Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Liebster Award - my turn!

Goats galore!

The above image, if I follow the rules, is supposed to be a logo, but the hideous Liebster logo displeased me intensely, so in its place, I have a picture of goats! You can't have too many pictures of goats!

A couple of days ago I received my second nomination for this Liebster Award thingy. For want of a better description, it's little more than a chain-letter circulating the blogging community at the moment. I know, the thought of a chain letter makes you want to shut down your browser and hope a curse hasn't been put on you for not reading or forwarding it on, I'm the same way! But hang on, it turns out it's just harmless, nothing malicious. I did struggle for a couple of weeks to find a positive out of it, and I eventually came to the conclusion it is an opportunity for us bloggers with few followers to get to know a bit about each other, and reach out and entice new followers. The way it works is that you are nominated by a fellow blogger to answer a series of questions, and then you are required to nominate between 5 and 11 other bloggers.

There are some rules, and I'll go over them later, but I will adhere to the first one, and that is to thank the person who nominated me, or in this case, two people;

Cathy Wells (@wellycath) -Blog: wellycath.wordpress.com/
Adrian Wicks (@turbostream) - Audioboo: audioboo.fm/turbostream

Do feel free to visit their blogs!

So, now to address both sets of questions;


1. Favourite outdoor place?
I'm not long back from there, actually. The Aletsch Glacier, near Fiesch, in the Swiss Alps takes some beating, and I love walking along the ridge from Reiderfurka to Moosfluh. Closer to home, I can always be guaranteed precious solitude on Dartmoor.

Grosse Aletschgletscher
The Aletsch Glacier, Switzerland... not Dartmoor
2. Favourite piece of technology to use whilst outdoors? 
Has to be my SPOT 3 GPS Messenger. I walk alone for probably 85% of the time, and having this bit of kit is a reassurance to both me and family. The Social Hiking aspect of it is an added bonus!

3. Favourite outdoor food?
Sadly, it's a range of freeze dried food from a New Zealand company called Backcountry Cuisine, and that's sad because their product isn't available in the UK. I stocked up on their entire range of main meals when I was out in Australia last year and none disappointed me. Failing that, I guess Mini Babybels are pretty good walking fodder.

4. Outdoors ambition?
To bag all the tors on Dartmoor is an ongoing project, but long distance wise; Lands End to John O'Groats, The Australian Alpine Walking Track, Te Araroa in New Zealand.... the list goes on...

5. Favourite place to stay.. wild camp, YHA or hotel/B&B?
Tough one. I'll go with wild camping as favourite place to stay because more often you're in a top spot, forest, hill or moor. That said, see my answer to Adrians' variation on the theme, in question 9.

Day 33: Z Packs Hexamid Solo

6. Piece of music, book or film that you associate with getting out?
I'll give an answer to all three;
  • Music: Misty Mountain Hop by Led Zeppelin, 
  • Book: South by Sir Ernest Shackleton, 
  • Film: Tracks.

7. Best comedy moment in the outdoors?
A discussion about "Marmot Ear Soup". No really, you had to be there, it was hilarious, honestly! Ahem... moving on...

8. Who has inspired you to get out and enjoy the outdoors? 
Ray Mears and Les Hiddins (The Bush Tucker Man)

9. Favourite beverage after a hard day spent outside? 
Normally, I would go for a pint of real ale, preferably local to where I'm walking, but on my long distance hike I developed a taste for strawberry milkshakes!

10. Being outdoors.. how does it make you feel? 
Happy, content, peaceful, ALIVE!.

11. Where will your next adventure take you? 
Down to Dartmoor for the weekend with +Phil Sorrell of Social Hiking fame, for a wild camp on Pew Tor. Nothing huge, every walk can be an adventure of sorts, but next big one? I'm not sure.The Australian Alpine Walking Track is calling though.

And now


1. How many cars have you owned?
I have only owned 4 cars.

2. Do you prefer walking alone or with others?
Both have their pros and cons. Walking with a few people is fine, but cannot abide the inane chit chat that goes on in very large groups; I guess I am more comfortable on my own. That said, I had a period of about a week walking and camping alone on the Bibbulmun Track and eventually even I was craving company.

3. Dry or wet (or both) ie do you walk in the rain?
I think you'd need certifying if you preferred walking in the wet to the dry, but if it has to be done, I do. I try not to let rain put me off, but it has been known to alter my plans.

