About Me

I have been camping since the age of four, some 45 years ago and backpacking from the age of eleven. Although I did have a period of time with young children and building up my business where this rather took a back seat.

I have backpacked and day walked many parts of the UK and my longest trip being a two week backpack in the Swiss alps in the early 1980’s.  When I first started backpacking at the tender age of 11, the gear I used was very different with waterproofed cotton walking smocks and canvas backpacks with leather shoulder straps. Later moving on to the “Cobmaster” style packs with a large aluminum frame outside of a nylon sack. Cotton tents, especially the Blacks Good Companion and Force Ten tents were the order of the day and were split between three people because of the weight.

The gear I now use and review is a far cry from those days and makes you appreciate the lightweight of today’s offerings.

I started back walking seriously again in 2007 and blogging  since July 2010.  I try to get out as much as possible, but unfortunately never as much as I would like !

All the best



28 Responses to About Me

  1. Adam says:

    Hi Mark, thought I’d get in touch as your blogger buddy Alan Sloman is testing some kit for us.
    really like the style of your blog posts and wondered if you’d like to review kit (and keep it) for us too.

    Email me back and we’ll have a chat.
    or you can ask Alan what a great guy I am..then email me.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    All the best

  2. Tim Laurence says:

    Mark, I posted this comment on SectionHiker and thought you may be interested.
    I know the problem you are talking about, having trouble filling a soft sided container like a platty. Here is how I have solved that problem very successfully (never had a problem filling with 300+ days of travel).

    First choice is a steady drip from a facet, mossy overhang, etc.

    Next if I can find a river or creek I find the steepest spot in it. If I lucky water is coming off a rock in a pout-over. The platty will then fill up to the level of the pour-over. This doesn’t need to be high because the platty is very flat and can be stretched out the the opening lifted just a bit.

    After that I can construct a pout over. Find a large leaf and fold it into a V. Place one end in the slow flow of water near a drop-off. If you are lucky you will end up diverting enough water to make a pour-over.

    If you have a large pool of water (lake, pond, deep river, etc) just force the water in. Do this by squeezing all the air out of the platty. Next while holding th eneck push the puch through and under he water with a firm motion. This motion will scoop the water into the pouch. Pull it out an you will find it is partially full. Repeat squeezing the air out before every “scoop”. The water cannot push air out, it will only help bellow out the pouch as it is filing it.

    Finally you can bring a small scoup like a cut off bottle or use your pot. I haven’t had to do that in about 8 years since I learned the scooping trick.

  3. Hi Mark, Been meaning to say for a while that if you’re ever over this side of Kinder (Hayfield) and fancy some company on a walk, let me know. Chrissie

  4. Nick Proctor says:

    Hi Mark. I was directed to your blog by a young man I was chatting to in the pub at Tealby. I am a keen hillwalker and I am thinking about setting up my own blog and wondered whether you could give me a bit of advice. Nick.

    • Hi Nick, sorry for the delay in replying the pressure of work has rather curtailed my blogging activities. I will be back to you as soon as I can – I am flying to the States today so I can probably catch up on the plane!!

  5. Hi Mark,
    Just a few lines to get in touch,

    I am writing to ask if you would be interested in road tesing one of you hats, My wife is Brazilian ( from the middle of the Amazon Rain Forest, I got married there !… takes normally about 6-8 days to get to the village from the UK door to door 2 days flying, 2 days bus and the rest on a boat . Adventure …. love it.

    Anyway the Brazilians make these hats from recycled truck tarpaulins and alot of the locals wear them, they are very individual and come with that worn look you get from your old fav jeans on jumper

    She is now selling them in the UK on this site http://www.tarphat.co.uk
    If you could give us a leg up by casting your eye over one that would be great, just give us your hat size and address.

