good sense of direction and spatial awareness. Some days, if I know an area, I’ll navigate without a map or compass all day. Sometimes it can lead to overconfidence, though. Out in Epping Forest, I rarely use a map.
8) What is the best bit of advice you have ever been given in relation to hiking, and who gave it to you?
Alan Sloman recommends airing your feet regularly throughout the day to avoid blisters. Good advice.
9) You’re on a remote stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail in the High Sierra and you get lost. You manage to get reception to make a call to search and rescue but it could be up to 6 days before they find you. What would be your first plan of action?
The first action would be to stay close to the location where the call was made if possible. Second, find water. You can survive without food, but not water. Third priority would be shelter. Fourth would be to make the location easily discoverable, perhaps with a small signal fire.
10) When are you next due to go hiking and where will it be?
I’m hoping to go to Dartmoor in August when there is no firing on the ranges. The plan is a four day circular walk around the moor.
11) What would be your perfect evening meal on trail?
Fuizion Food Beef and Ale stew, dried dates for desert, rounded off with some green tea.
Right, back to my holiday!