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Inspired by Dan Bull’s Skyrim Rap
So you’ve seen the Epic Hiking Rap, and now you want the background?
Are you serious or is this a joke?
I’ll leave you to apply Poe’s Law.
Where did this start?
For years, the University of Manchester Hiking Club had a tradition where a specific longstanding club member would write and present a poem at their AGM. In 2012, for the first time in a long time, that club member was absent, and so people were each egging each other on to write something. Originally, I parodied Dan Bull’s Epic Skyrim Rap, and included various bits of club folk-lore.
A friend saw one of timelapse stills from Kyrgyzstan, and mentioned Skyrim, and it started to come together. I finally finished the video editing, put it on youtube, and there you go!
How long did it take you?
Days, sporadically, over several years.
How did you record the track?
Poorly. With much difficulty. Ardour and some condenser mics were my friend, but gosh, it’s hard work. New respect was developed for people who can perform stuff well enough to record it easily. I’d say I’m good enough with audio editing to produce something that’s a thing out of what I can perform. That’s not a very high bar.
Where was the video shot?
Sweden, Kyrgyzstan & the UK. All mountainous timelapses are in Kyrgyzstan (with one of the mountains shown currently being unclimbed), there’s two shots of the peak district, and two from the lake district.
What was the video shot with?
I shot all but four of the shots on a Canon 5D mkII with the Magic Lantern Firmware. The remaining four shots were a Sanyo CA100 (I bet you can easily spot 2). I think they’re all with my f24-105 f4 lens except the timelapses, which were a 50mm f1.8, and all the shots in Sweden were taken with a Glidecam XR-2000.
Who do you have to thank?
Dan Bull, for being a massively awesome and generous dude, for giving me the track to record onto, and always being so supportive – it really makes a difference! Anyone who’ve ever had me point a camera at them, or held a camera for me. (There’s a shot in there that my girlfriend Clara held the camera for on our first date!). Anyone who ever encouraged me to try something, or give it a go.
What are the Lyrics?
I’m in nature’s gym.
I’m sprinting like a shadow,
who knows I’m running right behind him.
My hike-shout-flow is sweeter than a post-hike swim
You won’t believe you eyes
I’m like an overload of adrenaline!
An ice-axe in one hand
and a scared hiker in the other
I’m the last of the Hiking Kings!
There’s no other my brother
don’t run for cover!
If you’re going up-dale
then I’m on your tale
and I will NOT fail
like a half-crazed freesoloer
I’m off the rails
I walk the trails
through awful gales
and storms of hail
til all your ramblers
are racing for the bottom
I’m not stopping, til you’ve all gone home
and I am alone
in amongst the peaks
there’s silence for weeks
until I’m disturbed
by the sound of your shrieks
And I walk with this bloodthirsty hound!
She follows with a growl and a bound!
I’m draining my force, so chemistry comes into play with retorts and recipes.
Ceildih dancing like a DJ
HYDRATION. RESTORE my energy!
written in heavenly bodies
with every hiker
that ever did bother
to mess with me
I’m a celebrity!
You’re a wannabe!
I’m a prodigy!
The suggestion you’re better than me at being a hiker?
It’s a gift to me, I don’t just bag peaks lyrically, but literally
and the OS maps are scripts in which I’ve written your obituary
I am the Hiking King
I’m risking life and limb!
I’m Hiker Tim,
you’re nobody at all!
Last year, I did a round up of my favourite photos of 2012, this is my roundup of my favourite photos of 2013.
In 2013, I took just over 18,000 photos, with the vast majority (and all of my favourites from this year) being on my Canon 5D mkII, with either a 50mm f1.8 lens or a 24-105mm f4 lens.
Which do you think is best?
What’s going on here?
Where are you right now?
Back in the UK.
Where did you go?
What do different update types mean:
Note: none of these updates can mean I need help. There is a unique Help alert that carries that meaning and is dealt with separately.
