The Song of the Ungirt Runners

“I seem to think a lot about why I like to run. One reason is to be thankful for how fortunate my life is. Charles Hamilton Sorley was a runner and a poet. He was killed during the First World War, at the age of 20. Here is his perspective on running.”

The Song of the Ungirt Runners

I seem to think a lot about why I like to run. One reason is to be thankful for how fortunate my life is.
Captain Charles Hamilton Sorley was a runner and a poet. He was killed during the First World War, at the age of 20. Here is his perspective on running.

(Filmed, edited, narrated, ran: Alastair Humphreys)
Gear: Sony A7s, f4 24-70, GoPro, DJI Mavic Air

We swing ungirded hips,
And lightened are our eyes,
The rain is on our lips,
We do not run for prize.
We know not whom we trust
Nor whitherward we fare,
But we run because we must
Through the great wide air.

The waters of the seas
Are troubled as by storm.
The tempest strips the trees
And does not leave them warm.
Does the tearing tempest pause?
Do the tree-tops ask it why?
So we run without a cause
'Neath the big bare sky.

The rain is on our lips,
We do not run for prize.
But the storm the water whips
And the wave howls to the skies.
The winds arise and strike it
And scatter it like sand,
And we run because we like it
Through the broad bright land.

Drone Idiocy

Adventure film-making Pro Tip: when filming yourself running with a drone, do NOT put down the controller and run off heroically without marking where you have left it! A comedy / terrifying 15 minutes as I tried to find it again on a huge, empty hillside! 🤦‍♂️MORON! 😂 #DJI #dronephotography #drones #mavic #mavicair

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Boiling hot day. I plan to be in that lake, butt-naked, in about 20 minutes from now.

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I'd love to tell you how wonderful this book is, (139 5-star Amazon reviews etc.) but the simple truth is I'd really like to flog a bunch to clear out some space so that I can buy a new bike! It's only £5 and it's Buy One Get One Free... ⠀
http://www.alastairhumphreys.com/product/rivers/ (Link in Bio)

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A fantastic, uplifting journey to follow. But the caption in this post from @supercyclingman is brilliant, whether or not you have any interest in cycling round the world. 👇 #Repost
・・・
3 years ago I FINALLY set off to go for a dream that I’d had for many years: to cycle around the world. Doing it in a superhero costume was definitely NOT part of the original dream, but hey, that’s what it became and 99% of the time I love wearing the cape and pants as I pedal around the planet, raising funds for Parkinson's charities and dropping in on schools talking about how #WeCanAllBeHeroes

For many years I had delayed leaving home to begin this dream round the world bike ride. Each year I would convince myself that I could always go the following year, or the year after that.

The only trouble with that approach is we only get a certain amount of years and eventually that time runs out…

So there was a serious risk of this dream remaining just that: a dream that never became reality. What a waste!

But luckily I had some friends who badgered me into action. “Decide on a leaving date and shake someone’s hand on it. There’s no getting out of that,” was possibly the most annoying but best piece of advice I was given.

So I chose 31st May 2015 as my leave date.
As this departure date approached I felt increasingly uncomfortable about sticking to it.

I hadn’t saved up all the money I wanted to (3 years on, I’m STILL working on how to keep the trip going). I hadn’t landed any kind of sponsorship deal (3 years on, I’m STILL looking for sponsors to help me keep the trip going.) In no way did I feel as perfectly ready as I had hoped I would be.
Would I leave on 31st May 2015? Or would I put off starting until some other time. “Next year I’ll go.” Thankfully I DID set off on 31st May 2015. Largely because I had shaken a few people’s hands on me leaving on that date and I couldn’t face the embarrassment of pulling out, but also because I realised that all those things that I hadn’t done and weren’t quite perfect, didn’t actually really matter or they could be done on the road once I had started.
So here’s to taking action and taking the first

Timeline Photos

You know you’ve made it when you’re on the Reduced To Clear shelf at Sainsbury’s next to George Michael.

Timeline Photos

Busy day book editing. Then the Sun came out. Remembered my new rule to treat sunshine like a fire alarm (Get out! Get outside! Save your life!). ⠀
Rode to river. Went for a swim. ⠀
Bike looked pretty on the bank so I swam back to get my phone and jumped in to photograph it. (That’s what sad cyclists like me do: we enjoy taking pics of our bikes.)⠀
Climbed out feeling very pleased with life, dripping starkers on the river bank. ⠀
Just then — no lie — a bright blue kingfisher flashed by upstream, and I thought to myself, “thank God I listened to that sunshine alarm and got out here!”⠀
Then I pedalled home filled with the joys of May for a few more hours book editing. (This Spain book, by the way, better earn me a million bloody quid, so long have I spent on it...)

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Why do YOU travel?

