Podtastic Excursions in Sound

I travel.

A lot.

Sadly not always for fun, adventure or pleasure – often it’s for business. Regular trips are to Prague and Barcelona, less frequently to “exotic” places like the US or Middle east.

This means lots of travel time – that limbo bit between here and there. Flights, driving, airports, hotel rooms etc and that can be VERY boring but also feels like “dead time” where you are just an in-transit meat parcel, waiting to arrive not really living or being productive.

Sure you can work while travelling and I occasionally do,  but often it’s very early in the morning (3am this week) or very late at night, or even weekends so usually I need escape or soothing  -not hard labour.

To now, I have been an avid reader on flights, lots of books get consumed at 37,000 feet (great to read about Everest while being at a similar altitude to the summit, currently reading The Beckoning Silence, Joe Simpson ) and also I often leverage sites like SteepEdge, and Netflix to give em some stimulation and entertainment.

Very recently though, and after hearing so much positive info from a climbing buddy Davy Wright I decided to try Podcasts.

Now.. I know they are nothing new , in fact they are quite a legacy of the recent technology age but I’ve never really “got them” so it was time to invest some research time.

Interviewing Gordon Brown in a double kayak during a sea kayaking trip off Skye for BBC Scotland. Photo copyright – Kevin Williams

If , like me you somehow missed the world wide tutorial on how to get podcasts its easy.

Go on your app store if its your phone and get a Podcast player (just search Podcast), or play direct from your desktop as MP3 files.

Your player will probably have a search function that will let you find good “channels” to listen to , streaming  from the web and many even pre-configure to download podcast for listening when not connected to the internet (like on a plane) .

If not you can always just google for podcasts , download them to your phone and when you open them you can listen through any music player or the podcast player itself. (wow that sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is…..)

After finding a podcast player for my phone (I use PlayerFM) I sought out some mountain, adventure, fitness and general outdoor podcasts with which to journey with.

At first I found some random ones (some very funny like Armchair Mountaineers or focused on interviews like  Inspiring Adventurer) but I was really looking for 1 or 2 I had heard about from Davy, one in particular sounded very interesting – Mountain Podcast.

After a quick google search I found the site and downloaded the MP3’s for play later .

Recording episode 7 near the summit of Beinn Dorain in the Southern Highlands. Copyright Anna McQuarrie

Mountain Podcast is hosted by Christopher Sleight (pictured above holding the mic, supported & sponsored by Alpkit) and takes the listener on various excursions of a mountain nature but the one that really stuck out for me was “The Scream”.

More of The Scream in a minute, but first to Chris.

Chris Sleight is a radio producer, journalist and as as the website says “a climber living in Scotland” so as podcast hosts  go he is well skilled to deliver. Chris can be reached via Twitter here  while the handle for the podcast is here 


Mountain‘s website itself positions the Podcast thus

“Mountain is a show about adventure in wild places. We tell stories about climbers and explorers, lovers and kidnappers, racers, travellers — and even violinists.

The podcast is a crafted mix of interviews, sound and music, brought together to tell compelling and immersive stories. Mountain was launched in 2015 and is one of the UK’s most popular outdoors podcasts.”

The last bit may sound a large claim but after your first listen you will see why its probably no exaggeration . It’s superb!

Mentioned earlier, The Scream has become somewhat of Scottish mountaineer spooky legend, something to talk about huddled round the fire in a bothy or at the CIC. A misty, silent and oppressive day on the Ben (Nevis), a blood curdling and terrifying scream, hardened mountaineers blood running cold, calls to mountain rescue… … many theories (none credible) have been brought forward..

I’ll not spoil the whole story,  but let you go listen instead.

Cnoc nan Uamh (c) James Roddie
Trying to find the right words to describe the incredible cave formations in Cnoc nan Uamh while recording episode .6. Photo copyright , James Roddie

Podcasts then are now a firm fixture in the car and on planes for me, alongside the books and Netflix . For car journeys they are ideal but I can also easily see myself sitting at home with them playing in the background while Irelax with a nice dram.

Chris you are welcome to join me.

If you haven’t already, why not go on your own excursions in sound via podcast, you could do a lot worse than start with Mountain.

The latest episode, number 17,  is “In Footsteps” and is available now on www.mountainpodcast.com

Now, where did I put my passport?