Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Climbing Days

Climbing Days, by Dan Richards, is an exploration of the writing and climbing feats of his great great aunt and uncle Dorothy Pilley and IA Richards. The book borrows its title from Dorothy’s own 1935 memoir Climbing Days which chronicled the pair’s pioneering climbs during the 1920s - including the first ascent of the North Ridge of Dent Blanche.

While vaguely aware of his relations’ reputation - IAR was an influential 20th century literary figure - it wasn’t until Dan came across Pilley’s writing that he discovered the extent of their climbing achievements.

Rather than a conventional biography, the book is Dan’s attempt to understand the pair by retracing some of their steps. He travels to Wales, the Lake District, and learns to climb himself in order to make an ascent of the Dent Blanche.

This is a highly enjoyable book, full of fascinating detail, that has sent me off in search of the original. Read how reviewers greeted it back in 1935.

Manchester Guardian, 29 May 1935.

An advert for the book appeared in the Observer on 19 May 1935.

Observer, 19 May 1935.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Breca Buttermere swimrun

At the beginning of July, along with teammate Calum Hudson, I took part in Breca Buttermere, one of the most gruelling swimruns in the calendar. It comprises of around 40km of fell running and 6km of swimming across the western fells and lakes of the English Lake District. It was a long, but brilliant, day and a report can be read on the Guardian running blog.

Despite everyone telling me to travel as lightly as possible, I carried a camera round the course - if only to capture the bizarre sight of people running across mountains wearing only a wetsuit and swimming hat. 

Climbing Low Bank after swimming across Crummock Water. Picture: Richard Nelsson

Calum Hudson. Picture: Richard Nelsson

Climbing Low Bank. Picture: Richard Nelsson