How do you pronounce Kyrgystan?
Where is Kyrgystan?
Central Asia. South of Russia, West of China
What timezone is that?
Who are you travelling with?
I’m going on my own.
How are you getting to Kyrgystan?
Turkish Airlines: Manchester to Osh, via Istanbul.
How long are you going for?
2 weeks (30th September – 15th October)
Where are you going?
Why Karavshin & Jiptik valleys?
There are unclimbed peaks in the area which I plan to scout/photograph. In addition, the scenery is reputedly comparable to Yosemite but in my 300 page guidebook of Kyrgzystan (2011), Batken province was given just 3 pages, and the Karavshin/Ak-Suu area was mentioned in passing in just one paragraph.
Also, it’s the only state in Central Asia with no visas for UK-visitors.
The area is traveled but certainly not well traveled. Seems like enough reasons to me!
What are you aims?
Meet and understand the landscape and people of the Karavshin & Jiptik valleys.
Where will you be staying?
I will probably mostly be camping, though I may do a few homestays in yurts.
Is it easy to get there?
No, it’s a bit of a ballache. Kyrgystan is 90% mountainous, but also, due to the Soviet Union days of Stalin, there are lots of enclaves and exclaves of various different countries in the area… and the main roads go through them. This means that to drive from Osh to Batken, I have to drive round Sohk, and Uzbek enclave (as I don’t have a transit visa), and the avoid the Uzbek border. When I leave Batken for Karavashin, I have to avoid or otherwise pass through the Tajik enclave of Vorukh…. and to go to the Karavashin area, I need a permit allowing me near the border, as it is close to the border with Tajikistan.
And that’s just the access issues.
Actually finding out everything above was also pretty challenging (and perhaps not accurate!). I don’t expect execution to be as simplistic as I explained.
I’m using a local travel company – Karavshin Travel – in Batken to help with a few things, but I’ve no idea how it will play out.
It wouldn’t be adventure travel, if I knew all the variables.
What are the dangers?
Have you done anything like this before?
I’ve a good deal of solo trekking experience in England and Scotland and notably last year I spent 2 weeks backpacking through the northern Sweden, in the Arctic circle
Kyrgyzstan doesn’t speak English, even as a second language, how will you communicate?
The locals may speak Kyrgz, or they may speak Tajik, Uzbek or other central Asian languages.
Kyrgyzstan’s second official language is Russian, a foreign language I scored an A in, many years ago, at GCSE. I don’t speak Russian very well anymore, but I can read/spell out Cyrillic and, with the help of a phrasebook, I expect to be able to make myself understood.
Are you taking a satellite phone?
No. If you want to catchup, drop me message and suggest sometime when we can chat when I’m home!? Catchups are good.
What happens in event of an emergency?
In the event I require assistance, my SPOT satellite device will alert 10 friends/family who will probably then contact my travel company in Batken. They will look at the information available to them and make decisions on that.
Are you scared?
No. What is there to be scared of?
If you buy a car, but are too scared of scratching it to take it out of the garage, then there’s no point having such a nice car.
If you have a nice camera but are so scared of losing it that you refuse to take it to places where you’d want nice photos, then there’s no point having such a nice camera.
If you have a nice life, but you’re so scared of taking calculated risks that you don’t get to have fun, then frankly, what’s the point?
I see the world, not as a world of dangers, but as a world of opportunities.
I’ve written about this in more detail in two blog posts:
Is Google Maps the best maps you have?
Fortunately not. I’m navigating off a 1980 1:200,000 Soviet military map, that I have printed to A2 (each square = 4km), and several fragments of 1:100,000 that cover the same area. You can browse the maps with ease on toppomapper.com.
How bad will your withdrawal symptoms be through lack of internet?
Pretty bad… my hair may start falling out. Oh wait, it already is.
I’m kind of looking forward to it – last October I did 12 days in Sweden without internet.
