TGO Planning Videos: Q & A

Thanks of the emails and comments about this short series of videos. Many of you have given me ideas for new subjects that you would like to see discussed. I am going to produce a series of Q & A videos and will have the help of four experienced Challengers.  Feel free to send your questions to:

andy.howell AT me DOT com

TGO Planning Guide: Internet Resources

In this video I take a look at how to get the best out of the Challenge Message Board,  take a look at TGO challenge diaries and journals and also look at community websites and how they can help us plan.

Websites mentioned during the video:

The TGO Challenge Message Board

Phil Lambert — Doodlecat

The Outdoors Station — TGO Challenge Podcasts

Traveline Scotland

TGO Planning Guide: Navigation II

In this video we play a route through the open country of the Balmacaan Forest, breaking the walk down into sections that can be fixed using features of the landscape.

Challenge Guide 1: Understanding the Highlands

This first video proper in the new series simply looks at how the ‘Highlands’ work for Challengers. If You know Scotland and have walked there before — even if you haven’t done the Challenge — then this is probably not for you. Skip to the next one.

This video assumes no priori knowledge of the Highlands!

Challenge Guide 2 will look at starting points.

TGO Challenge Planning Guides

I notice from my web stats that people are beginning to plan for next year’s Challenge. By all accounts we have a bumper series of entries this year. It seems a good time to revamp my challenge guide stuff. which is always well read. And so, this year, I have decided to embrace the multimedia revolution and to produce a few video tutorials. In the main, these are aimed at first timers and we’ll be looking at the differing regions of Scotland, start points, planning routes and so on. Mostly, I shall be using computer mapping to explain routes, navigation and so on.

These won’t of up at once though I’m hoping to gt three or four up this week. They will be about ten minutes long.

Anyhow, here is the introduction.


The Outdoors Station Sets a Stunning New Record

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Bob Cartwright and Honey Stove

I know. This blog is like a bus, you wait ages and then two come together!

Chatting to Bob the other day he decided (not for the first time) to put me right. I hadn’t been following the Outdoors Station properly!  I’d missed his big news.

The Outdoors Station has now hit ten million downloads. Yes, that’s right. Ten million. This is an extraordinary achievement and a reflection both of Bob’s skill and commitment and the continued and growing interest in outdoors activities.

We now live in a multimedia age. Bob and I were chatting about not only  how we rarely watch ‘live’ TV anymore but how much of our viewed content is on YouTube. Bob’s mostly download figures now easily outstrip the monthly circulation figures of the main outdoors magazines. And yet, we still have this feeling that the trade don’t treat this new medium seriously. Our traditional print media is struggling to maintain advertising revenue and, of course, this is vital to the continued health of the sector. But the new media faces even greater indifference from advertising buyers. Of course, any old idiot can create a You Tube video. That poorly produced video might be enough to answer your questions about a piece of gear. fair enough. But surely the sector as a whole benefits from consistently produced, high quality content?

Bob has always tried to operate to high standards and whenever he can to keep his sites free from rampant commercialism. For example, when Google contacted him to tell him that he would benefit from advertising on his You Tube Channel he chose to resist it.

Over the next few weeks Bob will be celebrating the life the Station so far and its clear success. I hope to be back in the studio with him chewing the cud and talking to listeners. I’e bene away too long.

I remain somewhat bemused that commercial backers seem not to properly appreciate what a gem the Outdoors Station has become. Quite frankly, given the size of Bob’s regular audience they are mad not to support it more energetically. We know there is so much more we could do to make the content even more fabulous than it is at present.

Anyhow, many congratulations to Bob and Rose. Keep your ears peeled for podcast news and who knows you might even hear my dulcet tones once again!

Bob Embraces the 21st Century


News from Bob at the Outdoors Station. Bob has been exploring the wonderful world of internet radio — he’s finally got round to buying an internet radio! All of the details can be heard on the podcast and it gives you a good idea about what internet radio has to offer.

