Troodos and Beyond …

When social media pops up a reminder of a time before Brexit when i was able to skip happily around Europe and guide people on walking explorations of wonderful places.

Apparently four years ago i was very lucky to live in the Troodos Mountains of Crete for a month, and spent most of my time guiding walks in the National Park there. Occasionally i’d head to the coast but would soon scamper back from the blazing heat to the relative cool of my refuge at 6000ft. I also led a few tours of UN monitoring line between Cyprus and the Turkish North of the Island.

Almost all of my guiding is done here in the UK now. If you’re interested in learning outdoor skills in order that you can head off on your own adventures, or you would like to be guided on a walk of any duration – please get in touch ….


I don’t assess DofE expeds much anymore, but i do make an effort to help out when Bromsgrove School do their Bronze. A good friend of mine runs their DofE and Cadets.

So back down to yon end of the Peak for a two day journey from Teggs Nose via Shutlingsloe to Gradbach, and then via the Roaches to Leek.

Seeing and hearing teenagers in awe of the view as they sweat their way up on to the Roaches, and stop to admire Staffordshire beneath them, makes it worthwhile.

I photographed and impromptu engagement, and found a pub with a water sommelier. And nature. Lots of colourful, loud, running and calling and flying and hiding nature. Meadows in rude health. Curlew, cuckoo, sky-lark and co. in cacophonous song.

Good to be out.

Until next time ….

Avoiding The Burn

Click on the pictures from anyone on a trekking skills course with Andrew Skurka somewhere in the U.S. and chances are they’re probably all wearing the same or a similar type of top – a sun hoody.

We haven’t really bothered with them over here in the UK ‘cos they look a bit odd. However as we seem to be being increasingly exposed to hot sunny days, and as i increasingly find myself outside on those hot sunny days, plus i’m of fair skin, i thought i’d see what all the fuss is about …

Essentially they are a thin, close but not skin tight fitting, comfy, very lightweight, highly UV resistant, long sleeve top with a hood.

They are designed to stop your entire upper body being susceptible to damaging UV. In the US they are often worn with sun gloves (the clue is in the title). They’re also often worn with a cap / visor under the hood, and then your sunglasses.

They’re comfortable, a bit stretchy, not weirdo tight, and usually in several colours.

Here are a few that are available now in the UK.

Rab Borealis £75 various colours – M&F versions available. This one is slightly different in that it is a thin full zip hoody. Rab don’t state the SPF factor.

Arcteryx Mens Cormac Sun Hoody £70 SPF50. Several colours. I’m using one of these and finding it very comfortable, very breathable, and the hood isn’t in the way at all. I think it’s an excellent simple effective layer.

Arcteryx womens Taema sun hoody £75. Various colours. Doesn’t seem to look out of place in the pub as well as on the hill. SPF50

Orvis Pro Sun Hoody mens and womens. Both £98. The fishermens friend. £98. Various colours. I’ve heard good things about these. A hot day on the water can be very damaging for unprotected skin.


Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody again available in mens and womens. Funky colours. £75. SPF50.


New in from Mountain Equipment are their Glace men and womens hoodies – similar in design to most of the others, but they retail for about a third less (RRP £50). Good also to see some more funky colours (useful for being seen in the alpine) as well as an all white one for very hot conditions. Note that ME don’t actually state what the SPF factor is for this garment.


Patagonia seem to have stopped selling their excellent ‘Sun Hoody’ in the UK this summer. There are also a few brands (Rohan, Patagonia, Arcteryx etc) that make SPF50 shirts.

Active Fabrics sell SPF 50 fabric in a variety of colours for about £17 metre if you want to have a go at making your own sun protection thingy

Summary – i think sun hoodys are great if, for example, you are belaying a climber and stuck in the sun for ages, or cycling, or trekking. Moreso in areas or activities where there is no shade – like glacier crossings. They remove the need to lather loads of suncream on all the time. We are really good as adults at keeping small kids in sun protective clothing and really poor at keeping ourselves protected. Throw one of these on on a hot day and you’ll do your skin a great favour.

Brainfood …

Some podcasts i regularly add to my brainfood diet ….

and if you look closely through this podcast series from Alastair Humphreys you might find me !!! ….

and here are some audiobooks that i frequently revisit …

and if your world is already full of podcasts and books and what not, (and all the other demands and distractions of life) and all you want is a period of calm … well there’s even a podcast for that. Nature and her noise ….

What are your recommendations ?


An article by Tim Miller about the recent route that he and Paul Ramsden climbed in the Jugal Himal region of Nepal.

They called the 1200m line on the previously unclimbed and unnamed 6563m peak ‘The Phantom Line’. It is perhaps one of the most stunning and beautiful (and serious) lines in recent mountaineering history.