Anxiety and Depression

Since my ex wife divorced me nearly two years ago, having to move out of the family home which I’d paid a mortgage for and move into rented accommodation I’ve suffered immensely with anxiety and depression.

Some days I’ve found it hard to get out of bed.

Some weeks I didn’t eat for 2-3 weeks at a time. Living on apple juice and yoghurts.

I’ve not exercised (or even moved much) for nearly two years.

I’ve lost 25lbs – mostly muscle mass.

Me – 1991

I’ve ascended most fells in The Lake District and Ben Nevis twice.

Near Styhead Tarn

Scafell Pike

Ben Nevis

And here I was today. Having to get my flu jab. I decided to walk it to try and get the old legs and lungs working. I was dreading it.

On the way I’m sure two snails overtook me…

Walk to The Medical Centre

I made a massive mistake. I believed my marriage / family WAS my life. I believed in it. And in the process lost who I was. My identity was my family.

I devoted almost 30 years to my wife and then son. Then I was abandoned and betrayed.

And you know…I didn’t just lose my family and my home. I lost my family meals, my family dog walks, my holidays, birthdays, Christmases and Easter’s. My future. I live on my own now and at times I don’t see anyone for weeks at a time apart from my weekly shopping excursion.

I’m slowly trying to find myself again. I need to get back into:

  • Training both resistance and cardio
  • Photography
  • Walking
  • Hiking
  • Cycling

I’m slowly coming out of the ‘nose dive’. At times I was very very ill. Both physically and mentally.

I’d never known anything like it.

I’ve bought a new camera – a Canon R7. I know ‘buying things’ isn’t the answer. I’m just hoping it’ll give me a little incentive to ‘get out there’!

Canon R7

Wish me luck!

What I carry when outdoors

When going for a ramble or a more serious walk I tend to carry the same things in my rucksack.

I’ve always used ‘mental systems’ so that I remember things. For the great outdoors it’s:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Shelter
  • Communication
  • Navigation
  • Emergency
  • Photographic

Let me break that down for you.


Pasties, sandwiches, fruit, nuts, chocolate.


Plain water to make a brew with the Jetboil and some diluted squash. Occasionally a bottle of beer for summit celebrations!


Thermal smock, waterproof, hat (baseball and woollen cap), gloves.


iPhone. Very occasionally Motorola Radios if there’s more than just me.


Map, compass, GPS (Satmap Active 10 and mapping app on iPhone). Route card. Occasionally guide book.


Petzl head torch, Leatherman, whistle, lighter (Zippo).


CCS camera bag or Lowe Pro depending if more than one lens is taken. Camera, spare batteries and CF Cards. Cleaning cloth and blower brush. Remote release. Tripod (Benbo Trekker or Manfrotto).


I’ve just ordered a new rucksack…a black version of the Berghaus Ridgeway…I’ll keep you  informed…

In the doldrums 

I’ve been in the photography / walking / camping doldrums for a few years now. Must be an age thing.

I used to be a very keen fell walker and have done it since about 1983.


Anyway, I’ve snapped out of that now. I’ve just prepped my new Berghaus Crusader rucksack for this years adventures.

And I’ve bought a new OEX Lynx tent for some camping adventures!

And I’ve sorted out the camping kit.

Let the adventures begin!

Ultimate Peapod 

About 1984 I bought an Ultimate Peapod tent to use as I camped all over The Lake District. 


I used it extensively until about 1991.

It then went into the loft…

I used it once in 2009 on a Skye trip…apart from a few blemishes it was as good as new.

I’m off to Skye soon so thought I’d best check it out.

I pitched it on Sunday 5th April 2015….remarkably after  31 years it appears to function as new. (Although I’ve not checked its waterproofness)!



I think it cost about £100 at the time, when I was on about £28 per week. So very expensive. Looking back….best £100 I ever spent. Used to ‘Wild Camp’ before it was ‘fashionable’ and was just called ‘Camping’…


Another fabulous holiday in Eskdale.

We recently spent a fabulous few days at the Camping and Caravanning site in Eskdale.


The site was, as ever, immaculate.  My son squirted the trees with ‘Alien Acid’ whilst I erected the Vango Airbeam tent.





There are some great pubs nearby, for lunch one day we visited the Boot Inn.



I was enjoying a rather tasty Tuna Mayo sandwich until I found two blonde hairs stuck to the bread, yuk.  They clearly weren’t mine as you can see I’m as bald as a coot!

