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Lancashire Rock : The Definitive Guide

Book 2
Ken Wilson adds:

On Hard Rock, the mainspring was the parochialism that I saw in the 1960s when itkenwilson was very difficult to get the teams I was associated with to go away to anywhere but Wales, the Peak and the South West. I could never get my friends in those days to head up to Scotland or the Lakes. Equally those in the Lakes and Scotland never seemed to come south. As soon as I showcased all these climbs they became desirable and people started to travel. I thought that once people had sampled the big cliffs they would return to do more and to some extent (Carn Dearg, Shelter Stone etc that did occur). This was the reason that I thought the whole idea of ticking them all wouldn't have struck anyone (Drasdo said differently ... he was right). When it became clear that people were doing this in Hard Rock I tried to moderate the effect (that became jocularly known as "puerile ticking") in Classic Rock by adding lists of comparable routes.

The real afficionados are those that have done not only the Classic Rock routes but all the climbs in the other list too. That is verging on genuine curiousity and even a collector's instinct that I, as an ex-train-spotter, can identify with. I once remember Dave Cook saying to me with amazement - regarding the Idwal Slabs - "I have just realised what you want to do Ken... you want to climb all of them!". There are obsessive route repeaters and obscure crag visitors but not too many of them. My feeling is that we have thousands of rock climbs all over the country and all of them represent somebody's adventure and endeavor. At any given time there are a score of obscure routes that I am lusting to do and I know that others feel the same - somehow we need to pass on this interest in detail and history. There is a Severe that looks like Vector above that road that leads up behind Cioch Nose, there is Christmas Buttress on the remote Aran Fawdwy and scores of others. I thought it was marvellous recently when people started going round climbing all of Mallory's routes on places like Lliwedd, Llechog and Y Garn to find out just how well he was climbing. Another climb that interests me is Raeburn's route on the North-East Buttress of the Ben. Archer Thomson was a wonderfully curious pioneer.

He did a big route on the Megaton/Thor cliff on Skye in the first decade of the century. Another area that intrigues me that I think should be an area for some big classic climbs is that big cliff on the Rivals that Tony Moulam developed in the 50s. Two mates of mine went there to repeat one of the routes and had an accident. It took two dozen of us (checking every car-park and crag approach in North Wales) all night to find out where they were.

The three big influences behind Hard Rock were "Rock and Ice" by Andre Roch (for its very detailed captions), "Rock for Climbing" by C.Douglas Milner (for its marvellous sense of period and its sequences), and "In Extremen Fels" (Extreme Alpine Rock) for episodic discipline and Wolf Jurgen Winkler's marvellous crag photos with very precise detail that can be picked out easily as they were taken in sunlight at exactly the correct moment. What was less of an influence was "Rock Climbers in Action is Snowdonia", though I do think that it is a fine book, but it is not my style. It is all about the feeling of climbing and its verve and position and very "photographic" and the captions are poetic rather than factual. Leo Dickinson, Ray Wood, Bob Keates and John Beatty are photographers that might be said to be part of that school. I favour a more scrupulously factual (some might say boring) approach and I particularly like to see the climber in his architectural setting. Malcolm Griffith is one who I would associate with. His marvellous picture of Stevie Haston on Creag Rheadr in Cold Climbs is very much my cup of tea. Another fine photographer of that style is Dave Dillon of the Karabiner Club and Dave Simmonite took some marvellous pictures of John Dunne on a new route in Ireland. Colin Foord and Doug Scott are also good photographers, very good at capturing action during alpine or snow climbs.

... continue

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