New Beginnings

I guess the beginning of a new month is as good a time as any to start a new blog. The old Wilderness World of Cameron McNeish is a bit dated now and my Mountain Media site is essentially for the work I do with Richard Else, ie producing books and DVD’s. So, with the help of the good people at WordPress, I’ve simplified things into this basic blog. So what’s it going to be about?

In some ways I’m re-structuring my activities, both professionally and in my own leisure interests. Some of you will have noticed that I’m cycling much more nowadays, and although my work life still largely revolves round climbing hills and mountains and exploring some of the wilder places at home and abroad I’m spending a lot of my leisure time on a bike.

Enjoying the quiet road between Newtonmore and DalwhinnieActually I should correct that. I’m spending much of my leisure time on a variety of bikes – a couple of lightweight road bikes, a road touring bike and a mountain bike.

In recent years the ageing process has not been too kind on my feet and knees and so often nowadays I feel crippled at the end of a long day on the hills. On a bike though, I can ride all day virtually pain free and over the last couple of years I’ve ridden from Land’s End to John O’ Groats and through France from the Channel to the Med. Next year, my oldest pal Hamish Telfer and I plan to cycle the length of Ireland, from Mizen Head to Malin Head.

As well as the Irish end-to-end I’ve entered the Loch Ness Etape, the Caledonian Etape and hope to ride the Inverness to Aberdeen 2-day event, Ride the North, so all of that will mean I’ll need to get the miles in over the winter.

And of course I now edit a little cycling magazine Scottish Cycling, a free quarterly title that is published along with another little magazine called Scottish Walks. These two title are keeping me busy, along with my monthly columns in the Scots Magazine and on the WalkHighlands website.

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On top of that my television work is keeping me pretty busy – regular slots on BBC Scotland’s Adventure Show and the filming of some long walks in Scotland. This summer has been particularly busy making our Christmas programme. This year there will be two hour-long programmes, the Pilgrims Trail, a 250-mile route between Iona and  Portmahomack on the north-east coast near Tain.

So, in the coming months I hope this blog will reflect much of that activity. I’ve called the blog Boots & Bikes for that reason and there will be gear write-ups, trip descriptions, conservation comments and maybe even a wee bit of politics now and again – next year is a very important one for we Scots and I haven’t hidden the fact that I’m a member of the SNP and very keen on the idea of independence!

So there you have it, but the moment the sun is shining and the hill is beckoning. I had a good 40 miles on the bike yesterday around the back roads of Moray but today it’ll be the hill just above my home here in Newtonmore. I might even get a photo or two to show you later…

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