Pete Buckley

Pete Buckley:

Just featured on the very wonderful Reading Recommendations – check out all the other indie authors over there too…

Originally posted on Reading Recommendations:

Pete Buckley Author PhotoPete Buckley

What is your latest release and what genre is it?The Colonel of Krasnoyarsk (adventure thriller)

Quick description: When Russian Agent Yuri Medev is dispatched to New York City from his Siberian base to track down an evil crime boss known only as Nikovich, a chance meeting with beautiful young dance student Juli Regan and the discovery of murdered FBI Agent Martin Eisel, begin a manhunt across four states that leads only to a new mystery and an unexpected alliance with Eisels’s former partner.

The Colonel of Krasnoyarsk e-book cover

Brief biography:
I’m Pete Buckley and I’m the UK based indie author of The Colonel of Krasnoyarsk which is my first novel. I am currently working on the next Yuri Medev adventure, provisionally titled The Kirov Conspiracy due for release early in 2015. Previously I wrote a couple of travel stories about various wonderful places such as New Zealand and the Swiss Alps. Aside…

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Why I Love Being Indie

A few years ago arriving home after a month long trip around New Zealand, it occurred to me that the story of that trip would make the kind of travel and adventure story I had always liked to read in the past. If I’d enjoyed the trip as much as I had then perhaps other people would enjoy reading about it too so after much hard work going through photographs andThe Colonel of Krasnoyarsk e-book cover some very slow typing, I had a finished story that I was fairly happy with. Okay it was not the greatest book ever but it was a fun, easy read that did remind me of those travellers’ tales I had enjoyed so much and more importantly; other people liked it too.

I never went down the route of sending manuscripts off to major publishing houses; instead opting to “self publish” which meant that my books were available for people to read right away instead of sitting in dusty unread piles like the mountains of tapes and CD’s I used to see in record company offices. I had become one of a new breed called the indie author. There are downsides of course – just have a look at part one of Christina’s post in the link below – but on the bright side the freedom is there to write about what you are inspired by without feeling the pressure of deadlines – though the self imposed deadlines are probably even tougher to meet and can result in more than a few late nights!

Probably the best thing about this though is being part a growing community of like minded people – just check out #IndieBooksBeSeen – and doing posts like this which is a new thing to me. Today I’m working with characters who continue to inspire me in the Yuri Medev series of adventure thrillers which began with  The Colonel of Krasnoyarsk  while the second story The Kirov Conspiracy  is coming soon.

Here’s the link to that post about the downside of being indie while here’s a couple of links to say Hi or get hold of my books…

Twitter @YuriMedevAuthor

Amazon Author Central

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The Mountain and the South Ridge of Snowdon

I have climbed Snowdon many times and in all kinds of weather but I have to say that this fine autumn day at the end of October was one of the best days out I’ve had on the highest peak in Wales. The route too – that from Rhyd Ddu – shows a side of the mountain different in character from the Llanberis path or the rough and often busy trails from Pen y Pass. On this occasion I opted to follow the South Ridge up and descend by the usual Rhyd Ddu path.

A very worthwile diversion was the ascent of the peak of Yr Aran before heading up the South Ridge. The name means “The Mountain” and it is an impressive peak when seen across the waters of Llyn Gwynant. The route I took roughly follows that shown on the map {faint paths in places – pathless in others) and avoids the crags leading to a clear path up a fine ridge to one of the best summit views in Snowdonia! I had Yr Aran to myself before returning to the col below the South Ridge. A good path branches down to the left and crosses the steep northern slopes.

The South Ridge is probably my favorite way up Snowdon – though that via Y Lliwedd is a close second. This is a quiet, easy and gentle route with one straightforward scramble to add a bit of excitement before crossing the airy ridge of Bwlch Main to reach the familiar summit pyramid. A good path leads across here and while the view down is awesome there are no difficulties if you stay on it.

