Thursday, 11 December 2014

Cotswold Outdoor, Keswick. DVD and print signing with yours truly and David Powell-Thompson

terry abraham david powell-thompson cotswold outdoor keswick
Come along and say hello!

This Saturday I'll be in the Cotswold Outdoor store in Keswick, Cumbria with my good friend TV researcher and mountain guide David Powell-Thompson. David has worked on many TV shows over the years with a focus on our beloved great outdoors including 'Wainwright Walks' with Julia Bradbury and a number of features with Cameron McNeish to name just a few.

We'll both be free to have a good ole chin wag about stuff and will also be signing DVDs and prints too. So if you're about in Keswick this Saturday, do pop along and say hello!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Fix The Fells - Unsung heroes and heroines of Lakeland

Lake District National Park
The beautiful Lake District National Park.

“Neither paths or eroded scars are natural but to my mind a properly built path is less intrusive and does less damage to the environment.”

I’ll be the first to admit that some of the paths that have been repaired by Fix The Fells of the Lake District National Park in recent years aren’t the best to say the least. They appear neither to protect or conserve local habitats or make for easy or safe walking. For example, the path that leads up to Red Tarn via Oxendale in the Langdale Valley is a bit of a death trap in wet weather let alone in winter. The stepping stones are short, closely-knitted and slope downwards - encouraging users to walk either side of the path to avoid ‘dancing on ice’ and taking a considerable tumble. This route was undertaken for repair almost 10 years ago.

And of course more recently there has been some controversy concerning their work on the route up to Sail which lies between Crummock Water and Derwentwater, appearing more akin to a motorway for hikers which has had a considerable negative effect on the aesthetics of this high sloping hill.

All said and done, I’ve got to know the rangers of the Fix The Fells team very well over the past year or two and despite some initial misgivings I’ve been enlightened to how they go about their work currently, in the past and future. They work tremendously hard in all weathers and terrain ensuring paths are suitable to their local environment while protecting and caring for the Lakeland fells.

I’ve become a great admirer of their craft, care and passion for the uplands of Cumbria and I have to say much of the criticisms they receive are based upon short-sighted thinking (including my very own) - even if some of their techniques have not been looked kindly upon in years gone by and deservedly so if I’m honest. But they’re always learning, trying new ideas, with their hearts in the right place and we should all tip our hat off to the teams for that alone. Even the volunteers too!

So now I’m back home, settled and spending more time with my family instead of the fells, I thought I’d share some information and thoughts with you from the Fix The Fells team and hopefully readers of this blog will gain some insight into what they do and why - and perhaps appreciate the bigger picture with regards to their place within the Lake District National Park.

I for one certainly have and consequently intend to continue my support. One of the many unsung heroes and heroines of our beloved fells.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Heavenly wintry scenes in the Lake District

castlerigg lake district
Castlerigg Fell and beyond from Latrigg.

Last weekend I popped up to Keswick, Lake District to attend a DVD signing with Mark Richards in the local Rohan store for 'Helvellyn with Mark Richards'. Before and after the event, I took the opportunity to get to grips with a new camera I've recently become the owner of, the Sony A7S.  It's a remarkable device with incredible low light capabilities and fantastic video too.

I've recently been testing and pushing the A7S to it's limits out on the fells of the Lake District and I'm pleased to say that despite some minor quibbles I'm extremely impressed with this mirrorless full frame camera.

Arriving late on Friday evening to clear skies, and a bright moon I made a dash to Castlerigg Stone Circle on the outskirts of Keswick, keen to see how far I could push the camera's low light features and also do a wee recce for some shots I have in mind for a future video production.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

VIDEO: What does the BMC do for hill walkers?

Some months ago, I was asked by the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) to produce a short video to give an insight into the work they do promoting and supporting hill walking. After all, by and large within the outdoors community they're often seen to only support climbers - which isn't the case at all.

Aware of this misperception, in 2013 the BMC unveiled TGO Magazine regular Carey Davies as their 'Hill walking and Development Officer' and legendary backpacker and author Chris Townsend as their 'Hill Walking Ambassador', the idea being to help raise awareness of the role the BMC plays for hill walkers.

While working on 'Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike' it became apparent to me the efforts the BMC goes to which is often overlooked by the outdoors community.  They had contributed a significant sum to the National Trust's and Fix The Fells coughers who were clearing unnecessary and misleading cairns while contending with footpath erosion at Calf Cove by Great End in the Lake District.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

TGO Awards and a meander about Wasdale and Eskdale

Buckbarrow, Wasdale, Lake District
Buckbarrow, Wasdale at sunset.

