Friday, 26 November 2010

Bodmin Moor and the Himalaya

Since the summer, the only high point has been Rough Tor on Bodmin Moor, while on holiday down in Cornwall.  Not particularly high, and only 40 minutes walk from the car park, up an easy grassy slope.   What a playground, though - massive granite boulders perched on top of each other scattered all over the top and surrounding high ground.  Well worth a visit!

Anne on Showery Tor,  Bodmin Moor

The summit of Rough Tor
atop the "logan stone" on Louden Hill, which rocks a few inches up and down like a see-saw!
Back home in dreich November, I had a great night out at "First on Everest" in Edinburgh.  Arranged by Doug Scott to raise funds to support the Sherpas and porters on Nepal, this was a series of illustrated talks.

First up was Hamish McInnes, talking about an early trip to the Himalaya way back in 1953. Next was Tom Hornbein, a sprightly 80 year old, who was first to traverse Everest - up the east ridge, over the summit, and down by the South Col route.   Some hair-raising moments - like doing an ice-axe arrest as the tent headed downhill at 26000 feet!

Doug Scott, 1975
Doug Scott, 2010
The main course was Doug Scott and Tut Braithwaite describing the 1975 first ascent by the NW face.  The scary part (for me, that is!) was realising that it was 34 years ago that I saw the same photos in the Usher Hall, with the same story being told by Dougal Haston.  Doug Scott, who had looked like John Lennon in his hippy years back in 1976, was now a tall silver-haired gentleman!   Time changes us all.
Doug Haston on the Hillary step

During the interval, Doug auctioned some framed prints, signed by himself, and other famous mountaineers.  These sold for anything from £150 to £500.  I contented myself by buying a (signed) poster of Doug Scott's famous picture of Dougal Haston climbing the Hillary Step on the 1975 expedition (right) - cost me £10!  Now with a £25 frame, it has replaced a 3000-piece jigsaw of Mont Blanc on the living room wall!

Finally, Peter Habeler (perhaps most famous for climbing Eiger's north face with Reinhold Messner) recounted the first climb of Everest without oxygen - including a 9 hour bivouac at the South Summit on the descent.  In delightfully heavily accented (Austrian) English , he described the intense emotions experienced by any Everest mountaineer.

Superb evening - and all in a good cause: Community Action Nepal.   

For more details of Doug's lectures, see

For more details of Community Action Nepal, see