As an author of 17 books (including The Backpacker's Handbook for which he won an award), something of a long distance walking addict and a talented landscape photographer, Chris Townsend can certainly be described as an outdoor enthusiast.

Well qualified indeed for an Expert Interview we think!

Hi Chris, thanks for talking to us. Can we kick off with your worst camping experience?

Using an absorbent open-cell foam pad in a single-skin tent with no vents on a rainy night. The condensation was horrendous. It ran down the walls. The pad soaked it up and so did my sleeping bag. I barely slept. The next day I went home.

This was very early in my camping career and taught me that those seemingly expensive closed cell foam pads had a purpose and that tents need venting. Never again!

I'm sure every camper has gone home early at least once! What about your best camping memory?

There are so many! The most recent is watching a temperature inversion form in Wasdale in the Lake District from a wild camp on the slopes of Great Gable. A thin mist appeared in the valley and then grew into billowing white fog in just a few minutes. Above the sun was setting and the sky was clear. Really spectacular.

We love the Lake District too. Is that your favourite place in the UK?

If forced to choose one it would be the Cairngorms for its vastness, sense of space, wildness and beauty. I've camped here hundreds of times - everywhere from high in the mountains on snow in winter to deep in the forests in the loveliness of autumn. I never tire of it.

What about walks? Do you have a favourite?

For a day out, across the Cairngorm Plateau to Ben Macdui. For a multi-day walk, across the Highlands from coast to coast.

And being an avid photographer, no doubt you have a favourite view?

I'll pick two! Cairn Toul from Ben Macdui in the Cairngorms and the Cuillin from Sgurr na Stri on the Isle of Skye. Both are majestic wild mountain landscapes.

You're well known for your love of the mountains, but are there beaches you like too? We've always thought that some Scottish beaches wouldn't look out of place in the Indian Ocean!

Sandwood Bay in the Northwest Highlands. It's beautiful, wild and remote. You have to walk to get there but it's well worth the effort.

I'll note that one down! What about bucket list experiences? What would you recommend to everyone?

Wild camping in the Scottish Highlands and Islands. There are endless possibilities from beautiful cliff top camps above the ocean to mountain summits and ancient forests.

Good choice. And where are you planning to explore next?

The Northwest Highlands, my second favourite area after the Cairngorms. I always plan on visiting it at least once a year. Also the Lake District where I'm making a film with Terry Abraham.

Is there anywhere else you keep going back to?

The Cairngorms, which are on my doorstep. I'll be camping in the hills the day after writing this!

We're jealous! Any last bits of advice you can share with other walkers?

Be observant and curious. Look around and think about what you see. Everywhere is interesting.

Thanks Chris, we really appreciate your time and look forward to seeing the results of your work with Terry Abraham!

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