Woah! What happened to Outdoors Magic? The short answer is that behind the scenes, the hardworking team at new owners Factory Media has been beavering away working on a completely new website.
In some ways things are staying the same, in that we're still going to be bringing you reviews of the latest and best outdoors gear from all the top brands along with regularly updated outdoor news, videos and advice. But in other departments things are set for some big changes. One of the most obvious of these is that we've properly upped our photographic game to bring you professional quality images of kit being used where it belongs, on the hill.
We're working with top outdoor photographer Lukasz Warzecha of lw.images.co.uk and based on our first batch of images of trail running shoes and gear which will hit the site this month, the results should be stunning. We're going to be photographing kit being worn and used so you can actually see what it looks like. It's a lot of graft to get things right, but we think the results are going to be well worth it.
Here are a few more images so you can see exactly what we mean - cool huh?
Still A Community?
Since OM first hit the web back in 2001, the site's had a strong community based around the forum in particular. Over the years countless OMers have met and walked and climbed together in real life, not just virtually. We've had hundreds of OM meets, some low key, some notorious, and one in particular pretty much underwater in the Lake District, OMers have met and, really, married. And one OM forum member has even climbed Everest.
It might sound melodramatic, but OM has genuinely changed lives, created friendships, fed passions and been - I genuinely believe this folks - a force for good by helping people get outside and discover the outdoors.
The good news is that the forum lives. It's different to the old forum, but the content, countless years of hard-earned advice, accumulated knowledge and yes, pointless chatter, is all still there.
We're hoping that the new forum will be easier to use, smoother in operation and continue to be a valuable resource for outdoors folk everywhere. You'll have to sign in again and yes, it will take some initial getting used to and we suspect that there may be the odd bug to sort out, but hopefully in a month or two's time, it'll feel as familiar and useable as the old version, but without the infuriating bugs and irritating limitations. The forum will, unfortunately, be down for 24 hours (until the evening of August 31st). We apologise for this but we reckon the new version will make the wait more than worthwhile.
We can't force you to use it of course, but we hope you'll give it a go, not least because the UK outdoors community deserves a really active, useful forum where people can chat, debate and share their experiences.
A History Lesson...
This, courtesy of the Way Back Machine is how Outdoors Magic looked back in 2000 when it first hit the web. You may possibly note the terrifying orange theme - we thought it would grab people's attention - along with the fact that back then we actually had Joe Simpson writing for us. Whatever happened to him eh...
Anyway, other noteworthy articles covered scrambling the Clogwyn y Person arete on Snowdon, I still remember the cute chick with the bad climber pants, an ill-judged review of an ill-judged Sprayway hooded fleece gilet conducted in Glossop Tesco and a curious news story about perverted sheep. All I can say is that we were young, naive and full of dot.com enthusiasm. We also managed to royally piss off all the print mags by reviewing them in a tongue and cheek fashion every month. Ooops... some of them are even still around.
And then there was our question and answer kit expert, Richard Gear. Remember him? People used to ask if he was real. Yes, really. Anyway, that was the distant start, since then OM has gone through several incarnations, reviewed thousands of bits of kit and never taken itself particularly seriously. Hard to believe it all started back then.
And harder still to believe that I'm still on board, albeit as Reviews Editor rather than full-on 'Editor'. It's been quite a journey and it's not over just yet either. Welcome to the latest and, I think, best incarnation of OM. Here's hoping you enjoy it. The future's bright, the future's digital. Only the past is orange...