For the return I recrossed Bwlch Main and descended by the Rhyd Ddu path to my start point. There is now a clear sign post where the two routes diverge and a description of this route can be found by following the above link.

rhyd ddu path snowdon

Here it’s straight on towards Yr Aran and the South Ridge. Left is the Rhyd Ddu path down which we will return to this point

moel hebog near beddgelert

Looking south to Moel Hebog from the summit of Yr Aran

snowdon from Yr Aran

The southern side of Snowdon from the summit of Yr Aran. The route lies directly up the facing ridge to the summit on the left

views of snowdonia

The lower part of the South Ridge lies through this open tussock country with views out towards the Irish Sea

snowdonia views

Looking back down the South Ridge from the approach to the summit with Moel Hebog in the distance

climbing snowdon from rhydd ddu

The arete of Bwlch Main is narrow and airy but is crossed by a good path that avoids any difficulties like those found on nearby Crib Goch

Crib Goch in mist

The eastern part of the Glyderau and the ridge of Crib Goch seen from the summit of Snowdon

Glyders and Carneddau

Looking over Crib y Ddysgl and the glyders to Carnedd Dafydd from the summit of Snowdon

Snowdon Map

The map shows the approximate route taken with the loop being done in an anti clockwise direction. The route as followed was 15.5km or just under 10 miles long and involved 1140m of ascent.

 

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The Twin Peaks of Crianlarich

On Several occasions whilst heading north towards Ben Nevis and Glencoe I have passed the twin peaks of Ben More and Stobinian and decided I must climb them at some stage though It wasn’t until ecently that I put my words into action and set out to finally explore the two Munros. The peaks rise over 1000m above Strath Fillan and Glen Dochart and it was from Benmore Farm in the latter glen not far from Crianlarich that I made my ascent.

Just before the farm (heading towards Crianlarich) there is plenty of roadside parking and a path is signed through the hedge and trees to join a zig zag track leading left up the hillside. After going under the power line and passing through a gate higher up, a faint path leads off up the steep slope to the left. The path fades in and out of existence as it climbs steeply-sloping boggy terrain which is hard going at times but as height is gained the route improves and the ground becomes drier. Besides – the views across the Highlands improve steadily as you get higher and compensate amply for any hardship encountered lower down. The upper section where the ridge becomes rockier and more pronounced is a delight to climb without being difficult. After a false summit and an easy section the cairn and trig point on the summit of Ben More are reached with the view to the marginally lower Stobinian beyond.

start of the ben more path

The viiew from where the path to Ben More leaves the farm track

crianlarich hills from ben more

Looking north westwards into the wild landscape of the Highlands from the upper part of the ridge

just below the summit of ben more

The top of the ridge was fun but not difficult – Loch Iubhair and the view along Glen Dochart towards Killin and Loch Tay

stobinian from ben more

The views became transient as the cloud base was reached on the summit of Ben More at 1174m. Looking across to the second peak – Stobinian which is slightly lower at 1165m

The route between Ben More and Stobinian is easy to follow being on a good path all the way with a couple of short rocky steps down from the summit of the first Munro. The harder one can be avoided. The route involves a descent to 800m and consequently a climb of over 300m to Stobinian. Thankfully I was told about a route that was in neither my guidebooks nor marked on my map that descends from the bealach or col so saving re-climbing Ben More. It is a little wet in places with odd sections of bush whacking as it descends steeply to pick up a path and eventually the track I started out on. To find the start of the path descend by the prominent large boulder on the bealach and go straight down the western side – the path initially follows the burn or stream itself before descending to the left of it into the wild Benmore Glen.

wild glen above glen dochart

The wild country on the eastern side of the ridge from the approach to the summit of Stobinian.

the trossachs from stobinian

The view south from Stobinian over the region known as the Trossachs

view from stobinian

Looking back to Ben More from Stobinian. The weather had improved by this stage. Anyone spot the very subtle photobomb here?

wild highland glen

The wild and remote feeling Benmore Glen which marks the route back to the road


As I write this there is a rather important referendum taking place that will determine the future relationship between the great nation of Scotland and my own country England. Whatever the outcome I hope that it’s the right one for the long term future of the people. I have always believed though that problems – which can include certain very unpopular individuals in London – are best confronted when we stand shoulder to shoulder.