4. When is your favourite time of year to walk?
Spring. Those first signs of green shoots and the carpets of bluebells in my local area of the Chilterns, and especially, this year, on Dartmoor, are magical.

5. What is your longest walk to date? 
By far, it is The Bibbulmun Track in Western Australia. 1003km, it took me a leisurely 52 days, and has whetted my appetite for something longer or tougher.

Day 47: me on Mazzoletti Beach

6. Bath or shower? 
Shower. I tried a bath the other week, you know, give this whole relaxation claim another try, but no, I was soon bored and out of it quicker than I am the shower!

7. TV or radio? 
Television. I rarely listen to radio unless there's a bit of football on, or I'm tuned into Planet Rock at work or in the car. I do subscribe to a few Podcasts though, which is a spin off of radio isn't it?

8. Train or plane?
I like travelling by train but living ten minutes away from Heathrow Airport, flying is simpler than getting the tube into London for the train to, let's say, Scotland.

9. Camping or hotel? 
Having just returned from Switzerland, where I have, in the past, camped, hostelled, hotelled and rented an apartment, I would put camping as my least favourite, so I'll go for hotel. What's wrong with waking up in a cosy bed? Of course, if money is an issue, camping will always win out! One thing I avoid is Bed and Breakfasts; paying a total stranger to stay in what is essentially just their house and then feel that awkward obligation to engage in pleasantries for the duration; That's all a bit alien to me.

10. Have you ever wild camped or wanted to? 
I have plenty of times, and I will be again this weekend!

11. If you could only walk in one country in the world, which one would it be? 
I do really love Australia, I've had the pleasure to walk in its alpine regions in Tasmania, the Blue Mountains near Sydney, The Grampians in Victoria, the forests and coast of the South-West, the Outback of South Australia, and the wilderness of the Kimberleys in the north. It is what inspired me to start walking and its rugged beauty and varied flora and fauna pull me back there time and time again.

Day 2: Wombat

The Rules

Here's the boring bit, assuming you haven't slipped into a coma whilst reading my answers!!

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write (or record) a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:
  1. thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
  2. display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. Feel free to ignore this rule - more goats please!
  3. answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
  4. provide 11 random facts about yourself.
  5. nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have less than 1000 followers. Now I'm not sure I've adhered to this one; I think a couple may be a little too popular!
  6. create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.
  7. list these rules in your post. Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
  8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)

Random Facts

Now this rule has snuck in since my original nomination, so this chain letter appears to be mutating like chinese whispers, but I'll play along!
  1. I had epilepsy from 18-30, until brain surgery cured me in 1994.
  2. I have a loathing of umbrellas and cyclists on footpaths. Not sure how I would cope if I came across a cyclist on a footpath carrying an umbrella!
  3. I have too many tents.
  4. I am afraid of heights.
  5. Dr. Karl Kennedy (from Neighbours) once sat on my lap.
  6. I like romantic comedies.
  7. I get bored easily.
  8. I'm bored now.
  9. I prefer cats to dogs.
  10. I prefer cats to most people.
  11. I think goats are cool!

My Nominations and Questions

I'm late in the game here, and finding at least five blogs to nominate is a tough call, so apologies to those in the list below if you have already been nominated / or have been avoiding this like the plague!

Lotsafreshair (@LotsaFreshair) - Blog: lotsafreshair.com/
Greg (@HikingFiasco) - Blog: www.hikingfiasco.com/
Frank Wall (@Our_Hiking_Blog) - Blog: ourhikingblog.com.au/
Two Blondes Walking (@BlondesTwo) - Blog: twoblondeswalking.com/
Safari Stan (@Adventure01) - Blogadventureseekersoz.blogspot.co.uk/

And finally, my questions are;
  1. Scariest moment on a walk.
  2. What walk calls you back to do time and time again?
  3. Wind Turbines: An object of beauty or a blot on the landscape?
  4. The last time you got horribly lost and what did you do?
  5. Your ultimate trek?
  6. I own 5 but only because I sold one; be honest, how many tents do you have?
  7. Have you ever bought a piece of hiking gear that has never seen action?
  8. Best piece of hiking kit you've ever used?
  9. Who inspired you to explore the outdoors?
  10. What and when is your next adventure?
  11. Favourite tipple round the campfire?
So that's it. Well done if you got all the way to the bottom. As a reward, here's another picture of some goats!

Lucky encounter with a goat herd

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