Back in March 2013 I filmed a video on a solo survival exercise in the Peak District. I had been a student of both Survival and Bushcraft since childhood so this was just a routine exercise, however things did not quite go to plan! There was a sudden snow storm that was so intense that according to the Met Office there hadn’t been an equivalent snowfall (in terms of the amount of snow) since 1981. Severe weather warnings were put in place and homes in many parts of Britain were left without power, the papers also reported dead bodies being recovered from stranded vehicles. This very much reinforced that there is always going to be an element of danger to the challenges and adventures that I set myself, so risk assessments, research and safety plans are still a high priority.
This year has seen me take part in a different breed of dangerous events. First I cycled the width of Britain alone in just one day, tackling some incredibly high hills through the Lake District and Pennines, a total climb of almost 8,ooo ft. For the majority of the challenge I was pretty much in the middle of nowhere with nothing or nobody as far as the eye could see. As a result of my lights breaking halfway through I hit a wooden gate at around 20mph which could have ended the whole ride, it seemed luck was on my side and the damage to my bicycle was minor, this was very fortunate because not only was the night drawing in, the next person I would see would be after a further hour of cycling.
Another 2015 challenge was just as dangerous, my goal was to run 3 marathons in 3 consecutive days on the Jurrasic Coastline, England. These were not your standard road marathons they were trail marathons; I was running not only up hills but over sand, mud, grass and pebbles for at least 70% of the entire journey. By day two I had lost count of how many times I had almost twisted both ankles due to the technical and agile running style needed on such terrain, this was made worse by yet again being alone on trail routes a few miles away from ‘civilisation’.
This leads me on to the core purpose this blog article. With safety being such a great concern in todays society, you would expect that the question I get asked the most is ‘How do you stay safe?‘ or ‘What plans do you put in place in case of an emergency?’ The truth is, as far as I can remember I’ve only been asked about safety once. The question I actually get asked the most (at least 4 times per week) is ‘Do you manage to spend enough time with your family?’ This question not only comes from those in my social circle but also from people who visit my website through newspaper articles and social media links. My daughter Amalie, who at the time of writing, is 10 months old cannot be seen anywhere on my website and is very rarely mentioned on my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages, so I guess I can see why this is a common question.