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Ever feel that someone’s watching you, even on a run out in the woods?!
The forests look after us - we need to look after them. Please follow and support the likes of Trees for Cities and The Woodland Trust. #trees

Loved By All: The Story of Apa Sherpa

“Every spring the summit of Mount Everest draws people from around the world. But in its shadow live the Sherpa, a resilient, religious people, who, despite the riches surrounding the highest peak on earth, are still quite poor and uneducated.”

I get a huge number of requests to highlight more Women in the adventure world. We are hosting a Night of Adventure event in Bristol with a full line-up of fantastic female speakers.
But tickets are selling really slowly. Please, please come along if you live in Bristol. And please share this with anyone who might enjoy it! http://www.nightofadventure.co.uk

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I was very surprised to see a TV advert for a big brand blatantly copying my microadventure films without my knowledge. I don't for a moment claim ownership of encouraging people to go camping etc. But this was clear imitation so I emailed them. They denied knowing anything about it.
I've drawn a line under it as life is too short to go around moaning and grumbling.
But I just wanted to share here my 'PS' to the disgruntled email I wrote, as it's a useful reminder for all of us:
'PS - if you'd only contacted me for a chat before, I'd have said 'of course - go for it'. The more people we get outdoors, the better. Going about things the right way always works out best.'

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The forests now are as important to us as they were 800 years ago: 'The forests are the sanctuaries of Kings and their greatest delight. Laying their cares aside, they go there for the sake of hunting, to be refreshed by a short rest. Freed from the constant uproar of the Court, they enjoy briefly the benefit of pure freedom. From this it follows that those who commit offences in the forest especially suffer the royal displeasure.' - Written in 1180 (The Dialogue Concerning the Exchequer)

Getahead Festival

“On Weds 13th June 2018, Getahead Festival will help those dealing with stress, overwhelm or existing mental health issues get more balance & achieve their goals. While treating the issue seriously, we aim to make it fun & accessible.”

‘Man’s greatest journey is the long step from the warm bed to the cold floor.’
Get out of bed and run up a hill! You won’t regret it...

Ben Saunders - Living on Ice

Living on ice: a lovely film about a Solo & unsupported North Pole Speed Record attempt:

This is Great Britain

This is Great Britain. It’s where I was born and brought up. It’s my home.
I am an adventurer. I have travelled a lot, right the way around the world, visiting incredible places in almost a hundred countries.
But only when I got back home again did I appreciate just how much there is to explore and discover and treasure right here under my nose in this crowded, rainy, quirky, ancient, beautiful, thrilling little island.
We’re filled with history, with castles and cathedrals and mysterious old caves covered in shells and massive trees and walled seaside towns and hushed libraries filled with treasures. We’ve got pubs 800 years old, century-old theme parks, and world war 2 forts left empty and mysterious since they defended London out in the estuary of the Thames.
You can do it all in Britain: gaze at the stars, dangle from wires, sleep in a lighthouse, hold a hawk, pat a cactus, ponder the universe or just sit and drink tea. There's So much tea! And cake.
You might choose to camp in a tent or wallow in a hot tub, eat candy floss, or fish and chips. You can take to the skies or go climbing underground, like the wild landscapes of Wales or England or Scotland. You can pedal fast or paddle slow, ride on a horse or on a rollercoaster. You can do it all.
We get rain, for certain, loads of rain. But if you’re lucky you’ll get some sunshine, maybe some snow too. There’s warm nights and muddy faces, and good people who’ll make jokes about the weather and suggest cups of tea as solutions to everything.
This is my home. It’s packed full with towns and cliffs and beaches and bays and mountains and green fields. And the crazy thing is that it took me years of exploring the whole world before I finally came back home and discovered just what it is that makes Britain great.

- It was a real pleasure to get to travel around Britain for National Geographic visiting all these fabulous places. The film was made by Brother Film Co (https://brotherfilmco.com) and I really hope it encourages people to come Visit Britain.

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Fun quiz for hill geeks. I ran up this hill, into a cloud and out of hope... Where am I? (Terrible view but I still feel like it’s a win being up here...)

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Shinrin-yoku. “Forest bathing.” Just me, the mist, and a persistent cuckoo. ⠀
Wonderful weather for running, in the beautiful woodland of the Derwent Valley.

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Some mornings I go running specifically to seek out a potential sweet swimming spot that I’ve found on a map, or online, or been tipped off about. I run there and arrive panting, hot, and eager for the water.
Some mornings I go running specifically to seek out a potential sweet swimming spot and when I get there it’s misty, chilly and I really can’t be bothered.
But experience has taught me that it’s always worth plunging in, that I always enjoy it (sometimes only retrospectively), and that I always run back to begin my day happier and more energised than I was before I went for the swim.

