The Lockdown Q&A – #1: Adele Pennington

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As we all continue to live with restrictions on our outdoor activities, we talk to some of the world’s best mountaineers and mountain athletes about what they are doing to stay fit and focused during the Covid crisis. First up, we talk to one of Britain’s most successful high altitude mountaineers, Adele Pennington…

Where are you, and with whom, during lockdown?
Luckily, I was at home in a beautiful place called Corpach which is three miles to the west of Fort William in the West Highlands of Scotland when lockdown started. I live on my own here but have many close friends nearby and a very supportive community.

Are you able to get out into the hills/mountains/outdoors, or are you restricted to your home and immediate vicinity?
We have been restricted to exercise from home for which I am very fortunate and can road bike, mountain bike and walk straight from my front door. There are a few small grassy hills which I feel are justifiable to walk up but for now the larger mountains which still have snow on them are out of bounds.

Are you training/exercising at home, and if so, how?
I have always struggled with indoor exercise but do have a bike turbo but luckily have not needed to use it as the weather has been superb. I keep thinking I should enrol on an online fitness class but I know myself too well in that I would start it for a day or two and then it would fall by the wayside, a bit like gym memberships I have had in the past. I do have many Covid -19 projects though, one of which is building a climbing wall on my garage wall (work in progress), repairing my garage roof and building a fence which have kept me active at home.

What are you looking forward to most when restrictions are lifted?
After hugging my close friends and family I cannot wait to touch dry rock and climb a long mountain route close to home. I have many plans in place for future adventures in Scotland but as soon as the restrictions are lifted I will take myself up Tower Ridge on Ben Nevis which is one of my favourite summer and winter routes.

Name a book and/or film you’d recommend to help keep our readers motivated/entertained during lockdown?
Not being a devoted book reader except for climbing guide books I have found a liking for free audio books which I can listen to whilst wandering around on my daily exercise regime. I got engrossed in a thriller called ‘Cold Shoulder’ by Lynda La Plante. For  a film my favourite has to be ‘What we did on our Holiday’, written and directed by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin, which is a poignant British comedy with the actor/comedian Billy Connolly as the main character.

How do you anticipate the Covid-19 situation affecting your future plans and activities, and what changes do you think you’ll need to make? 
The Covid-19 situation has had a massive affect on my work as a mountaineering instructor and expedition leader. I have had to cancel an expedition to climb Batian on Mt Kenya by the North Face route with clients and my expedition to Mt Kasbeck working for Jagged Globe has also been postponed. Many of my work trips to the Cuillin’s on the Isle of Skye have also had to be deferred. At the moment I am working on how I can carry out my work with social distance and use suitable face coverings in the mountain environment to keep myself and my clients safe. My own personal climbing trips are also on hold but it doesn’t stop me from planning and as soon as we can return to the mountains I have a project that I’m holding close to my chest that I am eager to start if I am unable to work but can climb with a friend.

Adele keeping busy with roof repairs, with the mountains tantalisingly close


Can you supply a photo of either a) you keeping busy at home during the lockdown or b) in the mountains during happier times, and describe the image in a few words?
Repairing my garage roof with Stob Bàn, Fort William and Loch Linnhe in view.

Find out more about Adele at

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