THE current issue of TGO Magazine, once again known as The Great Outdoors Magazine, is the first one for a long, long time that I haven’t been involved with.
I think I first started writing for the magazine in about 1978 and I edited it for some 20 years until I stood down as editor 3 years ago. Since then I’ve been the magazine’s editor-at-large, although I’m not too sure what that actually meant.
When I decided to call it a day the new editor Emily Rodway very kindly offered me a monthly column and when I turned that down she asked me to write a final piece, perhaps looking back over the past 35 years but I turned down that opportunity too. I simply wanted to slip away quietly.
Instead Emily wrote a few lines in her editorial about me leaving and I’m touched that so many people have emailed and tweeted me since, some, I have to say, probably being a bit more nosey than kind and wondering if there was some kind of sub-text to my resignation? I can honestly say there isn’t.
Part of that suspicion may have arisen from an article I wrote recently for www.walkhighlands.co.uk in which I suggested that outdoor magazines have a lot of work to do to ensure their survival but the truth of the matter is that I don’t want to be an ex-editor hovering around the magazine and casting a shadow over it for years to come.
Under Emily’s editorship a lot of new names have appeared in the pages of TGO and that’s a good thing. There’s a lot of new talent out there and I’m particularly delighted that my replacement columnist is Carey Davies, a young man with a huge potential. A talented writer and a real hill enthusiast, Carey is currently working for the BMC but I sincerely hope that in time he’ll become a full time writer and not an administrator – he has too much talent for that. I believe he could become a very fine writer indeed.
There are not many opportunities for young outdoor writers these days – I’ve been very fortunate in being able to carve a living out of going to the hills – and I hope some of us oldies can move over and give some of the talented youngsters an opportunity to do what we have done. Having said that, I don’t intend packing it in completely.
Emily has kindly offered me the opportunity of writing a feature for TGO from time to time and I’ll certainly do that. I’m also busy with the two free, quarterly magazines I put together for Newsquest – Scottish Walks and Scottish Cycling. I write a column each month for the Scots Magazine and Walk Highlands and I’m pretty involved with the BBC Scotland television show, The Adventure Show. Indeed we’ll shortly start work on our two hour-long Christmas specials for Christmas 2014.
I also need a little more time for some personal projects. I want to do a lot more longer cycle touring trips with my old mate Hamish Telfer – neither of us are getting any younger – and I want to spend more time with my family, particularly my two young grandaughters. On top of that 2014 will produce some more unusual opportunities.
I am of course referring to the Independence vote in September and I am very keen to play a role in that. I am a member of the SNP and a very keen YES campaigner. I won’t go into all the details here but if you are interested in my views on an independent Scotland you’ll find it here.
I wish The Great Outdoors Magazine the very best for the future and I’m confident that under Emily’s editorship it will not only survive but will prosper. I’m encouraged that the new London-based publishers appear to have taken some of the advice I offered in the WalkHighlands piece – they have appointed Daniel Neilson as Online Editor, allowing Emily to get on with the printed product. That’s a sound move towards a more modern magazine mix.
Finally, having a bit more time will allow me to try and keep up a more meaningful blog, and many thanks to everyone who has supported me in that. The future is bright, the future is outdoors, either in boots or on a bike!