July 2013: a four-day walk along the Spanish 3000s (Sierra Nevada) - and that's 3000 metres, not feet! words and pictures
download a Border ballad (Nithsdale vs Annandale 1593)
author interview, UK Hillwalking site
Cumbria Way (May 2012) blog
new Rannoch Moor picture page
my 2011 'Night of Adventure' bivvybag page
my 2008 Blue Ridge Mountains page
I'm an all-weather walker, writer and photographer based in Southern Scotland. My special interest is in multi-day backpack trips over rough country, and I have completed 18 different coast-to-coast journeys across various parts of the UK. I like to sleep out without tent on UK hilltops, and have achieved comfortable nights on more than 70 in Scotland, Cumbria, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In 1995 I won the Fell Running Association's Long Distance Trophy for a 10-day run over all the hills of Southern Scotland - a journey of 450 miles with over 90,000ft of ascent.

My recent books include Battle Valleys a words-and-pictures portrait of the Border country download a Border ballad (Nithsdale vs Annandale 1593); Granite and Grit (a walkers' guide to the UK's mountain geology, just out in paperback); Sandstone and Sea Stacks, the follow-up volume about stones of the seaside; NOT The West Highland Way (routes above and alongside the classic long-distance path); Life and Times of the Black Pig (a 'cultural biography' of Ben Macdui); Three Peaks, Ten Tors (the National Three Peaks, the Yorkshire Three Peaks, and a whole lot else) and The Book of the Bivvy (on tentless travel). I write in Lakeland Walker, TGO (formerly The Great Outdoors), Trail, Cumbria and elsewhere.

Turnbull is ultimately worth reading, not just because of the clever quirkiness of his thoughts and phrases but because his night yomps and his high bivvies and his off-beat, off-beaten-track jaunts show that he retains that most basic of outdoor-writer essentials: a simple love of being out there, somewhere, on the surface of the planet.

The Angry Corrie, 1999

What's new or newish

NEW is a page featuring my works of non-incomprehensible, picture-rich geology. ALSO NEW is a revamped picture page, with a rather classier presentation not reliant on scanning 35mm slides, and including a set of 14 pictures of the Lake District, and 16 pictures of Scotland's top bog Rannoch Moor.
FAIRLY NEW is a page dedicated to trips, articles, web-journal pages and podcasts. Oh, and there's a video there as well. The most recent of these are accessed through the boxes at top left of this page, but for the full selection click 'articles' on the top bar.
OLDISH is my webpage about my walk along the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, part of the Mountains to the Sea Trail, June 2008; words and pictures. Also my webpage about my walk along the John Muir Trail in California, September 2007.

What's here

The linkbar at the top takes you to the two main directories of the site. One page lists my published books, and for most of them you can click on for a page with pictures from the book and an extract. Another allows you to chose among the areas covered by my hill photos; from there you can link to pages with clickable thumbnails of some actual images. The links page has sites relevant to Outdoor UK, with a section intended to be useful to those planning a long-distance walk through the Scottish Highlands. The articles page has accounts and pics of some of my recent expeditions, podcasts from the Outdoors Station, as well as my favourite Lakeland Walker piece, A Long Walk - and a Broad Stand about Coleridge and his 9-day fellwalk of 1802. Coleridge's own description of Moss Force, Newlands - to my mind the finest piece of outdoor writing so far - is only in print in academic works, so I've put it on the site.
       The rest of this page is devoted to miscellaneous boasting about my wide-ranging fields of interest and my awards. If you want to see what I look like, there are some pictures on the contact page.

Fields of Interest

Scottish Highlands
Munros, Corbetts, through routes
Southern Uplands
Galloway Hills, Lowthers, Moffat
Lake District
UK mountains and coast
Coast to Coast routes (all UK)
Hot rocky places in Europe
Picos de Europa, Bernina Alps, Crete, Tatras
and bivvybag travel
Lake District, Skye, Highlands, Europe
but only when it's fairly easy


OWPG Award for Excellence (Outdoor Book) 2013 Sandstone and Sea Stacks
OWPG Award for Excellence (Outdoor Book) 2010 Granite and Grit
OWPG Award for Excellence (Outdoor Book) 2008 Life and Times of the Black Pig
OWG Award for Excellence (Words & Pictures feature) 2007 A Cairngorms Crag n Bag download (600KB)
OWG Award for Excellence (Series of Articles) 2005 Lakeland - Also Famous For...
OWG Award for Excellence (Outdoor Book) 2001 The Book of the Bivvy
OWG/9feet Award for Excellence (Outdoor Book) 2000 Coast-to-coasting (with John Gillham)
Highly Commended Lakeland Book of the Year Award 1999 Long Days in Lakeland
OWG/COLA Award for Excellence (Guidebook) 1998 Coast to Coast Trail Guide
FRA Long-distance Trophy 1994  

fields of interest