Pete Buckley September 18 2014
Join me on Twitter @YuriMedevAuthor

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A Ride over Rannoch Moor

The isolation here is so great that I could well wonder whether the world I came from still exists outside of it. The eternal unchanging landscape rolls away in every direction oblivious to my presence. Somewhere on the lower slopes of that far off mountain range is a small tent that represents home at the moment and if anything happened to my trusty two wheeled steed that carried me here it would take all day – perhaps longer – to walk there…

Rannoch Moor

One really does get the impression of complete isolation out here

I had left the ski centre at Glencoe Mountain – which is actually closer to Glen Etive than Glencoe – and ridden down to the Kingshouse Hotel along the West Highland Way path. Turning to the East on a track signed Rannoch I had left that well trodden route to ride past the Black Corries Lodge which lies in the middle of Rannoch Moor. The place has a strangely sinister air – the name brought to mind the Black Lodge in Twin Peaks and the eight foot fence and dense screen of trees suggested secrecy afoot though it was probably just a deer fence. Beyond the lodge the track led further into a wilderness of heather moor and bog cotton and the route; though far from flat, climbed no major hills instead climbing in an undulating fashion from Kingshouse at about 240m to numerous high points of around 360m behind the Lodge and close to where I now was.

Beyond where I now stood, the track ran out and a faint boggy path ran on over the grasslands towards Rannoch Station but in the absence of any urgency or a train to catch this was as far as I would come today – somewhere in Perthshire just north of Loch Laidon, which was visible over the moor. The last section to Rannoch would be much slower without a hard surface but I did have something to look forward to – the long haul up to the Black Corries was to be a fast and exhilarating downhill ride in the other direction.

bike track over rannoch

The way home

Crianlarich hills from rannoch

A small lake by the side of the track with views to the Crianlarich Hills to the South

Blackmount and glen etive

Looking to Glen Etive from the path past the Black Corries Lodge

the track at kingshouse

Almost back at Kingshouse and the weather is coming in over the Buachaille Etive Mor

The photos are taken heading back down the trail towards Kingshouse where it rejoins the West Highland Way. My way here led left and back up the hill to the ski centre… straight on would take the traveller to Kinlochleven.

Pete Buckley Aug 2014
Join me on Twitter @YuriMedevAuthor

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Summer at Glencoe Mountain

The Plateau Cafe – despite being closed – served as a kind of advanced base camp today; its walls giving some shelter from the rain bearing westerly winds that swept across the Highlands from the North Atlantic. I had walked up a trail that doubles as one of the downhill mountain bike tracks from the Glencoe Mountain Resort aka Glencoe Ski Centre in somewhat better conditions but I was now debating whether or not to carry on.

The aim had been to climb the Munro called Meall a Bhuiridh – the highpoint of the Blackmount range southeast of Glencoe – before crossing a short high ridge to ascend Creise – a second Munro – and Clach Leathad but the weather was suggesting that the Kingshouse pub would make a better choice. My current indecision resulted in having an early lunch on the lee side of the building and by the time I had finished the weather seemed to have abated a little so I took the decision – as is common in the mountains in dubious conditions – to go up and see.

I was surprised that there was no clear path or indication of the route on a peak with chairlift access to over 2000 feet but the way looked obvious enough. Beyond the base of the nearby ski tow a half collapsed bridge led over the river and a faint path was picked up that climbed a grassy rib ahead. It was an easy way up and most of the crags lay over to the left where a vast gully split the mountain below a mid-way hut visible above – the top of one of the ski tows. Above that cloud cloaked the mountain and hid the route though the map showed the easier ground to be up to the right or west. As I climbed the route became more interesting; heading up the side of a narrow gully above a stream that cascaded down out of the mist. Keeping on the left of the stream was easier and I reached the midway hut sooner than expected.