Behind-the-scenes of Adventure Film-making

Making films about adventure does not just involve sunsets and smug poses. Here's a behind-the-scenes glimpse into what goes into filming your own adventure films.

(The actual film I was shooting is this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9aFO6lVYAQ)

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I love going for long runs in the hills. But I also enjoy, at least as much, having long sit downs on the soft, dry grass and taking in the world.

Get up early. Run up a hill to earn the Weetabix. (Other varieties of pre-breakfast exercise are available.)

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Sitting on the soft moss beneath the weir, the white water hosing on my head until the cold eventually starts to feel warm. The sun hot on my face, looking up past the elderflower and the ash to a bright blue May sky. Then drifting downstream to here, under the deep smooth water of the millpond. A dipper watches me from its nest, anxiously bobbing and scolding if I drift too near.
Next: home for curry and beer.

The Truth about Adventure Film-making

Making films about adventure does not just involve sunsets and smug poses. Here's a behind-the-scenes glimpse into what goes into filming your own adventure films.

Dream to Reality - Alastair Humphreys

I get an increasing number of messages from people looking to earn a living from adventure. I highly recommend it, of course! But I've written this long post to try to help you convert Dream to Reality -

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If I do a bit of book-editing at the Test Match can I call it ‘work’ and claim a business expense? 😂 #ENGvPAK @bbctms #cricket #bbctms @homeofcricket

Fear?

“What if the thing that stops us living as adventurously as we might dream of more than time or money or family or expertise or gender or training, but our own fears?”

The Truth about Adventure Film-making

Making films about adventure does not just involve sunsets and smug poses. Here's a behind-the-scenes glimpse into what really goes into filming your own stuff... 😉

The Truth about Adventure Film-making

“Making films about adventure does not just involve sunsets and smug poses. Here's a behind-the-scenes glimpse into what goes into filming your own adventure films.”

The TRUTH behind Adventure film-making... 😂 Making films about adventure does not just involve sunsets and smug poses. Here's a behind-the-scenes glimpse into what goes into filming your own adventure films. (Full film: link in bio)
I will post the second and third part of this later today.

London: a National Park City?

London: a National Park City? https://buff.ly/2s7Ie26 (@londonnpc)

Alastair Humphreys Studio Talk | Keswick Mountain Festival

I'll be speaking at the Keswick Mountain Festival on 8 June. Tickets here:

Night of Adventure, Bristol 2018 - Hope and Homes for Children

Tickets now on sale for the Night of Adventure, Bristol, on 11 July:

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Hefty book-signing session. Always makes me wish for a short name like Bob Kay!
Really pleased though that Primary Schools are starting to read The Boy Who Biked the World in greater numbers.

It can be hard to change. If we are stuck in a rut with work, or depressed, or chasing the mortgage, or changing nappies then change (or even a temporary escape) can feel like an impossibility. I do not deny that, but nor do I believe it is impossible.
And as if all this was not hard enough -- making changes, risking uncertainty -- we also fear what other people will think. What will society or friends or family think if we go and do something weird like camp on a mountain or sling on a backpack or jump into a cold, clear river with our crazy kids? What will people think?!
We fear, above all, the unknown. Not the literal unknown of the wilderness that we all yearn for, but the unknown of how it might all pan out if we do start to live more adventurously.
Adventure is not scary. LIFE is scary. And that's why we stick with what we have. We procrastinate. And we make excuses.
But what scares me, more than any of these very real fears, is that soon it will be too late. One day this will all be over. And I am scared how much I will regret it if I don't do whatever I can to push off from the shore and dare myself to live a little more adventurously while I have the chance. (Link to full film in bio)

How to Improve your Email Newsletter - Alastair Humphreys

“How to Improve your Email Newsletter” https://buff.ly/2IAoleW

A map of Odysseus’ travels in The Odyssey

“A map of Odysseus’ travels in The Odyssey” - this would be a far more interesting journey than a standard A to B ocean row. I'd love (in theory) to follow this route by boat and boot...

The Scouts

I love all the hard work that goes into preparing young people in Scouts with #SkillsForLife

Some of us fear travelling alone or have no adventurous friends to join us. What are we scared of here? The dark? Ghosts? Loneliness? Or do we doubt ourselves? So many of us do, mistakenly worried that our small adventures won't count, or aren't up to much. We fear the inadequacy of comparison. We hide behind excuses like the paradox of choice ("I can't go on an adventure because there are too many options to choose from!"). Or we hide behind defences that class, or upbringing, or education mean that 'people like us' don't do adventure, CAN'T do adventure, that the door to adventure is closed -- as if that was ever possible for walking up a hill, or cycling across a country, or joining a club and making a start?
It's not equipment or training, or wild camping worries, or access to the 'right people' that stops us making a start, it's us lacking the confidence to go for it. We stop ourselves because we're scared. We're scared of the unknown; we are scared to change. And that is why we settle for what we know and where we presently are rather than casting off and taking a chance on changing something.
(Full film on my blog: link in bio)

Fear?

