One thing that always gets me excited is when a friend has a book published. As someone who’s not in the published author gang (yet… maybe one day), I genuinely love it when someone I know sees their work in print. I mean, it’s very very cool.

James Forrest is a record-breaking hiker – and I know him because he’s a fellow Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion. Nicknamed Mountain Man, James climbed every mountain in England and Wales in just six months – the fastest ever time. Solo and unsupported, he walked over 1,000 miles and ascended five times the height of Everest during his 446-peak challenge. Mountain Man is the story of that challenge.

And, the thing that feels most important to me in all this, he did it all on his days off from work, proving it is possible to integrate an epic adventure into your everyday life if you really want to. I mean, if you’re going to break out of the monotony of the nine to five in a big way, this is a pretty great way to do it! You just have to be prepared to make bold decisions on the all-important time and money aspects of life.

The problem with a book about an adventure is the printed page can’t possibly be as epic as the experience itself, but James has done a pretty good job here. Thankfully this isn’t a travelogue with an “and then I” account of every single step, but rather a very anecdotal account written in a way you can imagine it being told in the pub or around the campfire.

I love the stories of eccentric locals, getting lost, plenty of misadventure and the appalling weather; we all know it’s the difficulties, the issues, the challenges (and the battles) that make a story memorable, and there are plenty here. Not that James spends the text whinging about this adventure, but rather laughs his way through tales of personal accomplishment in sometime truly horrendous circumstances. And the fact he admits right at the start he wore is wife’s unwanted hiking boots for the first few hikes gives you an idea of the level of sharing we have here.

I am rarely truly absorbed in a book, I tend to choose audio books rather than physical ones because I find reading hard work, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the sofa with the one, and admit I was disappointed when it ended. It is absolutely bursting with emotion, and has certainly caused me to look at my own spare time and where on earth it goes. Record breaking road trip, anyone?!

Let’s face it, life is indeed more fulfilling when you switch off from the world and go and climb a mountain, and I love this book for reminding me of that. Inspired and motivated? Absolutely.  

Mountain Man by James Forrest is published by Conway, part of Bloomsbury Publishing, and is well worth your pocket money.

I was very touched to be gifted a copy of this book by James himself, which was really lovely of him, and I’m sharing it on Splodz Blogz because I think you should all read it. The link to Amazon is an affiliate link but you’ll also find this book in a whole host of independent book stores across the country.

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