Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Postcard from Timperley shortlisted for The Great Outdoors ‘Outdoor Blogger of the Year’ Award


I’ve attended the last couple of award ceremonies, representing the Bridge of Gaur Guest House near Rannoch, and Alpenstock – my local gear supplier. I’d nominated both of them, but this year the nomination period passed me by and with neither of those fine establishments being shortlisted I didn’t expect to be involved in any way.

Nevertheless, I’m on a TGO mailing list and recently clicked the link to cast my votes. I was somewhat surprised to see my own blog listed in a new category for this year. Thanks go to whoever nominated me – I feel honoured to be shortlisted, though I’m not sure whether many folk will recognise ‘Postcard from Timperley’ from the code name above.

‘Postcard from Timperley’ thus gained an unexpected seventh birthday present. It’s really an on-line diary, not exclusively an ‘Outdoors’ blog, but out of over 2000 posts to date nearly half to have the ‘Walks’ label, and ‘Bike rides’ and ‘Skiing’ account for quite a few more. The original purpose was to keep in touch with friends and family whilst on a trip to New Zealand in early 2008. Sue and I enjoyed doing that, and I decided to continue with it until I got fed up. I still enjoy it, albeit I feel some entries are becoming a little repetitive.

Highlights, in my opinion, are entries such as the ‘Italian Border Route’ – a 58 day backpacking trip to the Alps, and various TGO Challenges including this well indexed record of our 2009 Challenge. More recently I’ve failed in my bid to properly index trip reports, and I apologise for that – some housekeeping is required. Perhaps starting with this summer’s trip to the Dolomites, and continuing with last year’s Pyrenean Adventure, which with Humphrey Weightman’s assistance was converted into a book with very little editing.

I am familiar with three of the other shortlisted blogs, and have now had a quick look at the others. Here’s my take on them, albeit very superficial.

Alan Sloman’s big walk – I’m a long-term follower of Alan, who writes with passion, originally about a Lands End to John O’Groats walk in 2007 and subsequently concentrating on TGO Challenge walks and Alan’s impassioned opposition to wind farms.

Alastair Humphreys – a new one to me, Alastair is a professional adventurer, author and motivational speaker who has written around 1500 postings since 2001.

Backpacking Bongos – James Boulter’s blog records a wide range of wilderness trips alone, in his campervan, or with his dog. I’ve followed James for a while and enjoy his postings.

Dean Read – another new one for me, Dean appears to be based in the Peak District and his activities include blog postings starting in 2006. He uses video clips and is a keen mountain biker and photographer.

Keith Foskett – a professional long-distance walker, writer and blogger. You expect ‘Postcard from Timperley’ to compete with this?

Terry Abraham – a film maker who posts blog entries as he goes about his film making activities. I have his excellent ‘Cairngorms in Winter’ film made with Chris Townsend. Terry has recently released another film – ‘Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike’ to similar acclaim, and he has just finished another film ‘Backpacking in the Lake District with Chris Townsend’ that will no doubt receive similar accolades.

The Girl Outdoors - a blog edited by Sian Anna Lewis ‘a journalist obsessed with adventure’. I notice that one of her recent postings is an interview with Alastair Humphreys, who seems to be popping up everywhere as I compose this entry.

Tony Hobbs - has only made two blog postings this year, though I understand he also posts videos elsewhere, and these may be the reason for his shortlisting.

Two Blondes Walking is an engaging record of two anonymous blondes’ antics with the wildlife of Dartmoor, Duke of Edinburgh Award children, and life in general. It’s new to me, but I’ll now be following these blondes’ short, often quirky, daily postings.

Leaving Tony Hobbs aside, I note that I’m the only person on the shortlist who doesn’t ‘Twitter’ (I have no plans to do that). Some of the blogs include advertisements that I find distracting, but that shouldn’t affect one’s overall opinion of them. Very few of those shortlisted attempt to keep their on-line records of their trips up to date on a daily basis whilst on those trips. That’s left to amateurs like me, Conrad and Gayle. It can be quite hard, but not ‘work’!

I note that four of those shortlisted, (Alastair, Keith, Terry and Tony) have also been shortlisted as ‘Outdoor Personality of the Year’ and Alastair has a third throw of the dice as one of his books has been shortlisted in the ‘Outdoor Book of the Year’ category.

It’s a small world…

I’ll let you know who wins in due course.

Thanks for reading my postings, especially during my/our longer trips when the interaction with commenters is appreciated, whether or not you choose to vote for the ‘Postcard’.

Note: following some comments and emails concerning my take on advertising on some of the shortlisted blogs, and having been accused of “trying to bash your opposition”, I have amended the above text to exclude some observations regarding advertising, and I’ve replaced the offending comments (below) with what I hope is something conciliatory. I certainly have no intention of “bashing” anyone – I just wanted to provide a brief overview with links to those shortlisted. In fact I’ve tried to be appreciative of all the blogs, so far as I can be, so I apologise to anyone who has misinterpreted my observations.

Result: Here's my take on this by way of the replication of a comment made on Alan Sloman's blog, see also here and here - I think TGO magazine's readers have come up with a strange result...

"Martin Banfield here. I've been away. In Wales. On a walking trip. I've written about it, as usual in a rather basic way on a mobile phone whilst trying to be sociable at the same time. It's my on-line diary. Dean Read and many others will relate to this, but won't necessarily be inclined to read it. It's for friends and family and anyone else who may be interested. It's not controversial. My 89 year old mother is the target audience. 

