About

I’ve been mucking about in the mountains for longer than I care to mention.  I started out in my teens by walking my local hills, followed by rock climbing, caving and mountaineering in the Lakes, Yorkshire Dales, Wales and Scotland.

My working life kept me near the hills.  I spent nearly seven years in the Royal Marine Commandos with three winters spent in Arctic Norway, where I qualified as an Arctic Survival Instructor.  In 1980 I joined the police in Cumbria, where I worked for 25 years,  the highlight being three years as “village bobby” at Patterdale in the Lake District.

During that time I was a member of Penrith Mountain Rescue Team for seventeen years, some of that time spent as Assistant Team Leader in charge of team training. I was also a member of the Search and Rescue Dogs Association with a graded search dog.

I retired from the police in August 2005, and now live in North Wales, where I am a freelance walking guide and outdoor writer.  My main areas of interest are in Snowdonia, the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, but I have a good knowledge of most mountain areas of the United Kingdom.  I have also walked, climbed and skied in Norway, France, Spain, Austria and Italy.

Still doing it, still getting a buzz, and sharing the fun, through my guided walking business (Hillcraft Guided Walking) and by writing routes for other publishers, mainly Walking World and Discovery Walking Guides.  I’m also a member of my local mountain rescue team.

18 Responses to About

  1. graymee says:

    Hi Paul,

    Just thought I’d return the compliment…
    Nice looking Blog, looks much more dynamic than mine and I think that’s mainly down to more photographs and more regular posts (kick up the butt for me there!)
    I’ve subscribed now and look forward to more posts.
    Cheers
    Graeme

    • Hi Graeme, and thanks for the kind words.
      When I started the blog, I set myself a target of one post a week, usually first thing Monday morning, but delayed if I’m away. I also decided on a snappy, journalistic style, which wouldn’t suit everybody. I also try to keep it to 3-500 words, though my last (and next) post are a bit over.
      Looking forward to more posts on your blog.
      Best wishes,
      Paul

  2. Ant Harris says:

    Hey Paul, I just came across your blog. You are an entertaining read and a bit of a character it seems Lol…I was particularly interested in the stuff you posted on your times in Norway with the Royal Marines. I did a course there with 45 Commando in 1982 as part of an exchange with the Australian Army as I was one of the early members of the AAAA (Australian Army Alpine Association) when I was a kid. Seems I missed you by just a few years? We seem to share a few common interests (Climbing and the hills, old pubs, playing music, and writing etc he he). Check out my blog at http:// antsclimbingspace.blogspot.com/ It’s full of ancient and modern history about Australian climbing and you might get a chuckle out of some of my yarns. Great to see another old bloke still getting out on the hills. Cheers Mate…

    Ant…

    • Hi Ant, and good to meet you here.
      We had a guy from the Australian SAS on our Norway trip in 1976 – can’t remember his name, even if I ever knew it, ‘cos he was known (inevitably) as ‘Skippy’!! A really nice guy, one of the funniest people I ever met and a really good ‘run ashore’! (You must have come across the term ‘run ashore’ in your time with the ‘chosen frozen, AKA 45 Cdo)
      Loved your post about Mt Clarke. There’s something about soloing that’s hard to describe – well, you just described it!! Well done mate.
      I suspect you’re probably climbing at a higher standard than I am now, though I suspect you’re a couple of years younger 😉 Looking forward to reading more.
      Bye for now,
      Paul

  3. zannyro says:

    Hi! I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Please see my post for details! 🙂

  4. Hahaha … too true – I’ll get the tuxedo out of the wardrobe right now, though I think you say closet in your part of the world 🙂

    Over here (UK) a closet can also mean what you would call ‘the bathroom’ – as someone once said, we are “Two nations divided by a common language”. 🙂

  5. johndburns says:

    Hello Paul,

    very impressed with your blog, especially all the links and stuff. I’m developing as a mountain writer too I’m looking for freelance outlets so if you have any tips or suggestions I’d be happy to hear them. trying to get more links on my blog site too.

    regards,
    John

    • Hi John, and thanks for the kind words.

