Who are you, what do you do?
Just someone who likes to travel in remote places and take photographs. I grew up in the big city (London, UK) and came into backpacking late, but I've always had the habit of finding empty corners to get lost in, be it the local abandoned brickworks or bigger mountains further afield. I walked across the Pyrenees between France and Spain in 2011 for 64 days which definitely changed my outlook. I currently work for The John Muir Trust, a wild land conservation organisation, part time and am based in Edinburgh, Scotland. I also do some writing and photography for my own blog and other outdoors publications in the UK.
Where do you hike mostly?
I moved to Scotland to be nearer the hills, really. Anywhere and everywhere, but preferably away from roads and trailheads—I'm happy to share with other people, just good to be away from built environments. I like the pointy stuff especially. And the islands of the West Coast are pretty magical. I just did a 4 day trip in Lochaber which finished on the Càrn Mòr Dearg Arête and Ben Nevis—it was truly world class. The Cairngorms National Park is 2 hours travel for me and I've barely scratched the surface. It really is a beautiful country, we're very lucky.
What do you take on the trail?
Backpacking is fundamentally a sweaty activity for scruffy hill tramps and not about the bling for me. That said, I tend to favour the "JEEP" principle-Just Enough Essential Parts. This stuff works well for me at the moment:
In the Summer:
- Traildesigns Ti Tri stove for covering all bases of simplicity
- Montane Terra Pants for total indestructibility
- La Sportiva Raptor trail runnners for no heel rise
- I'm also a Gossamer Gear trail ambassador and rate their Gorilla pack very highly for trips of up to 5-6 days
In the winter:
- Rab Vapour Rise Softshell for balance of breathability and protection
- Grivel AirTech Evolution ice axe for total security and no grazed knuckles
- Crux AK-37 pack for durability and comfort
- Montane Prism insulated jacket for its old school throw over warmth
- MLD trailstar shelter for its wind resistance
- Chocolate, any brand is fine
What would be some of your ideal kit?
A full frame DSLR that was small enough to put in my pocket, weighed under a kilo (with lens) but retained hands on functionality. And instant regeneration seeds that would restore a natural treeline to the highlands and taste foul to grazing deer.