The commitment and enthusiasm from some of the speakers brought to life the range of subjects they were talking about. I attended two excellent running presentations, and co-delivered another one.
Earlier in the day I had been working on the Wanderlust Travel Workshop, with Phoebe Smith and Hannah Reynolds. It was interesting to hear what Phoebe and Hannah had to say, and also to be able to contribute a small amount about my experience of getting published as a first time author.
After an impressive calzone for lunch just around the corner, we went into the afternoon’s running talks. First up Nicky Spinks introduced Charlie Ramsay, who was talking about his eponymous Round of the Nevis, Grey Corries and Mamore ranges. The most interesting point on a personal level was that he put up a slide of Grant Ramsay (from my own athletic club) at one point. Recognising him, it turned out that he was Charlie’s son, and that somehow I had never ever known that. Bizarre.
Next were the aforementioned Jen and Sim Benson, who were basically telling the story of their book ‘Wild Running’ and giving some fine examples of the places they had run. They ended by saying that they were upping sticks to take their two young children on the road for a year or so, wanting to have that freedom whilst they could. Nice move.
The last session of the weekend was the on-stage interview I was doing with Steve Birkinshaw. For some reason I was worried that there wouldn’t be anyone there, but there was in fact a fabulous crowd. We had asked for comfy chairs and a drink each as we wanted to try to get away from the talking to slides format. I fired the questions and Steve responded really well, interspersed with some clips from the film of his Wainwrights in 6 days effort – which had been previewed the night beforehand. Steve tells his story well in a very understated way. If you get a chance to see/hear him (at Kendal Mountain Festival maybe) then do so, you won’t be disappointed. In the short drinks break I signed a few copies of ‘It’s a hill, get over it’, which was grand. Always nice to meet people buying your work. I also enjoyed chatting to a couple of people who had bought copies earlier.
In fact, one of the best things about a festival like Buxton is the networking that takes place. I think my talk on the book at the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival got me the interviewing job here. Several connections made here will either help me, or maybe someone else, develop ideas. The writers workshop resulted in a request from an attendee to have sight of my book synopsis and publisher contacting plan/procedure, which I happily provided. Speaking to a very notable runner there produced a request for me to read a manuscript they have had on the back burner, which I readily agreed to do. Thirdly, a random conversation with someone I met at a previous book reading of mine in the Lakes produced a lead to a rare and unpublished source that may well have some invaluable information for the book I am currently working on.
I am really pleased to be taking the stage at this year’s Buxton Adventure Festival, on Sunday 12 October. I will be interviewing Steve Birkinshaw on stage about his recent successful Wainwrights record – all the 214 Wainwrights in the Lake District in a continuous round of 6 days. We also should have a clip from the new film of the event – ‘The Set of Wainwrights’ by Alistair Lee. Having interviewed Steve recently for my next book, I know he has some fascinating stories to tell of the highs and lows of that exceptional achievement. It takes out one of Joss Naylor’s most revered endurance records, from back in 1986. I hope to see some of you there, and will be available to sign copies of ‘It’s a hill, get over it’, which will be available at the festival. Tickets are available here.
Earlier on that Sunday I will also be on a Wanderlust panel discussing How to become a Travel Writer. I am uncertain I have any credentials at all for this one! I guess I have a few things to say about the process of getting published, having been through it recently, and having learnt a fair bit in a very short time in the process. Was it luck, good publisher research, an amazing manuscript, or what?! Come along and find out. The panel is myself, Phoebe Smith (Wanderlust travel editor, and author of Extreme Sleeps) and Hannah Reynolds (fitness editor for Cycling Weekly, and author of France En Velo)
The paperback version of ‘It’s a hill’ is now out and will be available to purchase at Buxton. Although I love having the paperback, I personally still prefer the look (and feel) of the hardback version. Hardback copies are still available to buy. If you are at the Buxton Adventure Festival catch me, as I will have some hardbacks with me to sell. Amazon still have hardback copies too. Paperback copies should be in all good bookshops now. Bookends in Keswick and Reads in Grasmere have some signed copies. If you are going to fell races, particularly in Yorkshire, look out for the Third Step Books stall at many events.