Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Douglas Mawson on Twitter

The diary entries of polar exlorer Sir Douglas Mawson can now be read on Twitter, one hundred years afer the Australian set out to explore Antarctica's King George V Land. The Tasmanian Department of Economic Development and Tourism, as part of Antarctic Centennial Year, is doing the tweeting. Given though that Mawson was a prolific diary writer it must a challenge to distill his words down to 140 characters. At this stage the expedition is still loading supplies in London.

The publishing of old diaries on Twitter is hardly a new idea as Captain Scott's
appeared back in 2009. However,
there is a Mawson link with communication technology as he was involved in establishing the first Antarctic wireless radio connection, linking Hobart via a radio relay station established at Wireless Hill on Macquarie Island.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Colin Kirkus

An excellent profile of the rock-climber Colin Kirkus recently appeared on the Footless Crow blog. It tells the story of how the clerk from a Liverpool insurance office "strode like a Colossus across the British climbing scene", putting up a series of hard routes during the late1920s and early-1930s, However, after a fatal accident on Ben Nevis in 1934 in which he was seriously injured and his climbing partner, Maurice Linnell, died, Kirkus never fully recovered - both physically or the urge to create new lines.

I always wanted to include a piece about Colin Kirkus in the Guardian Book of Mountains, particularly a review of his 1941 book, Let's Go Climbing! Alas, the paper didn't cover it. On a more sombre note, on April 2 1934 it carried a detailed report of the Ben Nevis accident and on April 20, an interview with him. (click on images to enlarge)