Tune-In is a service that effectively broadcasts radio stations (and programmes) from all over e world. Tune-In is a built in feature in not only internet radio but smart TVs and in-house streaming systems such as Sonos. You can also get hold of this stuff over your PC and MAC as well.

These new radio services have transformed my listening over the last couple of years. Follow country music? No problem, here is most of Nashville for you? Jazz — any kind you like will be there. Folk and classical music are also served. But almost any subject you can think of from news to leisure and current affairs is now easily available over a ‘radio’ type device.

The Outdoors Station is now featured on Tune-In and other internet radio services. This will not only bring a new audiences to the podcasts but will allow the development of new programmes and new services. There are some new innovations coming soon from Cartwright Towers but in the meantime, catch-up with the podcast and catch up with the internet radio revolution!

That Man Abraham Does it Again

It is horrible outside. Driving rain, gale force winds. This is not a day to be on the hills (although, of course, if you are caught up in this weather it can often be exhilarating).

It has been a morning for engaging in they hills from the comfort of the sofa. I’ve been reviewing Terry Abraham’s new film for a certain outdoor publication.I won’t say too much more except to say Terry has done it again. Wonderful stuff.

I just hope Terry has avoided the hills this weekend and is snug in some pub somewhere. I owe you a pint mate.

The Outdoors Station is 10 Years Old — Where to Go Over the Next 10 Years?

Amazingly, the Outdoor Station is ten years old this year. Podcasting itself if only a little more than ten years old so the Outdoors Station was not only a pioneer but is one of the longest lasting of podcasts from any genre.

Now the Outdoors Station is ten it seems right to think about the directions it should take for the next ten years. Over the holiday period Bob and Rose have been busy thinking a out the future and have undertaken a SWOT analysis of the Outdoors Station — assessing the station’s strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats.

Rather unusually, Bob has decided to share this analysis — and the subsequent discussion — with listeners in the first podcast of 2015. There is some fascinating stuff here,some amazing facts and figures about downloads, popularity and so on.  If nothing else what Bob talks about is a representative reflection on changes patterns of media production and media consumption.

For much of that 10 years Bob and I have talked about how it might be to develop the production base of the Outdoors Station. What future is there in video and how might this be financed? How can we provide our many thousands of regular listeners and viewers with a more interactive experience?  Is there room for a live programme that allows you the opportunity to interact with both us and the guests in real time? And what about conventional audio programmes? What new directions are that the station can take advantage of.

We would be grateful if you could take the time to listen to this podcast and then to talk to Bob and the station about your responses, any new ideas you may have and so on.

The Outdoors Station is not a commercial venture. All of us that have been involved with it have given our time for free. Even with an audio podcast I know to my own cost the time needed to properly edit and put together even a half an hour sequence. Of course, Bob has spent many, many more hours producing content for our ever growing on-line community.

For me, what has set the Outdoors Station apart from the rest is its quality. Bob’s background in multimedia production really shows and over the last decade we’ve all benefited from his talent and experience. How do we not only preserve this station but support its development into the future by way of ensuring that it meets the new and emerging challenges of the next decade?

So, for the next three months or so Bob will be hosting an online questionnaire and feedback form and we would really welcome your views.

There’s a podcast giving you the background on the station and then a written article and the questionnaire itself.

Please take the time to have a look at this and tell us what you think.

The podcast and questionnaire are here.

Don’t Miss — Terry Abraham Hit the BBC

9 pm, Weds 14th Jan. Make a note in the diary. Set your video or set top box to record. This is when BBC 4 will be showing a 60 minute version of Terry Abraham’s film about Scarfed — The Life of a Mountain.  I was lucky to see this at a very early stage and — in my humble opinion — it is a stunner. If you have already seen the Cairngorms in Winter film then this is not only as good but possibly even better!

I think this might be the beginning of a longer term relationship between Aunty and Terry. I hope so.

Don’t miss it.