“What if the thing that stops us living as adventurously as we might dream of is not time or money or family or expertise or gender or training, but our own fears?”

Timeline Photos

Tickets are now on sale for the next Night of Adventure. 11 July, Bristol. All proceeds to Hope and Homes for Children, so please come along if you can (or share this, if you can't) https://buff.ly/2IY7iD1 We're going for an all-female line-up of speakers this time. 👍🧗‍♀️👊

Fear?

What if the thing that stops us living as adventurously as we might dream of is not time or money or family or expertise or gender or training, but our own fears?
*
There is a common perception that adventure has to involve leaving the real world behind, heading far out to sea into epic landscapes, with expensive equipment and specialist skills. And that to be an 'Adventurer' you have to be a middle-class white man who is strong and athletic or -- more importantly -- rich and well-connected!
But I honestly believe that adventure is more accessible than that.
So what IS holding us back from living more adventurously?
There is disability and illness, of course, a reminder for those of us who ARE healthy not to take that for granted.
And there are the big, glaring obstacles:
A lack of time is one of the biggest problems of our age. Being too busy for adventure -- for wilderness, tranquility, sunsets -- surely means that we NEED to make time for it, even if it is just a short microadventure escape from the office.
A shortage of money stops many people, through a mistaken assumption that adventure has to be expensive. Some of the best journeys of my life cost less than the smartphone you are reading this on.
Relationships and family commitments and children stand between many of us and the eternal, blissful, selfish dirtbag vagabondage we dream of. Maybe you truly are indispensable, or perhaps your other half simply does not share or even understand your restless spirit. In which case... in which case... Good Luck! You'll need a wiser man than me to solve that conundrum!
But otherwise, I think that what's standing in the way of you and your adventure is not time or money or kids or whatever: what's stopping us living adventurously is fear. Fear.
Often we might not recognise it as that or even deny it or react angrily at the very suggestion. But fear has so many forms.
There are simple fears like vertigo that keep us from climbing, or fear of snakes, or wide open oceans.
There is fear for safety, from the wilderness or from assault -- particularly amongst women. But anxiety about wild places is merely a healthy emotion of respect and should not preclude us from starting small. And fear of assault: is that an issue for quiet evenings alone in the countryside, or one for our daily life surrounded by humans in the 'real world'?
Some of us fear travelling alone or have no adventurous friends to join us. What are we scared of here? The dark? Ghosts? Loneliness? Or do we doubt ourselves? So many of us do, mistakenly worried that our small adventures won't count, or aren't up to much. We fear the inadequacy of comparison. We hide behind excuses like the paradox of choice ("I can't go on an adventure because there are too many options to choose from!"). Or we hide behind defences that class, or upbringing, or education mean that 'people like us' don't do adventure, CAN'T do adventure, that the door to adventure is closed -- as if that was ever possible for walking up a hill, or cycling across a country, or joining a club and making a start?
It's not equipment or training, or wild camping worries, or access to the 'right people' that stops us making a start, it's us lacking the confidence to go for it. We stop ourselves because we're scared. We're scared of the unknown; we are scared to change. And that is why we settle for what we know and where we presently are rather than casting off and taking a chance on changing something.
It can be hard to change. If we are stuck in a rut with work, or depressed, or chasing the mortgage, or changing nappies then change (or even a temporary escape) can feel like an impossibility. I do not deny that, but nor do I believe it is impossible.
And as if all this was not hard enough -- making changes, risking uncertainty -- we also fear what other people will think. What will society or friends or family think if we go and do something weird like camp on a mountain or sling on a backpack or jump into a cold, clear river with our crazy kids? What will people think?!
We fear, above all, the unknown. Not the literal unknown of the wilderness that we all yearn for, but the unknown of how it might all pan out if we do start to live more adventurously.
Adventure is not scary. LIFE is scary. And that's why we stick with what we have. We procrastinate. And we make excuses.
But what scares me, more than any of these very real fears, is that soon it will be too late. One day this will all be over. And I am scared how much I will regret it if I don't do whatever I can to push off from the shore and dare myself to live a little more adventurously while I have the chance.

How to Improve your Email Newsletter - Alastair Humphreys

How to Improve your Email Newsletter - some insights from surveying my readers:

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Sometimes it’s good to be barrelling along, revelling in your fitness, sprinting to the top of a hill. Sometimes it’s good when a bloke in his 50s breezes past you — on a MOUNTAIN BIKE— and reminds you that you could be working a lot harder... 🤨

Totally Tranquil