Tag Archives: outdoor

wild winter

Wild Winter by John D Burns and read by Stewart Crank.

From Audible:

In Wild Winter, John D. Burns, best-selling author of The Last Hillwalker and Bothy Tales, sets out to rediscover Scotland’s mountains, remote places and wildlife in the darkest and stormiest months. He traverses the country from the mouth of the River Ness to the Isle of Mull, from remote Sutherland to the Cairngorms, in search of rutting red deer, pupping seals, minke whales, beavers, pine martens, mountain hares, and otters. In the midst of the fierce weather, John’s travels reveal a habitat in crisis, and many of these wild creatures prove elusive as they cling on to life in the challenging Highland landscape.

As John heads deeper into the winter, he notices the land fighting back with signs of regeneration. He finds lost bothies, old friendships and innovative rewilding projects, and – as Covid locks down the nation – reflects on what the outdoors means to hillwalkers, naturalists and the folk who make their home in the Highlands.

Wild Winter is a reminder of the wonder of nature and the importance of caring for our environment. In his winter journey through the mountains and bothies of the Highlands, John finds adventure, humour and a deep sense of connection with this wild land.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is a beautifully written and really well narrated book. I absolutely loved listening to it and it felt way too short.

The author has an amazing talent for describing outdoor scenes and environments. His skill takes you away from your current location and firmly plants you in the spot he is describing. His love of the outdoor life and his passion for the Scottish Highlands is evident all the way through and is inspiring.

Not only does he take us to the Highlands but he allows us a glimpse of the strong friendships he has built since childhood and the struggle he had coping with the lockdown at the start of Covid.

This is a hugely positive and uplifting book and definitely my favourite audiobook so far.

Header image source: fossbytes.com

welcome break

With a big Sale event at work to launch the new store it’s been a pretty busy few weeks. Wednesday was my first day off after working nine straight through and nine very busy days at that. As you may imagine a day off was very welcome.

I’d been keeping an eye on the weather and with a dry and sunny forecast I decided it was a perfect day for a longer walk and wanting something different I decided to walk to a small wooded area approximately 6km from home and to cook some lunch while sitting and enjoying the woods.

I packed a bag with a frying pan, some bacon and eggs and my Trangia stove. Not preparing the evening before I ended up doing everything in a bit of a rush and managed to forget a few things. The biggest thing I forgot was my fuel bottle so I only had what was remaining from my last time out. This was only half what I needed so I had to make a choice between a full lunch or skipping a cup of tea. In the end the tea won out.

The frying pan was too big for the stove and with the ground being more uneven than expected it was quite unwieldy and cumbersome. The uneven ground also resulted in mishaps with my water boiling and I managed to spill it twice! Despite all the things that went wrong I still learned some valuable lessons, had a really good time and enjoyed a great day for a walk. I initially expected a 13km walk but coming home by a slightly different route it ended up as 16.5km.

click here to view on strava

I’ve recently upgraded my cheapo Akaso action camera to a fancy new GoPro Hero 10 and Wednesday was my first real opportunity to try that out too. I didn’t know what to expect so was very impressed with the quality of the video compared to the old one. The sound quality was also superb but this was more expected. I put together a video of the day and it’s live on YouTube if you want to have a look at the link below. I’m looking forward to seeing exactly what the GoPro is capable of on outings over the next few months.

Header image by Pixabay from Pexels

lost in the wild

Lost in the Wild by Cary J. Griffith. Read by Roger Wayne.

From Audible:

In the wilderness, one false step can make the difference between a delightful respite and a brush with death.

On a beautiful summer afternoon in 1998, Dan Stephens, a 22-year-old canoeist, was leading a trip deep into Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park. He stepped into a gap among cedar trees to look for the next portage – and did not return. More than four hours later, Dan awakened from a fall with a lump on his head and stumbled deeper into the woods, confused.

Three years later, Jason Rasmussen, a third-year medical student who loved the forest’s solitude, walked alone into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on a crisp fall day. After a two-day trek into a remote area of the woods, he stepped away from his campsite and made a series of seemingly trivial mistakes that left him separated from his supplies, wet, and lost, as cold darkness fell.

Enduring days without food or shelter, these men faced the full harsh force of wilderness, the place that they had sought out for tranquil refuge from city life. Lost in the Wild takes listeners with them as they enter realms of pain, fear, and courage, as they suffer dizzying confusion and unending frustration, and as they overcome seemingly insurmountable hurdles in a race to survive.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This was my first time listening to an audiobook. I’ve listened to a few podcasts but not an actual book. I listened to it in the car on my commutes to and from work and while out walking. It took me a little while to get used to the idea and to work out how to concentrate on listening to the narrator without letting my mind wander and lose track of the story. However, once I got the hang of it I quite enjoyed the experience.

The story is very well done. The author structures the stories of the two men quite skillfully. The two stories are told separately but side by side with alternating chapters. It was a little confusing at the start but once I got used to the names and characters it was a lot easier to follow and keep the two stories separate.

He also tells their stories from lots of viewpoints. He describes the feelings and thoughts of the two missing men, their relatives and the search and rescue teams. In the case of Dan Stephens he also tells the story from the point of view of the scout group that he was guiding. It’s melded together to create a really good sense of suspense and tension. He also manages to tell the story without judgement. Jason Rasmussen makes a series of mistakes that he just recounts without commenting. Similarly he goes through the thought processes of the scout leaders to leave Dan to get help without telling the reader/listener what to think. He leaves it to us to make our own decisions about the rights and wrongs.

The final part of Jason’s story is particularly well told. The pace is quite fast with the story developing very quickly. It’s told from a number of viewpoints while still keeping us guessing to the actual outcome until the very end. The end of Jason’s story is very emotional and well told.

From my first time experience I’d say that the role of the narrator is crucial. In this case he was very good. It’s an American narrator which suits the setting of the story. His accent suits that of the characters and he tells the story in a nice steady pace. It’s fast enough to keep the story moving without the listener losing the details or flow of the story. The only difficulty I had was his attempts to change his voice and tone to match the characters, especially the female characters. It jarred with me a bit but didn’t ruin the experience. I think this is the default expectation when narrating an audiobook but I don’t think I like it.

I’ve already downloaded a second story to listen to. This is more of an audio drama and more similar to a podcast but with a positive first experience I definitely think I’ll be listening to more books like this.

Header image source: fossbytes.com