Following a request from the Editor, asking if I’d be able to write a version of “Stranded at the Hut” or if I knew anyone who could, I’ve been coerced into putting fingers to the keyboard again because there are obviously people out there who have forgotten that I triggered the whole thing off (I think) with “If I Could Only Keep 5 Books” published in the January 2014 Newsletter! To save you delving through your precious collection of old Newsletters (you surely don’t throw them away do you!) I’ll give a quick recap of what my choices were, before trying to start another thread. In no particular order my best mountain reads / photo books were:
- Gordon Stainforth “The Cuillin”
- Colin Prior “Highland Wilderness”
- Van Greaves “Mountain Magic”
- W.A. Poucher “Wales”
- Eric Ashby “Great Ascents: a Narrative History of Mountaineering”
- Ken Wilson & Richard Gilbert “The Big Walks”
- Galen Rowell “Poles Apart: Parallel Visions of the Arctic & Antarctic”
- Reader’s Digest “Antarctica: Great Stories of the Frozen Continent”
I know there are more than 5 books there but the idea morphed into a kind of ‘Desert Island Reads’, which Ken Priest turned into ‘Stranded at the Hut’ in the October 2015 Newsletter.
So if I can’t do the books again, what other possibilities are there? Two immediately spring to mind.
If I were stranded in deep snow at the Hut, unable to get out to either Beddgelert or Capel Curig, what 10 beers would I like to have with me for comfort and delectation? My taste buds are salivating as I think of the prospect! Well here they are:
- McEwan’s “Champion” [7.3%]
- Bathams “Best Bitter” [4.3%]
- Brew Dog “Punk I.P.A.” [5.6%]
- Badger “Golden Glory” Blonde Ale [5%]
- Aecht Schlenkeria “Rauchbier” [5.1%]
- Chimay Trappistes “Bleue” [9%]
- Cottage Brewery “Norman’s Conquest” [7%]
- Theakson “Old Perculier” [5.6%]
- Young’s “Double Chocolate Stout” [5.2%]
- Thornbridge “Jaipur India Pale Ale” [5.9%]
But that’s got nothing to do with mountaineering I hear some of you murmuring! Maybe not but have you got any better suggestions that I should try?
The 2nd list is very much to do with the hills, however. It’s reflecting on what to climb if you had your time over again! Imagine you were young and fit again – you hopefully are at the very minute, but it maybe, like me you are getting older & more decrepit . Which 10 mountaineering trips or expeditions that you have done in your life would you repeat if you were given the chance to do just ten? Hard, isn’t it?! Well I’ve struggled for all of 30 minutes and here is my “Must Do Again Ten”.
- Ben Nevis via Carn Mor Dearg arête – ideally in sunny winter conditions like we’ve just had.
- The Snowdon Horseshoe – obvious choice really!
- Braeriach to The Devil’s Point and back to the Sugarbowl car park via the Lairig Ghru.
- The Skye Ridge - I’ve never done all of this in one go and I’m still not sure I’d want to; it’s just too good to have to rush!
- Suilven - great walk in, great on the top - & I could check on the geocache I placed on its summit.
- Elbrus – I keep coming back to this as probably the best (most enjoyable?) major WBMC trip I’ve been on.
- Kilimanjaro – for the fantastic African guides & porters and the amazing vegetation zones.
- N. Ridge of Tryfan, Bristly Ridge & across the Glyders to finish on Y Garn.
- I’ve not done much in the Alps but a great solo day I remember was from Seefeld in Austria when I did the traverse of the Hohe Munde. Very narrow in places with hard hanging snowfields in places and I hadn’t got crampons or ice axe. I discovered later someone had died on it the previous week.
- For an isolated Scottish Munro I can’t make my mind up between Ben Alligin & its Horns, the Slioch and its NE Top, An Teallach or Conival to Ben More Assynt South Top.
No room for the Nantlle Ridge, nothing in the Lakes either! Maybe I need to think more deeply!
And a 3rd list now springs to mind! What is your “Mountaineering Bucket List” - your final mountaineering ‘must-do’s’ or targets. You can be as ambitious, or over-ambitious, as you like I suppose.... but Mount Everest? Really! I’ll have to go away, drink those beers and start my mind dreaming. Perhaps you’ll read about these wistful dreams in another Newsletter.