2011 Writing and Photo Competitions Results

We are pleased to announce the results of our 2011 Travel Writing and Photography competitions, with �1,900 of prizes. We are delighted with the quality and imagination of the entries, and thank all entrants for their participation.

Travel Writing

We received a large number of very good pieces, which made selection of the winners difficult. Each of the judges had a different favourite, and three entrants were tied for second place.

There were several multiple entrants, including Liz Cleere (a winner), Eithne Nightingale, who was shortlisted, and Simon Andrewes, whose excellent pieces are referred to below. We also had people entering both the writing and the photography competitions.

Three entries were about the Inca Trail (not bad for a single path), and three each for Scotland and Wales; two each were about India, Beijing and about non-walkers’ sufferings in the Lake District on our shortlist; and many were set in cities as different as Jaipur, Beijing, Edinburgh and Milan.

And a couple of generalizations to be drawn: as if we didn’t know, mountain make you poetic; and cities make for great walking.

The winner is Jean McNeil, for her beautifully written, imaginative piece, The Skeleton Coast, about her 5 day, 150km trek in the Namib desert. She will receive a Daunt Books book token worth �500. (Jean was also shortlisted for our photography prize.)

Three entrants tied for the �200 runner-up prize. They were all excellent, but very different: we have decided to add another �100 to the prize money on offer, and award them �100 each. They are:

  • Liz Cleere, for her interesting, atmospheric Pink City Detours about her walk in Jaipur’s old city
  • Christine Genovese, for The Pilgrims’ Trail, her poetic account of crossing the treacherous tidal sands from Bec d’Antoine to Mont St Michel; and 
  • Victoria McGee, for The Climb, her amusing coping-with-adversity tale of a non-walker’s climb to the UK Lake District’s Helvellyn mass and then her grapple with the vertiginous Swirral Edge.


The �200 prize for the best under-18 entry went to Hannah Middlebrook, for Oh Shenandoah, her walk on the Stony Man trail in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. 


The rest of the shortlist:  here are the other pieces on our shortlist, which were all excellence, despite missing out on a prize.

  • Simon Darvell, for Dead Woman’s Pass, his account of climbing to the eponymous pass on the fabulous Inca trail
  • Abigail Latham, for Crevasses and Ice Caves, Franz Joseph Glacier Hike. (Abigail was also runner-up in our Photography Competition.)
  • Arpa Mukhopadhyay, for Maheran: a Forest on the Hilltop, a delightful account of his excitement at his first “real” walk around a hill station near Mumbai
  • Eithne Nightingale for My White Lady, her midnight walk through the throes of Carnival opening at Trinidad’s Port of Spain. (Eithne deserves a special place of honour for having three pieces on our short and long lists.)
  • Silja Swaby, for Hell’s Bells, her entertaining struggle up the UK Lake District’s Catbells; and
  • Christopher Suckling, for Inverie to Glenfinnan his tale of a magical walk on Scotland’s Knoydart peninsula.

Click here to see all these pieces

The winning First Story charity entries were:

  • the winner (�200 prize), Louis Krommenhoek, for his imaginative Louis’ Story, about a five year old’s journey through his house to meet what he thought would be Father Christmas; and
  • the runner-up, Suedi Mohamed, for her lovely piece, A Walk Through the Forest, about a strange meeting in a magical woodland. She wins �100.

We were also so impressed by Finn Weldin’s piece, A walk Down Death Row, that, although it was too much a work of imagination to qualify for the competition, it deserves special mention, and we are giving it a special �50 award for excellence.

Click here to see all these pieces

The excellent First Story charity was set up to nurture and inspire creativity, literacy and talent in British schools. See www.firststory.org.uk.


Some other favourites:  here are some other pieces which particularly caught our eye. Great writing!

  • Ley-Leng Ang, for Lion City, Southern Ridges, her description of stepping into the jungle of the parks and ridges of south west Singapore
  • Simon Andrewes, for both The Inca Trail and Inti Punku, respectively the thrilling climb to Machu Picchu and a cloud-thwarted panorama
  • DJ Gallivan, for A Wonderful Walk in the Welsh Wilderness, his entertaining wander through Craig Cefn Parc in south Wales
  • Sharon Gibbs, for Walking With Authority, her account of a thought-provoking walk beneath giant Californian Redwoods
  • Michael Harrison, for Walk to the End of the World, his gripping tale of a weather assailed trek on Scotland’s Isle of Skye
  • Richard Lakin, for A Walk in the Woods: Epping Forest, delighting in his walk through gnarled Epping Forest, within touching distance of London
  • Helen Moat, for The Gift, her poetic tale of being drawn along Wainwright’s glorious Coast to Coast
  • Eithne Nightingale, for In the Holy City of Sanliurfa and Back Streets of Beijing, a bazaar in south-east Turkey and the not dissimilar hutongs of China’s capital
  • Maureen Nisbet, for Black to Nature, her account of the Durham coast’s return to nature, along the cliff path from Blackhall
  • Kit Perkins, for Oates So Sinful?, his entertaining description of following a geocache memorial trail for Captain Oates’ ultimately fatal South Pole expedition, in Leeds
  • Martin Sweeney, for Snowdon’s Rewards, his demanding climb of Wales’ flagship peak in capricious, howling weather
  • Marilynn Wallace, for Sunday in the Park in Beijing, her tale of meandering through culture centuries of culture in historic Jinshan Park
  • Helen Watson, for A 19th Birthday Present, her eerie solo walk on haunted Stewart Island, New Zealand
  • Simon Whaley, for Seven Day Wonder, his account of 7 disparate events that made Scotland’s West Highland Way so memorable, and
  • John Woodcock, for Life-Changing BMW Walk, his entertaining piece on a momentous walk along the Bradford Millennium Way.

Other entrants – we have not been able to mention here all the pieces we enjoyed, but we will be including many entries on Walkopedia where they relate to what look like “walks” as walkers would know them.

All the above pieces, and other entries we liked, will be given a permanent place on Walkopedia, although we are currently dealing with a technical problem and will have to wait for that to be resolved, so this will take some time. So, come back here, or search Walkopedia for the relevant walk, in a month or so, and you should find your piece!


Again, we struggled to decide a winner among some great entries, not least because of their huge variety – from a dusty dawn road in India to the pristine beauty of New Zealand’s Tongariro Crossing in winter, to the flatness of the Namib desert, to a hawthorn tunnel in Wales.

Brahmaputra River

Winner:  Jamie Furlong, for Early Morning Herding, his hugely atmospheric picture of an early morning track on Majuli Island in India’s Brahmaputra River. He will receive �400.

Runner-up:  Abigail Latham, for her arresting image of New Zealand’s Tongariro Crossing in winter, from the Red Crater down toward the Emerald Lake. (Abigail also has the distinction of being on the long list for our Travel Writing Competition.) She will receive �200.

Other favourites: the other photos on our shortlist, by Anne Patterson, Fabio Tomasetta and Jean McNeil, and other pictures we particularly liked, by Jackie Bond and Bernard Koh, deserve special mention and are shown on our dedicated page.

Click here to see all these photos


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