Paul Russell the manager of Rohan Ambleside has launched a new series on Rohantime – Paul’s first Microview is with Mark Richards author and illustrator of practical guides for the environmentally inspired walker.
What’s your greatest professional achievement to date?
My thorough survey of the Cumbrian fells, the eight-part Lakeland Fellranger series, published by Cicerone Press. Six titles published, one almost complete The Northern Fells and the final title, The Far Eastern Fells, on the near horizon. The series has led me into new media opportunities, with the launch of the first of a ‘Lake District Trails’ series, hour-long DVD film to a six-day adventure walking holiday with a dedicated Cicerone guide, all filmed and marketed through www.compassfilms.co.uk.
Which walk would you most recommend and why?
Always depends on one’s audience, if you are competent in wild rocky situations then Great Gable from Seathwaite. Climbing to Sty Head via the scrambly path on the west side of Taylorgill Force to reach Sty Head. Follow the south traverse making the effort to inspect Napes Needle from the Dress Circle and visit The Sphinx Rock, before clambering up Little Hell Gate to join the top arete the Sphinx Ridge and onto Westmorland Crags to reach the summit of Great Gable. Descend via Windy Gap onto Green Gable following the made-path into Gillercomb and the pitched way by Sour Milk Gill. It makes a brilliant fell day!
What are your top three ‘must have’ walking items?
Leather walking boots, Harvey’s or OS Outdoor Leisure map, my Canon camera!
What is your ‘top tip’ for fell walking?
Never assume perfect weather, always carry warm/windproof/waterproof layers, and for me that trio is elegantly achieved by the Superfine Merino 200 Zip, Windshadow Jacket and Hilltop Jacket.
Who is your greatest walking inspiration?
Alfred Wainwright, with whom I walked on many occasions during the 1970s, while he was researching his A Coast to Coast Walk, The Outlying Fells and Westmorland Heritage guides.
Where are you off to next?
Well, I still have to mop up a few corners of the Northern Fells, but the Far Eastern Fells beckon and come the New Year that is where I will be heading for in excess of nine months in a fell-by-fell scrutiny of routes to complete my Lakeland Fellranger survey. As Spring approaches I will be thinking about the next Lake District Trail film and advising ultra-marathon and challenge groups on routes in Hadrian’s Wall Country, through my advisory service www.hadrianstriumph.org.
What is your favourite food to take on the fells?
Wholemeal bap loaded with peanut butter, lettuce, mature cheddar and houmous with tomato and crisps, fruit flapjack and a banana, and as liquid refreshment diluted orange juice.
What do you do in your spare time?
Devoted to my wife and family, but have been known to watch Carlisle United!
A big thank you to Mark we hope to meet you on the fells sometime to share that wholemeal bap…
Catch up with Paul at Rohan Ambleside