I’ve been here for a few months now but in that time I’ve been a bit preoccupied with getting the Winter Outdoor 100 put together and published – so apologies for the silence. The product guide is now live, please do go and check it out. We had an excellent team behind it, including our photographer Chris Johnson who took some brilliant pictures of the kit out in the Brecon Beacons.
Anyway, I know that there are plenty of people who’ve been following Outdoors Magic for a number of years now, some for perhaps over a decade, and there might be a few who are stumbling across it for the first time as well, so I thought it would be polite to introduce myself.
I’m fortunate enough to be one of those people who has a career based around my hobby, you could even say that I’m a hiker first, journalist second.
That was the order in which it all happened anyway. After leaving university I didn’t have a clue what type of career I wanted so I just wandered away from making a decision. Quite literally. I walked out of my front door on the South Wales coast and completed a 1000-mile loop around the edge of my home country, wild camping each night and stopping in just about every pub I came across. I quickly got hooked on the sense of adventure that a long distance walk provides, so, inevitably after that I kept going: hiking the length of the Dolomites on the Alta Via 2 and from one end of Spain to the other on the Camino de Santiago.
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I did a bit of blogging as I went, and I also sent shot-in-the-dark emails to hiking magazines asking for commissions or work experience.
That led me to The Great Outdoors magazine where I spent three years working on the editorial team. During that time, I went on countless wild camps, crossed Scotland on foot, and had adventures further afield, with a few visits to Scandinavia and the Alps.
Wales is where I do most of my hiking, not so much out of convenience (the Brecon Beacons are my nearest mountains), but out of choice. One of my most recent Welsh trips was an end-to-end hike along the Cambrian Way, a 468km wilderness route that climbs just about every mountain in the country. It was a demanding trek and there were some tough moments – like the night I had to sleep in a public toilet after my tent blew down on Cadair Idris. But it was also a hugely rewarding trek, allowing me to really unlock my home country and see all of its wildest parts. There’s a big year ahead for the Cambrian Way as Ramblers Cymru are launching a campaign to try to raise its profile and get it recognised officially. You’ll be hearing a bit more about that here in this column over the next few months.
Enough about me anyway. It’s good to have you as a visitor to Outdoors Magic, keep coming back for our expert gear reviews – we’ll be making sure that the photography continues to be top notch – and keep your eyes peeled for our ‘how-to’ articles. For these we’ll be collaborating with some exciting names in the outdoors to give advice on anything from camping in gale force winds to finding the best pint in the Lake District.
If there’s anything you’d like us to cover do get in touch on our social channels, or drop us an email. We’d love to hear from you.