The other week, I was fortunate enough to take a well earned break away from my desk and head back up to Cumbria. First off, was a visit to Kendal for the TGO Awards where some of the great and good of the outdoors get together, have a laugh and celebrate - of sorts.

Some of the winners announced were controversial to say the least. You can read about the public voted 'bloggers category' on Alan Sloman's blog HERE. I must admit the winner did raise many eyebrows at the event, and I had my money down on James' wonderful blog to win (HERE). There's quite the backstory to that particular subject - grab a cuppa and flick through Alan's blogposts.

'Pub of the Year' was another public voted category, some jeers and guffaws came from the crowd when the Dog and Gun, Keswick was announced the winner. You can read about my thoughts on the pub HERE, based on it's recent takeover by a PubCo and consequently refurbished.

The managers of the pub approached me after the event and agreed with all I and many others have had to say on the pub's recent takeover whereupon they informed us that it's takings have dropped markedly since (50% no less at times). Their frustrations with dealing with a distant PubCo who 'know better' was very apparent. I felt sorry for them. Perhaps TGO should've pulled the hostelry from the nominations? It's not like they weren't warned. I emailed the magazine and told them a couple of times. As far as the wider public is concerned many would've been oblivious to this legendary pub's current status.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Petition - No zip wire(s) attraction for Glenridding

zip wire attraction glenridding
Nice view eh? Glenridding from Place Fell and map of proposed zip wire attraction.

Please lend your support towards the petition in the following link folks to prevent a long zip wire attraction (four in total) that's sought planning permission to be built in Glenridding, Lake District National Park.

Have a good read on the website to what's been proposed and the background for and against the attraction. Some considerable conflicts of interest going on, and the National Park Authority's handling of this case leaves a lot to be desired to say the least.

My own personal thoughts are this is a bad idea. Unsuitable on so many levels for the area. Hence I've drummed up photos here on this blog to help bring some context to the proposals.

A year or so ago, the Honister Slate Mine in Borrowdale applied to construct a similar attraction. In truth I was indifferent to the whole idea. It's an industrial site, noisy, receives lots of traffic etc and would've been positioned where an old industrial zip wire was many years ago. There was a great deal of debate and controversy over Honister’s application yet the National Park Authority turned it down. Sir Chris Bonnington famously resigned from his position as vice president of ‘Friends of the Lake District’ over their stance opposing the proposal. Arguably, it was a suitable site for such an attraction when push comes to shove and I don’t think it was as bad as some conservationists made out.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Scafells film wins award and it's going on the BBC

scafell pike film award winner
Looking coy....which shocks some of my close friends who know me differently!

"Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike is a masterpiece....scenes keep playing in my mind. It's a wonderful, visually poetic romance; a love song to a mountain and it's people. Congratulations on an amazing achievement."
Author Kev Reynolds

I'm pleased to reveal that my film 'Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike' has won an award for excellence from the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild a couple of weeks ago. I'll admit I was shocked and rather moved by the recognition - hence I appear rather coy in the above photo upon receiving a certificate, prize and praise from folks I've always looked up to and admired from afar in the outdoors media.

2014 has been a heck of a year for me in so many ways, words would fail to describe here on this humble blog. The Scafells film or "my baby" as is often quoted of me, really was a labour of love and long held ambition of mine. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would resonate with so many people out there and be the success it has become.

And to top it all off, thanks to an accidental leak in the next issue of The Great Outdoors Magazine I'm compelled to reveal the news that the BBC will be screening an abridged edit of the film next year on TV and iPlayer!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

New DVDs available now featuring Chris Townsend and Mark Richards

The best of the Lake District on DVD.

My latest Lakeland DVDs 'Backpacking in the Lake District with Chris Townsend' and 'Helvellyn with Mark Richards' are now available to buy from Striding Edge HERE.

There's even a boxset that includes 'Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike' too.

Below you can watch trailers for each, with some brief blurb on what the DVDs are about.


The author of the best selling Backpacker’s Handbook takes us on a high level trek through the Borrowdale summits in a programme full of hints, tips, techniques and equipment for enjoyable, comfortable and safe wild camping.

Perfectly paced the viewer is immersed in iconic locations and spectacular vistas while Townsend gently imparts a lifetime of learning in possibly the finest classroom in England - The Lake District National Park.

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Terry Abraham
Outdoors filmmaker who wild camps to capture the landscapes at their very best. Also a blogger, photographer and gear tester.

I've been known to write from time to time and am a big fan of real ales.

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