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…


Back to Skye!

I fell a little out of love with Skye in the summer of 2016 on account of the amount of visitors / tourists who simply didn’t know how to drive / park – especially around the beauty spots (honey pots) of:

The Fairy Pools



Neist Point


Talisker Bay


And Elgol


Anyway, I’ve gotten over my little hissy fit and have decided to go back to Skye in May…so I’m currently planning my camping trip….


Photography ‘experts’ 

It makes me laugh now the number of photographers offering ‘photography courses’. They make far more money with these courses than actually selling photographs. They’ll take you to photography ‘honey pots’ where, unless your camera is dead you’re guaranteed a good photo. Photography isn’t that difficult. There are plenty of books and resources on the web to help you. Why be spoon fed? Learn for yourselves guys or just ask these ‘experts’ to send you a print? 

Advice from an 80 year old man

Was doing the Social Media rounds a while back. Still relevant. 

Advice from an 80 year old man…………
1. Have a firm handshake.

2. Look people in the eye.

3. Sing in the shower.

4. Own a great stereo system.

5. If in a fight, hit first and hit hard.

6. Keep secrets.

7. Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen everyday.

8. Always accept an outstretched hand.

9. Be brave. Even if you’re not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.

10. Whistle.

11. Avoid sarcastic remarks.

12. Choose your life’s mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90 per cent of all your happiness or misery.

13. Make it a habit to do nice things for people who will never find out.

14. Lend only those books you never care to see again.

15. Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all that they have.

16. When playing games with children, let them win.

17. Give people a second chance, but not a third.

18. Be romantic.

19. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.

20. Loosen up. Relax. Except for rare life-and-death matters, nothing is as important as it first seems.

21. Don’t allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It’s there for our convenience, not the caller’s.

22. Be a good loser.

23. Be a good winner.

24. Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.

25. When someone hugs you, let them be the first to let go.

26. Be modest. A lot was accomplished before you were born.

27. Keep it simple.

28. Beware of the person who has nothing to lose.

29. Don’t burn bridges. You’ll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.

30. Live your life so that your epitaph could read, No Regrets

31. Be bold and courageous. When you look back on life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.

32. Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.

33. Remember no one makes it alone. Have a grateful heart and be quick to acknowledge those who helped you.

34. Take charge of your attitude. Don’t let someone else choose it for you.

35. Visit friends and relatives when they are in hospital; you need only stay a few minutes.

36. Begin each day with some of your favourite music.

37. Once in a while, take the scenic route.

38. Send a lot of Valentine cards. Sign them, ‘Someone who thinks you’re terrific.’

39. Answer the phone with enthusiasm and energy in your voice.

40. Keep a note pad and pencil on your bed-side table. Million-dollar ideas sometimes strike at 3 a.m.

41. Show respect for everyone who works for a living, regardless of how trivial their job.

42. Send your loved ones flowers. Think of a reason later.

43. Make someone’s day by paying the toll for the person in the car behind you.

44. Become someone’s hero.

45. Marry only for love.

46. Count your blessings.

47. Compliment the meal when you’re a guest in someone’s home.

48. Wave at the children on a school bus.

49. Remember that 80 per cent of the success in any job is based on your ability to deal with people.

50. Don’t expect life to be fair

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!

All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Glamis!

I’ve just recently watched (a few times!) the recently released (on DVD) Macbeth.

All copyrights belong to their respective owners.

It’s a fabulous story for those of you who are not familiar with it plus it’s shot in some fantastic locations. 

It just so happens that I visited most of them in 2015!

Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland   


The Quiraing in Skye   


And around Sligachan and The Fairy Pools in Skye   


So, watch the movie and who knows, you may be tempted to visit the shooting locations!
Here are my less cinematic movies of my visits to these locations in 2015.

Seahouses 2015

Skye 2015

Inspirational Teachers

I remember one school report from my Chemistry teacher that said:”Craig is a lazy boy, easily satisfied with poor results”

The fact is he was a lazy, uninspiring teacher. Only interested in talking to those who could afford to go on skiing trips with him. 

Inspiring, empathetic teachers create enthusiastic pupils. 

Your fault Mr. Henderson. 

