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A Quickfire Trail interview


· What’s the highest mountain you’ve climbed?

I have climbed virtually no mountains. This pains me! The highest I’ve been is “near the top of Illimani” but we had to turn back when my pal got altitude sickness.

· What’s your nickname?

Al? This interview isn’t going very well so far, is it!

· Funniest thing you’ve seen on a hill?

A friend getting such bad buttock chafing that he decided to try my facetious suggestion of lubricating with a banana…

· Have you ever Googled yourself?

Alas, yes.

· You’re in a pub. What’s on the menu?

Steak! Chips. Don’t bother with the veg…

· Who would play you in a movie about your life?

I’d love to say Brad Pitt. But more people thing I look like Boris Johnson…

· What was the last book you read?

The Right Stuff – Tom Woolfe

· What tastes best on the hill?


· What’s scarier, heights or sharks?

Heights. (Refer to answer 1)

· What’s your favourite animal?


· What’s the worst thing you’ve ever eaten?

Elephant. Not really… Balut in the Philippines (

· Weirdest place you’ve slept?

Sewage pipes on 3 continents.

· Most expensive piece of kit you own?

Canon 5D Mkii, and an Alpacka packraft.

· If you had to do a ‘real job’, what would it be?


· Wild camp or posh hotel?

I’ll pick a posh hotel, please! Anyone can wild camp in wonderful, beautiful places any night they choose. A posh hotel is therefore a more novel and unattainable treat.

· Which celeb would you like to share a tent with?

Bruce Springsteen. I’m intrigued by anyone who keeps their passion, quality of output, and integrity over a long career.

· Scafell Pike, Snowdon or Ben Nevis?

Scafell Pike. I’m English, proud of it, and I love Wasdale.

· Who’s your mountaineering hero?

Felice Benuzzi, or Mark Twight (Kiss or Kill was one of my formative books)

· When were you last naked outdoors?

Yesterday. And I will be again tomorrow.

· Who’s your most famous friend?

I hate, hate people being labelled “famous”. I do loads of talks in schools and kids often ask if I am famous or a celebrity. Yuk. Sorry for the curmudgeonly answer!

· How much is a pint of tea at Pete’s Eats?

The last few times I’ve been there I’ve managed to dodge the bill!

· Your ultimate mountain day in three words…

Sunrise. Swim. Mates.

This interview originally appeared in Trail Magazine.

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