I was shortlisted for the Outdoor Blogger Award. I felt surprised and honoured. Until I spotted that it was a website that my wife and I use to notify friends of planned trips that had been shortlisted, not our blog. I was able to get TGO magazine to change the web address to correct the error, but the name by which the blog is recognised - 'Postcard from Timperley' was never revealed to voters. 

I was curious about the other shortlisted blogs. I wrote a short piece, providing links:

I mentioned that for me, advertising detracted from the content of some of the blogs. James Boulter's 'Backpackingbongos' blog was perhaps unfairly mentioned as it was the first on the list of 'offenders'. (The advertising on his blog is minimal and shouldn't really have deterred anyone from voting.) The cause of using outdoors blogs for advertising purposes was then taken up by Sian Anna Lewis in an exchange of comments including some, supportive of my stance, by Alan R. After being accused of trying to 'bash' the other shortlisted bloggers, I (for the first time in seven years of blogging) removed some of the comments and concluded an acrimonious series of emails with Ms Lewis, who emphasised that she encouraged advertising on her blog - a bit of an anathema to me. I've now looked a bit more deeply into her blogging efforts. To me, a blogger with an interest in the outdoors (mine is an on-line diary not exclusive to 'the outdoors'), Ms Lewis's so called 'Outdoors' blog is a bit like turning on BBC Countryfile and getting a shopping channel. 

Anyway, the exchange with Ms Lewis led me to conclude that this was not for me, so whilst I had already put a voting button in my sidebar, I left it at that and didn't mention the shortlisting again, even to friends and family. I expected Alan, Alastair, James, or Terry to receive the award, all their efforts being, in my view, worthy of such. Imagine my amazement when I discovered the results of the voting. The winner of the 'Outdoors Blogger' award appears to me to be a different genre to most of the other shortlisted blogs. 

That's enough. I've just lost nearly half an hour of my life..."

PS Here's some entertainment from Old Mortality - makes me feel much better!

PPS Keith Foskett has made some valid observations here. Well done to him on coming third. I should have included his name in the penultimate green paragraph.


Nick Bramhall said...

Hi Martin. I think that Tony was probably nominated for his video "blogging" on Youtube where he posts fairly frequently, rather than his actual blog. Another slight quirk of the somewhat bizarre TGO awards... Congratulations on your nomination though - I always enjoy your updates, especially following along with your big walks!

Phreerunner said...

Thanks Nick, I appreciate that clarification - I was rather puzzled.
I'm also slightly puzzled that TGO make no reference to 'Postcard from Timperley' which is how most people recognise my blog.

AlanR said...

It took me a week to lodge all those nominations of your blog. Ha.
All the best Martin its very well deserved.

Phreerunner said...

Brilliant, Alan. I knew it had to be you!

James Boulter said...

Cheers for the mention Martin. Just to let you know that I have no control of the ads on my blog (in fact I never get to see them as I am usually logged in). Wordpress puts them on there. The only option is to pay £70 a year to get them removed.

Phreerunner said...

Thanks James, that explains it. I didn't think you were someone keen on adverts. I assume 'The Professionals' use them to gain much needed income, whereas you and I are 'hobby bloggers' with no reason to try to make money out of the activity. I'll look on your blog's adverts as a necessary evil, just slightly tarnishing the purity of your pages.

Phreerunner said...

I've deleted some exchanges with one of the shortlisted bloggers who encourages advertising on their blog, misses the point of my posting, and feels that I'm writing about fellow nominees in a negative way. I've amended the posting slightly to try to rectify any perceived criticism, which stemmed basically from my dislike of intrusive advertising.

I've also deleted AlanR's quite valid but misunderstood comments and apology on the same matter.

I've left James Boulter's comment, as I think it provides a helpful explanation. His is a great blog, regardless of any adverts that may sneak in.

No doubt someone may still be upset, but I really am trying my best to achieve the simple objective of briefly summarising the shortlisted bloggers and providing links so that voters can make up their own minds.


Martin Rye said...

I voted for James as I made a bit of a campaign on Twitter for him. Anyway good luck Martin and also I need to point out it's £20 a year to remove ads on Wordpress. Just saying James.

Gayle said...

Curious! Backpackingbongos is up there in my top 3 favourite blogs, and I read every word that James writes there, yet I had no idea that he had advertising on his blog. I put that down to the fact that I rarely visit blogs themselves, instead reading via Feedly (and when I do visit the blog website itself, I do it using Firefox running Adblocker).

Just to see what the fuss is about, I just visited James's blog using IE (with no Adblocking software) ... and I can still see no ads.

As I say, curious!

Paul Sammonds said...

I also visit James's Blog regularly and have never had any ads.
BTW Martin, I always enjoy your blog especially during the TGO challenge. Enjoy the fine style and the daily references to the Flora and Fauna.
Have to admit though my vote went to James, sorry.
Keep the posts comming.

Phreerunner said...

I think I must have been unlucky to spot an advert on James's blog, Paul (and Gayle), and I commend anyone for voting for him - he would have been a worthy recipient of the award.

Alastair said...

I suggest we all turn off our computers and go climb a mountain!

Phreerunner said...

Yes, Alastair, the delay in publishing your comment is due to the computer being off whilst mountains have been climbed!

Your books have arrived BTW; we'll enjoy reading them.

All best wishes