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Up your scrambling game

Scrambling isn’t just the most thrilling way to get up a hill. It’s also your passport to a secret world of razorback ridges, glorious buttresses and enticing rakes – a world where unbeatable views, adrenaline rushes and crowd-free high places are the norm.

Most hillwalkers will already have dipped a toe into this fabled mountain realm, perhaps by shimmying across Crib Goch or romping around the Striding Edge and Swirral Edge circuit. So what’s the next step? In our October issue, we’ll show you how to go from grade one scrambler to taking on some of the UK’s most serious scrambles. From the Ledge Route on Ben Nevis to Snowdon’s Cwm Uchaf Horseshoe, discover a series of superb grade 1 and grade 2 routes – and get the lowdown on the skills and equipment you’ll need to take them on.

Elsewhere in the inspiration-packed October issue;

  • Helen Mort explores how hillwalking with a dog can help us connect more deeply with the mountains.
  • Stefan Durkacz wanders the wooded glens and passes of the Cairngorms on a four-day backpacking trip.
  • Anna Richards tries her hand at paddlepacking – paddleboarding and wild camping around the Cornish coastline.
  • Alex Roddie attempts the 117-mile Mercantour Traverse in the French Alps.

PLUS: Chris Townsend puts waterproof jackets to the test, 10 of Britain’s most thrilling hill walks, read the second winning entry from our collaborative competition with Black Girls Hike by Josephine Hall, six mapped wild walks – and loads more!

How to get a copy

  • Order a single copy of this issue and get it delivered with free postage.
  • Take out an annual subscription and take advantage of our new subscriber offer (£15 for your first 6 issues).
  • Download the digital version to your tablet or smartphone and start reading straight away.
  • Take advantage of our special lockdown offer (3 issues along with the accompanying digital editions for just £9.99 plus free postage, with no ongoing commitment to subscribe.)
  • Buy it in shops across the UK (subject to lockdown opening).

Read more: a peek inside the issue…

Scramble On!: Have you shimmied along Sharp Edge, teetered over Crib Goch and ticked off all the other classic Grade 1 scrambles? Then it’s time to take things up a notch…

“Across Britain and Ireland there are a clutch of airy Grade 1 scrambling routes that don’t generally require any technical skills – but it’s a list that’s relatively easy to exhaust. So where do you go next? By embracing a new level of challenge, borrowing some tricks from the climbing world or hiring a guide, any hillwalker can open up a whole new world of airy adventure.”

Mountain Companions: What compels us to take our dogs exploring in extreme places? In this extract from her new book Never Leave the Dog Behind, author Helen Mort explains how four-legged friends can help us connect more deeply with the mountains.

“Dogs specialise in getting on with humans. They’ve been selectively bred for this for the past 50,000 years or more. They can even mimic human actions as well as a toddler can, reacting to our social cues. No wonder we live in a world full of dog lovers, a world where many of us count them as members of the family. We’re fascinated by them: either anthropomorphising our pets or obsessing about the ways they differ from us. And mountains – theatres of risk, drama and heroism – provide the perfect stage for us to enact our canine fascination in all its pathos and poetry. In short, the hills bring into focus just how much we love being with dogs.”

A land for great journeys: During a four-day backpacking trip, Stefan Durkacz delves into Britain’s nearest thing to ‘wilderness’; the often-wooded glens and passes of the Cairngorms.

“There’s more to the ‘Gorms than the summits. It’s also a land of forests, wild rivers, glens and passes, with historic trails threading through it all. And the sheer size of this roadless landscape sets it apart too. Where else in Britain can you walk for hours through native woodland, or spend a whole day crossing a mountain pass? A four-day journey in the Scottish hills without bagging a single summit may seem like a strange concept, but in the Cairngorms – our own little slice of the boreal wilderness that stretches across northern Europe and America – it made perfect sense.”

Calm Waters: With paddleboarding booming in popularity, Anna Richards tries her hand at paddlepacking – combining the sport with wild camping – and discovers a much-needed way of finding calm amid uncertainty.

“Under the setting sun I hauled my board up the beach and pitched my tent above the tideline. Saltwater had left my hair crisp and curly and my lips dry. Cornwall was busier than usual; restrictions on foreign travel meant that people from all over the country had flocked to the coast in droves, but on this little patch of beach I had found complete solitude. The lights began to come on in Falmouth across the harbour, golden and winking like stars.”

Shared Silence: Two weeks after first learning about the Mercantour region of the Alps, Alex Roddie found himself attempting the full 117-mile traverse of these sun-drenched, wildlife-filled mountains in the south of France. Would his spontaneous gamble pay off?

“I have never enjoyed a day’s walking as much as I enjoyed that first day along the Tinée frontier ridge. The trail took me from cirque to cirque, each more wonderful than the last. I drank in the wild landscape on all sides. It felt almost too good to be true, this symphony of dry paths, sunshine and mountains – and no glaciers anywhere to be seen, unlike in the Swiss Alps where they often intrude on trekking routes.”

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