How much does your rucksack weigh?
18kg (inc camera, ex. water)
What’s in your rucksack?
Surely you don’t need XXXX?
If I didn’t feel it was necessary, I wouldn’t be taking it. We may have to agree that we have different definitions of “necessary”.
What money are you taking?
Kyrgyzstan uses the “som”, which isn’t a very strong currency. I’m taking US dollars and some euros I have left over and am going to change them on arrival.
This doesn’t seem very organised, how long have you been planning this?
About 9-10 days from concept to takeoff.
Basically, I had been mis-counting my holidays, and so when I noticed the end of my holiday year approaching, I did a check, and rather than finding I owed holiday, I found I was owed about 2 weeks of holiday…
At that point, began the rush to find a way to make use of my time. After much thought, this was what I decided on.
This sounds very stressful. Wouldn’t you prefer to sit on a beach somewhere and have a casual beer?
I think by “stressful” you mean “exciting”. Having said that, I love beer and beach holidays as much as anyone else, they’re rarely “exciting” though.
Aren’t you vegetarian? Won’t that be tricky in Kyrgyzstan?
Well, for me, it’s a lot less tricky, as I’ve 22 years experience at it, but it’s true to point out that most Kyrgz recipes start with “first you kill your sheep”.
Being sufficiently polite and respectful is far more a concern for me than starvation – bread is an important part of Kyrgz culture and I’m certain I’ll find something to eat.
Why are you vegetarian?
It’s a long story. 22 years long, and I’ve summarised why in a previous blog post.
What will you be eating?
Whilst I’m in the mountains, I anticipate eating expedition food which I spared no expense in buying from a British supermarket. Food is a strangely polarising subject, and I anticipate no end of criticism for my choice to carry food from the UK.
How long will it take you to get your photos online afterwards?
I anticipate taking 2000-5000 photos, perhaps 2-6 hours video footage. I’d anticipate that only about 5% of that will be of interest to most people. Separating that 5% is time consuming and somewhat draining – 6 hours work in several stages. I’ll get it done, but it’ll take time and energy, both of which I won’t have. Expect a multiweek lag.
Who’s paying for your trip?
I’m entirely self-funded.
Are you receiving support from anyone?
When an alert is raised via this system, the oncall engineer is alerted and/or woken up, and goes and deals with the problem.
I’m very confident in my colleagues, and so, by hooking my call for help into Bytemark systems, my colleagues can help alert my ground-team straight away, so help can be sent straight away.
I’m very grateful for Bytemark’s support on this front – not every organisation would be comfortable with such a thing – so I really appreciate working with people who are happy to watch my back.
Any words of gratitude?
I’d like to thank my family, for their positive outlook on everything. It’s really been a great influence on me.
My awesome girlfriend Clara for happily letting me go off and do my own crazy things, and then happily suggesting we go camping in March in the UK. <!–more pukeworthy comments–>
John Proctor for suggestions and moral support and for his part in the Muzkol 2013 expedition with Jonathan Davey, which partly served as encouragement and inspiration. John’s other climbing buddy, Ed Lemon, also deserves a pint for map assistance.
Anita Wilczynska, my former trekking buddy from Morocco, for moral support & encouragement – it’s appreciated!
My sister & her partner for being part of our safety web – thanks!
My colleagues at work, and the building security guard for putting up with most of Amazon, being delivered to our office, for the past 2 weeks.
Who’s influenced and inspired you?
Jessica Watson, Laura Dekker, Robin Knox-Johnson, Pete Goss, Ellen MacArthur, Mike Perham, Joe Simpson, Tom Allen, Theodora Sutcliffe and Zac Sutcliffe, Alexis Ohanian, Tim Moss
Both sets of grandparents’ own style of epic voyages and casual “jaunts” round unusual places.
Who are you raising money for?
Can I pay for your holiday?
I recommend giving money to your favourite charity instead.