THIS is a website for the strugglers, the triers, the quiet though valiant souls who raise their eyes to the mountains and say: “I’m going to climb to the top of that. Even if it kills me.”
Perhaps you’re a mountain athlete with legs of spring steel and a natural dexterity that allows you to prance nimbly along the knife-ridges of the world’s highest places. If so, this website is probably not for you.
If, on the other hand, you’re a stubborn, slightly unconventional, back-against-the-wall type with a tendency to be a bolshie bugger, fighting against the universally accepted certainties of middle age (caravans, beige trousers, lawnmower envy, vertical window blinds) and crave instead the things that give life its colour and zest (the hiss of a petrol stove beneath a starry sky; the smell of warm, sweaty waterproofs that should have been washed last year; wind howling across the summit of Ben Wyvis so strongly you can’t stand up; dust in your boots; peat under your fingernails; the sun in your eyes; grass in your tea; and the tangy taste of unknown chemicals in midge repellent) then you might find something of interest. Might.
This website does not have an agenda other than to entertain, and perhaps spark up some enthusiasm for the less-accessible corners of Britain – and sometimes beyond. It’s about climbing mountains, usually by the easiest route, sometimes by the hardest route, occasionally by the wrong route, and once or twice by the potentially suicidal route. It’s also about characters, musings, fish and chips, recollections, history, absurdity, and those triumphs that raise mountain people above the mass of humankind – such as fixing a flapping sole on your boot with two screws painstakingly removed from a fence post with a spoon handle.
And it will, in time, attempt to answer the eternal question of why people climb mountains – so I can ditch the lame “Because they’re there” from the masthead.
Alen McFadzean, somewhere near Darlington