Facing Trail Magazine's inquiring assault is Alastair Humphreys, explorer and microadventurer – who talks buttock chafing, Scafell Pike and duck embryos.

Alastair Humphreys

Highest mountain you’ve climbed?
I haven’t climbed anywhere enough mountains, which pains me! The highest I’ve been is near the top of Illimani [a 6438m beast of a mountain in the Bolivian Andes], but I had to turn back when my pal got altitude sickness. 

What’s your nickname?
Al. This interview isn’t going very well so far is it? 

Scafell Pike, Snowdon or Ben Nevis?
That has to be Scafell Pike. I’m English, proud of it, and I love Wasdale. 

Funniest thing you’ve seen on a hill?
A friend getting such bad buttock chafing that he decided to try my facetious suggestion of lubricating with a banana…

Wild camp or posh hotel?
I’ll pick a posh hotel, please! Anyone can wild camp in wonderful, beautiful places any night they choose, so a posh hotel is a more novel and unattainable treat. 

You’re in a pub. What’s on the menu?
Steak and chips! Don’t bother with the veg.

What tastes best on the hill?
Biltong [a style of cured meat that originated in South Africa]. 

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever eaten?
That’s got to be balut in the Philippines [a developing duck embryo that’s boiled alive and eaten in the shell].

Weirdest place you’ve slept?
Sewage pipes on three different continents. 

Who’s your mountaineering hero?
Felice Benuzzi [Italian prisoner of war who in 1943 escaped captivity to climb Mt Kenya], or Mark Twight [American alpinist] because his Kiss or Kill was one of my formative books.

Celeb you’d most like to share a tent with?
Bruce Springsteen. I’m intrigued by anyone who keeps their passion, quality of output and integrity over a long career.

When were you last naked outdoors?
Yesterday – and I will be again tomorrow.

Who would star in a movie about your life?
I’d like to say Brad Pitt, but more people think I look like Boris Johnson. 

Who’s your most famous friend?
I hate people being ‘famous’. I do loads of talks in schools and kids often ask if I’m famous or a celebrity. Yuk!

Have you ever Googled yourself?
Alas, yes.

How much is a pint of tea at Pete’s Eats?
The last few times I’ve been there I’ve managed to dodge the bill! 

Your ultimate mountain day in three words…Sunrise. Swim. Mates.

Alastair Humphreys is an adventurer, blogger, author, motivational speaker and National Geographic Adventurer of the Year whose travels have taken him to almost half the countries on Earth. Follow his adventures at

This interview first appeared in the August 2014 edition of Trail Magazine