50 Shades of Hillwalking by Ralph Storer

By Ralph Storer

In 50 wide-ranging stories of experience and misadventure, Ralph Storer takes his traditional quirky examine the ordinary pursuit of messing approximately on mountains. jogging, hiking, mountain cycling, caving… he’s attempted all of it yet admits to services simply within the misplaced artwork of festering. With room additionally for contemplation and argument, his 50 colours will amuse, encourage and inform.

Follow in his footsteps as he roves from the Lake District to the Alps, from Snowdonia to Scandinavia, from the Scottish Highlands to the deserts and canyons of the US. hot to his intrepid exploits of derring-do and not-so-derring-do as he will get snowbound in a tent, will get caught on ice falls and in caves, and falls off mountain motorcycles and sand dunes.

Culled from not-yet-a-lifetime of eclectic escapades either at domestic and overseas, his hugely pleasing stories will resonate with an individual whose aspirations outstrip their ability.

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Tacos fry on a makeshift wood fire. Traders in fur and buckskin sit around chewing the fat and selling Native American artefacts, paintings and trinkets made from various parts of buffalo. There are shooting and axe-throwing contests. Young girls in buckskin dresses run around joyfully. On the shores of Deep Lake No one seems to mind whether you purchase anything or not. This is a re-creation of a lost part of the Wild West and to be there with like-minded enthusiasts is enough. In the evening everyone sits around a huge log fire, chatting and watching the flames.

The trail tackled the cliffs in a series of seemingly interminable switchbacks, beginning with an especially steep section known as Jacob’s Ladder. The miles were long but time passed slowly as lengthening shadows delineated previously unnoticed rock features below. When succeeding bursts of determination seemed to bring me no nearer the top, it became increasingly harder to keep placing one foot in front of the other. Grand Canyon topography distorts perceptions, making the rim seem ever closer but indefinitely unreachable, so few who climb from the bottom are not staggering a little as they near the top.

I was an east coast boy. I reached my teenage years without ever having seen a hill higher than a Lincolnshire Wold. I don’t know why a music teacher with no leadership skills or qualifications would decide (or be allowed) to take a bunch of spotty adolescent schoolboys up Snowdon in the middle of February. Even more puzzling, I don’t know why Dave and I would decide to join his little group. Or why my parents would fork out the princely sum of £14 to cover the week’s train, coach and living expenses, and equip me with boots, anorak and overtrousers from the Army and Navy Stores.

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