I am Andrew, an Australian and I turned 70 in 2019. I retired from continuous work in 2018. My professional area of work was in information technology.

I have enjoyed a full life to date and my health has generally been good. I was a keen squash player from about 22 to 45, stopping when a back injury made squash impossible.

I got into competitive sailing in my 30s and enjoyed the technical and physical aspects of that. The classes I sailed were classified as dinghies about 4.3m hull length and with a sail area of 9 m2.

Another interest is in amateur (“ham”) radio. Far from the spoof performed by Tony Hancock (dec) showing ham radio as something mysterious and pointless carried out by strange people talking strange lingo and jargon, the ham radio I’ve been interested in almost all of my life has been a technical hobby, in which technical and mathematics skills are very useful and where social skills are highly valuable. So it was an interesting development when the summits on the air (sota) programme was devised by two English radio amateurs in approx 2002. SOTA has taken me to some parts of Australia that were new to me, helped me to enjoy bushwalking either solo or in the company of friends who are experienced in planning, navigation, bushcraft and radio. I first activated a summit in February 2013 when the programme came to Canberra. By June 2019 I had operated from (activated) about 80 different summits in Australia and one in the UK in 2016.

Health issues started to emerge in my 60s. The exposure to the sun while sailing was probably the cause of the melanoma found on an ear lobe in 2011. It was removed successfully without any recurrence.

In about 2015 at age 65 I went to the hospital after work due to feeling chest pains. After checking my blood and monitoring me for several hours including an ECG they discharged me as there was nothing detected that could cause the pains.

In 2017 the chest pains returned, this time in the form of a pressure across the chest and discomfort after walking about 750m one morning. By the end of the day more tests and an angiogram revealed that I had three blocked coronal arteries and a bypass operation was necessary.

After the operation I was told by doctors that my active life had meant that my heart itself was in good condition. So they told me to “go back to whatever you have been doing as it is good for you”. OK I can do that!

That is the background to my interest in walking, sometimes with a backpack full of radio equipment and heading up a hill.

That is also why in August 2019 I embarked on a walking event known as the Camino de Santiago.