Last night I went to a book launch by Ian Spike Sykes at Waterstones in Inverness on his great book In the Shadow Of Ben Nevis. It was a great insight into the book and the man and it was packed with many of Spikes old pals. The tales went on from his early days in the Lakes, The RAF MRT at RAF Kinloss, Early days of Lochaber MRT, Huge lowers on Ben Nevis on a single rope, Antarctica exploding volcano, the Alps, his business adventures from Nevisport a great climbing shop in its day to the fight for the building of the Aonach Mor Ski Resort and so many more. It was a chat of humour, big climbs, epic rescues with simple gear, no egos and of great fun and friendship in these wonderful places.
What tales he told and had us in stitches at times with his reminisces.
3-5/03/63 – Ben Nevis – North East Buttress
41/169714 – Kinloss MRT and local Lochaber
2 climbers benighted. 500 ft One of the first call –outs using big ropes – abseil to climbers. Spike said it was a classic abseil for Ross one of the troops a hill walker in the team with John Hinde, who abseiled in from the summit. This was an excellent effort. Both climbers were rescued a great effort at the time the photo above shows the boys involved 53 years later.
It was a great night so many of the old and bold were there and a great insight into an other world of Rescue, great mountain days and adventures. He spoke about green issues, local politics all another world to most of us. Even opening the climbing shop on a Sunday and the problems with that. When you add in the other tales and adventures this book takes you on. One key thing was the friendships with so many who love the wild places and how they last for ever. There is plenty of life left in Spike his trip to the wild Wind River area in the USA recently and the big routes climbed and adventure opens another chapter.
I really enjoyed the night and drove back enthused without my promised copy Spike!! It was a great drive home taking my mate Yeni home and then seeing the sunset over the Moray Firth after a wonderful day.
I must get my book finished now. Thanks for the enthusiastic talk about an incredible life of adventure on so many great places.
I am now off to the far North for some hills and as always the weather is changing but so looking forward to getting out on these wonderful hills. Live every day as it is your last.