Thursday, August 21

aRoundabout - outdoor news and views (Aug 22)

Blimey, Bank Holiday weekend looming up already. Was that summer already? At least no one seems to be worrying about the impending weather. Well it can’t really be much worse than what we've had over recent weeks. Can it?

So a bit of on-line entertainment in case you become in need of an excuse to keep you from throttling the in-law(s)/kid(s)/partner(s) during the coming days. has been around for a little while and has a thriving on-line community. True there are a number of other forums used by those of us getting our outdoor chat and information on-line. But none, as far as I'm aware, specifically geared to walking.

Sam Haraldson over at
Ultralight Backpacking, Wilderness Trekking, Outdoor Adventure (Wow - snappy title) is a bit keen on ultralight backpacking, US style. His site is full of goodies to explore. And a blog as well. One I’ll be working through over coming days.

By some weird
synchronicity I found myself earlier this evening reading a familiar phrase casually tossed into my day by MagicMan himself, Alan Sloman. 'Skull cinema' - now where had I read that before?

Google pointed me all over the net, even suggesting one source to be Stephen King. But it was this piece from
The Straggler - The Road To Wisdom (ignore the 'Install Chinese language' offer - its a legitimate site) that finally reminded me of the phrase originator, John Hillaby - writer and (compulsive?) long distance walker. Not necessarily the first LeJoG challenger, but his "Journey Through Britain" is surely the first to put the journey down in print, for a modern audience to share.

Sadly John is no longer with us, but the book remains a true classic, as is much of his other work. The Straggler reminded me of an under thought that's been skipping around my mind since the springtime. How far can you walk in a day? Or more to the point, at what point does it cease to Be Fun and become A Chore?

I'll spend some wet weather time indoors with
The Straggler articles if this is typical of the quality of work available.

And if the sun does happen to shamefacedly pop out. Well there's a little local walk I've been eyeing for sometime. Say about 30+ miles. Which might just beckon me along its route, if conditions are right, and the fact it follows a floodplain isn’t the deterrent it sounds.

Finally, looking back at the LeJoG topic, LoneWalker's Blog is considering the same subject. Again a blog within a site full of backpacking and walking information.

Whatever the weather, have a good one. And let's all try to have it outdoors.

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"Skull Cinema" - Indeed a direct qoute from the amazing Hillaby. He mentions it frequently in his 'Journey through Britain' - my bible, for my LEJOG.

I am convinced that every cognoscent walker that has ever pressed the soles of their feet into wet clay, understands the phrase. Your mind is running at twenty times the frame-rate of your body and you experience unworldly Pythonesque theatrical scenes on an hourly basis.

To record them all on your blog would render you sectionable: Your children, indeed your grandchildren, would inherit nothing but your wildest debts to the Inland Revenue. Hillaby's book to Nice expands on this wonderful medium compellingly.
Re-reading older bits of my blog, I realise I have been quoting JH (that's John Hillaby, not John Hee!) since December 2006 - so that must have been my third re-reading of his wonderful "Journey through Britain".

I reccommend it to you, as it gets better with each read!
'Journey Through Britain' was the book which transformed my imagination and set me off on all these crazy walking dreams...
One of the many walking books I read as a teenager. Me thinks it's time that I re-read this.
JH's box set is at before me awaiting a revisit. Thats assuming I can take the raw emetional ouptouring on Journey Through Love. A hard but frank read is that book.
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