On another day we walked to Dalegarth Station (a very short walk indeed) and took La’al Ratty to Ravenglass.  My wife and son did a bit of beach combing.





We also had a short stroll to the Roman Bath House…


When we returned to the camp site my son tried to wear himself out on the trampoline.


On our last day we had a wonderful walk alongside the River Esk…







We had an excellent time and will return again soon!




A weekend camping in Eskdale…

We recently purchased a  new tent…a Vango Icarus 500 Airbeam.  Having no experience of the Airbeam technology we decided to use the long weekend as a ‘pilot’ camp – to test the ease of erection <ahem> and stability.

We returned to the Camping and Caravanning  camp site at Eskdale on Friday. We had stayed the previous  year in the Camping Pods, my son loved it so much and made some friends who were staying in tents, hence him persuading us to buy ours.



On arrival we were greeted by Martyn Merckel, the Franchisee.  He’s a very friendly chap…and a busy one… Martin showed us to our pitch, a nice quiet area away from the top field where there is a children’s play area, so it can get a bit boisterous with lots of excitable kids playing.

My wife took my son to play in the play area whilst I rolled my sleeves up and prepared the camp.  Putting up the tent was simplicity itself, you simply peg out the corners, inflate the 3 Airbeams with the pump provided, then peg out the rest of the tent and guy ropes.  Easy peasy.  Once the tent was fully erected it appeared very stable indeed, that said, there was no rain or wind to contend with.


When my son returned from playing he could not believe daddy had got the tent up so quickly….


It was also Harry’s first camp (the pooch)…he seemed to enjoy himself…


The camp site is dog friendly, has all the facilities you could wish for, and is immaculate.  A credit to Martin and Sara.

Whilst I was sitting chilling with a beer, I noticed an Army truck dropping people off and picking them up from the camp site entrance.  On investigation I found out it was being used as transportation to The Woolpack Inn about a mile along the undulating and narrow road.

We decided to visit the Inn on the Saturday.

The Woolpack Inn is in the heart of Eskdale in the Lake District National Park and the location is stunning – at the top of one of England’s most dramatic valleys, and the bottom of one of its most exciting roads – Hardknott Pass.

We walked along the road where there were some fantastic views to be had along the way…we soon reached the Inn.


And shortly after our arrival, the Army truck turned up…


Apparently, it’s a Reynolds-Boughton: RB44. You can find out more about it here…

We lazed in the sunshine drinking beer whilst my son played in the play area.  The menu at the Woolpack Inn is fabulous…it had us salivating in no time…


We went back to the camp site in the evening after a fabulous day….after another lazy ‘sit around drinking beer’ episode it was time for bed, have to be up early to strike camp and drive back home.

We can’t wait to return…



Personal Goals 2014

These are my goals for 2014:

Lose 50lbs.
Be in the best physical shape I can be.
Here I am circa 1991, not sure if I can get quite into this shape but I’m going to try my very best!


Photograph a minimum of 12 personally satisfying landscape images.
I’ve decided I’m not going to have any ‘clients’ – I’ll take photographs just to satisfy me, then pop them onto a web site, if they sell, they sell. If they don’t, then no loss. No more weddings and portraits. Too much pressure!


Turnover £1200 on Landscape image sales.
I’ll set up a Clikpic site or similar and see if any of my images sell! Simple!

Ascend 24 Birketts.
A Birkett is a fell over 300 metres in height in the English Lake District. Named after Bill Birkett who catalogued them. Here’s the chap himself who I photographed at Friars Crag, Derwentwater.


Read 12 books.
I love to read, both fact and fiction. I’m currently reading this…it’s heavy going 🙂


What are yours?

A photographic idea

I’m considering an idea. I occasionally get people asking how I take my images, what kit I use etc.

I’m considering a meet up in The Lakes, probably around Derwentwater with anyone who wants to improve their photography – it would suit those who are at the most basic level.

I’ll show you what kit I use. How I compose my images. I’ll discuss post processing etc.

I’ve not done this before, there will be no fee, quite informal.

Anyone interested?


If you are interested please fill in the form below:

I’d be hoping to do this on April 14th 2013.















If possible, bring a camera, (you won’t need a DSLR – any kind of camera will do), and a tripod…



iPhone Photography

Been in the Lake District for a few days and using the iPhone 4 for taking snaps.


I take the images using ProHDR software…


Then process them a little further using Snapseed…


I then export the images to Instagram – I quite like the output however I fully appreciate they will not be to everyone’s taste – they may look a little ‘overcooked’ however I like the dramatic style !