Pretty much every minute that's not spent working on new books or gifts you'll find me out on the fells.
I've loved walking, and specifically walking in the Lakes, since the age of around about one, when my mum and dad first carried me to the top of Catbells (good choice!). I finally moved to my dream home five years back.
Over the past six months myself and fellwalker, author and illustrator extraordinaire Mark Richards have been putting together our tribute to Cumbria in the shape of a new podcast.
The Countrystride podcast celebrates the landscape, heritage and culture of the county through a blend of immersive field recordings, inspiring commentary, light-hearted conversation and interviews, all shaped into a single walk.
In episode 1 we climb Scafell Pike with Fix the Fells’ Iain Gray, discussing how path engineering has evolved over the last 30 years. Standing by the newly rebuilt summit cairn we reflect on the fact that the massif forms the largest war memorial in the world. We also talk to people young and old atop England's highest peak.
In Episode 2 we climb Sheffield Pike from Glenridding, a village that owes its origins to the lead mining industry. Mark meets Eddie Pool, the last man in the valley to work down the Greenside Mine, and shares an appreciation of the importance of community empowerment with local resident Tim Clarke.
From episode 3 we gain farmers’ perspective on life close to Hadrian’s Wall, where stockmen and women share their feelings on the age-old cycle of the seasons in a heritage landscape which stretches back long before the Romans imposed their frontier.
In forthcoming episodes Countrystride explores the talents of Alfred Wainwright; wanders through Cumbria’s rich tapestry of woodland; and traces a corpse road through wild country.
Download, tune in and be transported as you listen at www.countrystride.co.uk or search iTunes for ‘Countrystride’.
And if you like what you hear and have any suggestions for walks, do drop me a line here.