      Well, you have the most important ingredient, the quality of your writing – your posts have me chuckling away like a loon!

      The links in the right margin in my blog are just widgets via WordPress – it makes the blog look busy and populated, though I’m not sure how many people follow the links. I started by putting in a weather forecast for the readers, then added stuff like the Mountain Rescue links – they aren’t reciprocal, so they don’t bring me traffic, but I like ’em. There’s a point of view that says ‘keep it simple’ and I sometimes think that my blog looks a bit cluttered compared with others such as yours. Personal choice.

      The links to Outdoor Bloggers Networks haven’t brought much traffic at all, as far as I can tell, but it’s hard to say. Possibly worth linking to them if you can be arsed.

      Have you thought of submitting stuff to mags such as TGO – they take good quality submissions from non-staffers, but Trail doesn’t seem to.

      I was given a good tip to get loads more blog traffic – make sure you have some good pics in each post, and add ‘photograhy’ as a tab (some add ‘photographs’ as an additional tag). After I started using ‘photography’ my hits almost doubled straight away.

      For me the ‘humour’ tag will do it every time, and I’m sure that will bring in readers – Posting on forums (I’ve seen you on UKC) will get your name about, and with writing as good as yours it won’t be long before readers recognise you. Again, try the TGO forum if you haven’t done so yet – Emily, the editor, is quite active there, though it’s a long time since I logged on.

      Good luck with it all – it’s a lot of fun even if you don’t earn enough to keep you in pork pies 🙂

      • johndburns says:

        Thanks very much for taking the time to reply, very kind of you and all good advice. Not sure about the keep it simple versus more is better. I’ll try what you said about the photography tag.

        I’ve actually written a book a bit like Tom Weir meets Bill Bryson so I’m looking fr a publisher right now.

        The blog is good fun and I’m enjoying it a lot.

        Look forward to your future posts.

        John

      • Tom Weir/Bill Bryson sounds like a great combo! Hope you manage to get it published!

        The Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild (google it) is expensive to join (£80 p.a. – ouch!) but the forum is full of good advice, as are most of the members – you might get a pointer or two there, and you could always pack it in after a year 🙂

      • johndburns says:

        I’ll check out the guild, sounds like a good idea.

        Thanks

  6. stuart smith says:

    Hi paul John Bamber just sent me your way to have a a compare to my blog also http://aim-adventureinmind.blogspot.co.uk/ . I am also currently rep for NW & Cumbria MTA/ BAIML and a member of patterdale MRT. we seem to have a lot in common…. Hope to catch up soon and take it easy out there

    • Hi Stuart, and thanks for the contact. Enjoyed looking at your website and blog, and yes we do have a lot in common, including that Bamber bloke!! John and I go back a long long time, and still get together every now and then for a day (or two) somewhere up a hill:-)

      It’s a small world, and our paths are sure to cross, one way or another. Take care, best wishes, Paul

  7. johndburns says:

    Hi Paul, saw this and thought of you http://www.ajourneyonfoot.com/

  8. matt jones says:

    Nice site , my knowledge of the welsh hills is pretty damn goos,but i havent been up much. i recommend the Pumlumon range and the Radnor Forest . oh, and Rhobell Fawr. No sign of Cadair Idris either?

    • Thanks for the comment Matt. Pumlumon is on the wish list (so much to do, etc…) and I’ll have to check out Rhobell Fawr. I’ve done a couple of Radnor routes, but didn’t realise that I hadn’t written them up in the blog – you’ll find Cadair Idris in post #65, but I’ve got at least another post that I can write about Cadair.
      Blimey, better get a shift on then – come back in a couple or more weeks and I’ll try to fill in a few gaps 🙂

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