Spotlight - equipment views and reviews from the AK team
Broken bones and student loans
By Jamie Layzell
02, Nov, 2016
From seasons in the Alps to percussion in the Big Smoke, Jamie tells us about his life before Alpkit.
My love for the mountains started at a young age. I had always been hill walking with my dad around Britain and I started skiing at the age of ten. Every year I would sit around excitedly waiting for that week in February when we were off to the slopes, and then be sad for weeks after we got home as the reality sunk in that it was going to be another year until I would be back out there again. I was really lucky that, at a young age, I got to experience some great countries including Norway, Canada and America.
When I was 18, this cycle ended and I took my first opportunity to work in a resort. I hopped on the coach down to Val d'isere where I had managed to get a job as a chalet host. I spent the next few seasons out there riding my board every day, entertaining my guests every night and picking up some decent cooking skills along the way (I also spent a good few weeks not being able to sit down after I broke my coccyx, much to the amusement of everyone around me).
I moved to London to study a modern music degree in percussion, and took a job in a local venue which was great fun. After a while, I found living in the city hard and so spent my student loans getting out to the Alps for ski trips with mates as often as I could. Eventually, I had to get out of the Big Smoke and moved out to the Peak District. I worked as a chef in a small restaurant and spent as much time as possible in the hills. It was at this point that I decided this is what mattered the most to me - so I started taking regular trips to Scotland and Wales to start ticking off some of the famous routes. I started to do more and more scrambling and climbing and began to learn some rope skills. I also love to camp, there is nothing more refreshing than waking up alone in the quiet hills and getting a brew on before a good day walking.
I first heard of Alpkit when living in the Peaks. People would talk about the quality of the kit and the good prices they were selling it at, so when I saw the Alpkit job advertised online I immediately knew that it would be somewhere that I would enjoy working; even the way the ad was written gave off a friendly and relaxed vibe. I had my interview and thankfully I was offered a job!
My hopes for the future are to get an opportunity to cross the Black Cuillin (I was recently stopped by the weather gods) and get back to the Alps - to climb the mountains this time - and maybe in the future even further away and to higher altitudes.