Chris HuntBASE Editor and Bristol-based adventure writer with a penchant for travel by bike, interesting coastlines and adventures that end in the pub.
The latest volume of BASE is now on its way to our distribution network and to the doorsteps of subscribers across the country. Below Chris Hunt, Editor introduces the issue and the inspirations and themes we see flowing through its pages.
I’ve often found that the most authentic and deep running friendships I have were forged in the outdoors. Sure enough, it could simply be down to the meeting of like-minded souls, but I’d argue it has more to do with the experiences than the individuals.
Spending time outdoors allows many of us to shake free of the stresses of everyday life. It can be the perfect leveller as it deconstructs the social barriers we form that block authentic connection. It’s here that we’re often exposed to communities and individuals with whom we’d otherwise have little chance of interaction; where we might be thrown into strange, sometimes intimate situations. Add to the mix genuine vulnerability of unfamiliar grounds, the shared ups and downs of challenge and the camaraderie of struggle, and the bonds established in these environments can be extremely powerful.
We’re taught environmental custodianship in a way that’s hard to match
In almost any capacity, time spent outdoors also connects us to the environment, be it our immediate surrounding landscapes or through aspirations of reaching somewhere far flung. Temporarily, we’re immersed in an ecosystem, we become acutely aware of its nuances, the wildlife that inhabits it, of our impact and the threats we pose. In this process we’re taught environmental custodianship in a way that’s hard to match.
And, of course, perhaps most importantly, adventure is a means through which we connect with ourselves. As cliché as it may sound, a simple adventure can throw up all the highs and lows of life, compressed into a much shorter time frame. Days outside can feel like weeks and provide us with genuine learning experiences and a gateway into the depths of our own minds we may not otherwise access. It’s often through adventure that we find what it is we’re really capable of.
And so, in all its forms and interpretations, it’s this theme of connection in the outdoors that we see flowing through the pages of issue #09.
In The Approach, Adam Raja talks candidly about the challenges of adolescence, coming of age in the suburbs of Glasgow. Sharing the route which later led him to finding connection to the mountains he barely knew existed until his 20s, he draws on the parallels and the stark juxtaposition of a life spent in both environments. In The Missing Lynx, Carmen Kuntz explores the complex and important role of hunters and how, in Slovenia, they enabled the reintroduction of the lynx.
Will Birkett recounts an expedition to the Hebridean archipelago of St Kilda in Atlantic Rock, and, in Mental Mountains, Matt Glenn writes candidly about his own battles with mental health and the role alpine environments have played throughout his life.
Looking back on a ski mountaineering expedition in northern Pakistan, in Swat Valley Ski School, Tom Grant recounts how introducing skiing to the local team of porters, bonded an international team; and in Rolling Community, we experience the powerful bonds of community following the Women’s Komoot Torino-Nice Rally.
You’ll learn how to navigate the open oceans by the stars in William Thompson’s fantastic guide, and Hannah Dines discusses what it means for open spaces to really be open and the barriers that still exist for disabled people in Let My Disabled People Go Surfing.
In Mark Bullock’s In Favour of Ticklists, he debates his own methods in connecting to wild spaces and the relevance of route guides and indexes in an activity so aligned with freedom; and in Cairngorms Classic, Hannah Mitchell finds community, whilst hiking the inaugural Fjällräven Classic in Scotland.
Here at BASE, we’re also on the lookout to build on existing connections and to create new ones too. We’re growing and we’re looking to connect with investors passionate about our space to come on an adventure with us. Click here for more information.
Thanks to all the legends who have helped piece this issue together and all the contributors who have entrusted their stories to us. As ever, we hope you’ll find something to inspire you to spend more time outdoors, something which can be particularly challenging but ever important at this time of year.