Here the route of a ski run climbed gradually to the right and crossed onto grassy slopes that made the broad north ridge of Meall a Bhuiridh. This way avoids all crags and the much bigger gully I’d seen earlier – probably best when you can’t see the route ahead too far. Heading onto the western side of the mountain brought me back into the wind again and with the path fading in and out I climbed to the left up the wide undefined ridge. On up through rockier ground and finally more steeply but on a clearer path up a long slope of shale and stones in steadily deteriorating conditions. It was now cold too and visibility was down to ten metres – this incidentally is why there are no photos of the upper of the route – I was not actually in the Kingshouse as some may be thinking.

Out of the storm a sign announced one word “Danger” this was to ensure skiers turned here and did not continue over the edge and plummet out of control into the corrie on the west of the peak.  Then there was a cairn and the path stopped going up. I had climbed my Munro but would be going no further today. The height was 1108m – 3636ft – and the temperature seven degrees C (45F) though it felt much colder in the wind and driving rain. The path I would have taken headed right down a narrow ridge while leftwards just beyond the summit and slightly lower was the top of the ski tows in a stony hollow. I suppose it all looks a bit smoother when it’s covered in snow. Back down it was then in horizontal rain and gale force winds to the Glencoe ski centre where there was at least a semblance that it was still August and not November.

Above Glencoe ski centre

Looking back down the lower part of the trail to Buachaille Etive Mor and the upper part of Glencoe

view of rannoch moor from the blackmount

Looking out across Rannoch Moor while the weather was still clear

glencoe mountain chairlift

The top of the chairlift at Glencoe – the lift operates through the summer for hikers and mountain bikers

way up meall a bhuiridh

The way to the summit lies up the rib between the two obvious rivers. The mid level hut is visible near the top of the picture

The scene of my deliberations was a forlorn looking spot in the rain

The scene of my deliberations was a forlorn looking spot in the rain

On a nice day this would be a pleasant and fairly easy ascent – easier still if you use the chairlift – of 9km (just under six miles return) from the ski centre car park or in my case from my tent. Today it was still 9km but it seemed a lot further. The photos are from the part of the route where I still had a view. As for the ski Centre, the car park is free and there’s a cafe that serves reasonably priced food. They also hire mountain bikes for those brave enough (not me) to tackle the downhill runs!

Pete Buckley Aug 2014 now also on Twitter @YuriMedevAuthor

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A Moment on the Trail to Engelberg

jochpass to engelberg

Looking down from the Jochpass at 2207m to Truebsee and the valley of Engelberg beyond

The early evening air is calm and the weather benign as I rest on the soft turf by the summit of the pass. Across the valley jagged mountains rise through the billowing clouds that seem almost as solid as the grey stone of the peaks themselves while a great distance below them the meadows and forests of the valley form a dappled green carpet. In the blue distance the lowlands of Central Switzerland hide somewhere beyond the end of the mountains while nearer at hand and perhaps a thousand or so feet below me was another small lake set in the hillside like a blue-green jewel. No sounds from below invaded this high world other than the faint wind-like sigh of the chairlift cables whose topmost tower was just below where I sat.

It had been a walk through some idyllic mountain terrain in near perfect conditions along the wide easy trail from the hamlet of Engstlenalp by the shores of the alpine tarn of Engstlensee and up to the Jochpass where I now rested. Ahead the path descended to the left below the steep rocks of the crest and continued at an easier angle down through the alpine meadows to the lake which my map revealed to be named Truebsee. This was my route; I would then hop on the gondola to continue to Engelberg which was still four thousand feet below me so avoiding a walk in the dark. Well I would soon; this was my last day in the high mountains and I felt a strong reluctance to leave…

alpine village of Engstlenalp

The alpine village of Engstlenalp is situated in beautiful surroundings at the end of the road from Meiringen and Innertkirchen

Titlis in the central swiss alps

The trail to Jochpass runs beside the tarn of Engstensee at 1850m. Jochpass is on the left and the peak of Titlis (3238m) up ahead

Truebsee Engelberg

Approaching the idyllic lake of Truebsee which is situated above Engelberg at an altitude of 1754m

Alpine lake above engelberg

If I didn’t want to leave Jochpass then Truebsee was even more of a challenge

engelberg truebsee gondola

Engelberg finally came into view from just beyond Truebsee still a long way below – the gondola was a good idea.

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