I’ve just had a massive scare – so listen up!

In my youth and early twenties I was always a skinny little thing…

Here’s me about 1984 (22 years old)…

I’m only 5’6″ so you can judge how heavy I was in these photographs.

I started lifting weights and exercising vigorously about this time. After about 6 years of dedicated training and eating correctly I eventually looked like this…

Which was great…

For a while…

Then life starts to interrupt…

Family and work start to take your focus…

After about 1997 my training slackened off. Just a little at first…then not training became more prevalent than training.

I started a love affair…

We’d meet most nights for little liaisons.

And of course there’d be the little midnight feasts that accompanied these liaisons….

I’ve never had a serious illness and always thought myself as ‘robust’…

Tick, tick, tick…

The weight crept up, and up, and up…peaking at 17St! My brain kept telling me I was still in ‘some sort of shape’.

A few weeks ago I noticed I was getting very thirsty and urinating a lot. I went to the docs for a check.


I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes!

Hang on. Things like this don’t happen to me right? Wrong!

When I was told the news I just couldn’t take it in. The shock, anger, fear, trepidation. I was literally paralysed with info and emotional overload.

I trudged to the chemist for my meds. (I didn’t even know where the nearest chemist was, shows you how ill I’ve been in my life) thinking “What now?”.

I started researching on the web…and soon discovered there’s so much conflicting information out there. The one ‘common theme’ is diet and exercise. The need to take in lower calories and understand that carbs and sugars are your enemies.

I’ve taken the week off work. Firstly because one of the initial side effects of the meds is flatulence and diarrhoea, and it’s problematic when you can’t tell one from the other! Also, I’ve had to get my head straight. Understand and plan.

The house is now cleared of most junk food.

(Got to leave some treats for this fella).

I’m now on a diet of Low Gi foods, no added sugars, restricted calories, unrefined foods etc. and no whisky!

In 4 days I’ve lost 2lbs. I know this level of weight loss is not sustainable, however goes to show how many unnecessary calories I was consuming.

I’ve now got a diet and exercise plan. Last night I had the best nights sleep I’ve had for years, didn’t wake up once and woke up refreshed and positive.

This is a lifestyle changer, one that’s stalked up on me when I was ignorantly unaware.

So listen folks, this can happen to you with no symptoms whatsoever, I was fine…although my body probably didn’t think so.

I’ll keep you informed of my progress…


02 October 2015


I’ve stuck religiously to my diet. I’m training harder than I have for years. I’ve lost weight and people are starting to notice…I think I’ve lost at least one chin!



01 November 2015

In January of this year, this is what I looked like (sorry folks!)



And here is a photo I’ve just taken, not quite washboard abs but we’re going in the right direction!


The clean eating and exercise is definitely  starting to work…

Never work with animals and children…

They say never work with animals and children right? Which is fine unless your wife wants a photograph of our son and dog for her birthday…

Harry never ‘plays ball’, he can be quite a stubborn dog.

We took Harry on to the ‘Top Field’ (a field close to where we live). We let him run around to get him a bit tired…then let the photoshoot begin!

So..I got my son used to looking at the camera before we introduced Harry…

Frank and Harry-26

We then ‘caught’ Harry and my son tried to keep his attention…but Harry is too easily distracted by other people, dogs, birds or flies.

Frank and Harry-30

I got my son to lie down to try and get a shot of them both on the grass…

Frank and Harry-41

But no…Harry wasn’t having any of it and just got up and walked away…

Frank and Harry-46


I tried my best…


See Frank’s explanation here…

Some surprising things you probably don’t know about me…

Here’s a surprising bit about me you probably don’t know.
My background is in I.T. 
If you ever shopped in Makro in the late 80’s or early 90’s – I wrote the code that managed to identify the item number of defaced labels.
If you’ve ever bought cereal from Kelloggs, I wrote code to facilitate secure access for I.T. Staff. 

I also wrote the code to enable the Wrexham site to Auto Recover from a system failure.
If you were ever a member of the RAC, I reconfigured their computer network to ensure that calls for assistance were dealt with in the most efficient manner. 
If you ever bought anything from DABS 2000-2005 I managed that back end system.
So…there you go…