    Kind Regards

    Charlie & Ana Abbott Aranha

  6. charlie says:

    Hi David,
    Yes, Real Brazil do sell a similar hat but far from ours being a “Knock Off” my wife was born deep in the Amazon Rain Forest which we visit 2 times every year. Real Brazil are a good company but however are American who have only been trading for a few years !.
    Ana’s family have worn and sold these for at least 2 decades in Brazil and now she has started in the UK.
    We hope this unique Amzonian family conection and business stands us apart from the rest

    Charlie 🙂

    The Amazonian Real Brazilian Tarp Hat Company

  7. Gemma says:


    I’m involved with a charity walk around the edge of Wales, it’s over 1000 miles and will raise money for the Wales Air Ambulance and the RNLI. We have a website at http://www.walkaroundwales.com and are hoping that you might be interested in writing for it so that we can have some interesting content. You’ll be helping us and the charities a lot and of course we’ll link back to your site so you may even get a few new readers.

    We’re looking for any pieces about writing, maybe tips, stories about walks you’ve been on, general articles about walking or anything that you think might fit.

    Hope you’re interested,
    Gemma Williams – walkaroundwales@gmail.com

  8. Hi Mark thought I’d let you know that hubby Geoff heard from MMM today and apparently he should have a “living with a warwick duo” article printed in the august issue, which i assume comes out in july…
    If it is in, this’ll be his first one in MMM although they do have a couple more that they say they’re also going to print later in the year.

  9. Hi Mark. Great site, always an interesting read. Quick question please. I notice you posted a comment on another site (here – http://jolly-green-giant.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/new-cuben-shelter.html?showComment=1315502637031#c5525521564171878623) with regards to a tent not quite being quite suitable for UK conditions. Well, I’m seriously considering that tent but as I’ve been a bivy user for some years I really don’t know much about tents! Would you mind elaborating on what you think would make that tent more suitable for the UK? Is it to do with wind/rain? Thanks! markgoldie@gmail.com (http://pedalhead.net).

    • Mark, thanks for dropping by. Sorry for the delay in responding. The wedge shape would suggest to me that it may be not as stable in windy exposed conditions as some tent designs. I am basing this on comments I have seen on similar tent designs rather than any experience with the actual tent.

  10. As I have my own (Dutch) walking blog since a couple of weeks, I discovered today your walking blog! Thank you, I loved the photo’s and love to read your blogs!

    • Hi Caroline, thank you for your kind words. I will take a look at your blog now and use Google translation to read(does not always translate correctly, but I will understand most of it!) I am afraid my Dutch is not very good 🙂 Good luck with your blog.

  11. HI Mark,

    I have just found your blog and it looks great. I have started one recently and I am trying to keep up with writing all the content. How do you do it? Is there anything that you can suggest to help keep the posts focussed interesting and not too laboured?



    • Hi David thanks for your kind remarks. I guess that is the hardest part of writing a blog keeping the content fresh and relevant. I suppose this comes with experience. I always like to try and put myself in role of the reader and try and think what they would be interested in. For me most of my readers are interested in trip reports and gear reviews. I tend not to do straight out of the box reviews amy more, because no-one can really tell how it is going to perform out in the field by just looking at it – so I like to get some good usage under my belt before writing up. Always important to have plenty of white space in the article,(not too much tightly typed text) with photos which are relevant to the text accompanying them. Good luck with the blog. I will have a visit to it.

      • Thanks for the advice Mark. I will try to keep those tips in mind when writing my posts. Please do stop by my blog, I hope you will find it interesting. I will be following yours in the future.

  12. Hi Mark,
    Are you able to drop me an email to info@campsites-uk.co.uk? (I’ll be honest, I have a favour to ask you!)

  13. Matt White says:

    Spending some quality time looking your blog. I’m really enjoying it. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly find comments appearing on ancient posts!

  14. Jenny MacLennan says:

    Hi Mark,
    After a lot of research for a lightweight solo tent for use in the UK I am about to order the Stratospire 1! Hoping to do the TGO challenge next year. May I ask if you think I need to request any modifications or extra guying points for pitching in windy conditions, or is it good to go as it is? Do you routinely use lifter poles?
    It’s been a great help being able to read blogs and comments like yours when making my decision.
    Many thanks,

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