Interview – Meet Mark Kelly of Halfwayhike.com

1. Please tell us a little about yourself.

I live in a small village nestled into the West Yorkshire moors area of England.

Mark Kelly of Halfwayhike dot com

I’m a digital marketing consultant, helping clients grow their businesses through online marketing of all kinds. I also advise advertising and marketing agencies on operational management and how best to introduce digital services to their clients.

I’m married with 3 kids, two have flown the nest and the youngest is at univerity just now. When I can I’m up on the hills with my dog Brodie.

2. What was the trigger for starting Halfwayhike.com and what the story behind it?

grand union canal

My love for the outdoors and day-long rambles started as a boy, living next to the Chiltern forest area of southern England. We had two active dogs and I’d spend all day on a Sunday out with my Dad and brother exploring the woods or walking along the Grand Union canal.

My first few years of marriage and family were busy busy times as anyone at that life stage will tell you. So I didn’t really do so much walking, despite having moved into the rural area we live now.

But I got into longer hikes (in the hills around me and also in Scotland, Wales and elsewhere) as a way of getting fit and managing the hereditary high blood pressure (hypertension) I was diagnosed with around 2008.

And I love to take photos and those pictures of the beautiful, sometimes a bit bleak, moors and hills around me needed a home – so the blog was born.

3. How did you discover your passion for hiking and how did it change your life?

hiking benefits

We did a lot of day hikes as a boy and after a career and family-focused break (for many years) I got back into it to get fit again. Sitting in the car on a two hour round-trip commute then lazing in front of the TV all evening will have encouraged the high blood pressure I was eventually diagnosed with.

I guess hiking has changed my life by making me fitter, getting me outside to think through those midlife, empty-nester thoughts that any midlife, empty-nester has. And also in meeting lots of great people (on the hikes / camping trips themselves but also in the blogging community).

4. What is your hiking and outdoors gear of choice?

Jack Wolfskin jacket

It varies with the season but I have a couple of favourite jackets – both Jack Wolfskin – that serve me all year round. We get some some truly horrible wet and snowy weather on the moors in winter and the bigger jacket works really well for that.

I’m on my second pair of Berghaus Boots as I’ve found them to be really comfortable and durable not just o te moors but on rockier mountain walks further afield like Snowdon or Scafell Pike.

5. What are the tools that you recommend for a great hiking experience and what multi tool do you currently use?

Victorinox Swiss Army Explorer Boy Scout Pocket Knife

The only multi tool I have is an old Swiss Army knife. Because I haven’t been out longer than three days on any one hike, I’ve haven’t come across a situation where I need more than it offers.

I have an eye on some longer treks next year (I want to cover some of Britain’s ancient long distance paths), so a more robust tool would probably be a good decision.

 

 

6. What gear do you review on your site?

Mostly clothing but I’ve also looked at some tech.. electronix but also Apps (as I’m a bit of a geek).

clothes

7. What was the most challenging environment that you faced and what gear item helped the most?

Isle of Rum Scotland

That was probably on the Isle of Rum in Scotland.

The mountains there are really rugged so I guess my boots had to be up for that, which they were. I used a Berghaus 60 litre backpack which has lots of stowing options and was well ventilated at the back, that meant I could focus on the high views and stunning vistas rather than feel uncomfortable.

8. tell us about your best hike?

The Ridgeway Trail England

I’ve had some great hikes and it’s hard ro single one out. I think my recent completion of the ancient drovers path in southern England – The Ridgeway Trail – was kind of special as part of it covered my old home territory of the Chiltern Forest,. But it also takes in prehistoric sites like the Avebury Stone Circles and some Iron Age Forts. And it offers great views of the countryside in parts as well as more enclosed old woodland sections.

I did much of that solo which I enjoyed but also had a couple of sections where family and friends joined me – a nice combination.

9. Who is the hiker/adventurer that you follow and appreciate the most?

Rob Lilwall

I enjoy reading what Rob Lilwall and also Alastair Humphreys get up to on their adventures, both have a great writing style. Those two guys are more professional type adventurers but there is also a stack of blogs I like to read by people like me who just enjoying getting out into the hills.

 

10. A message to your readers and fans.

Thanks for reading and hopefully we’ll meet on a trail one day, happy hiking.

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