Friday, 3 October 2014

A Walk in the Clouds

Edenbridge U3A
Monthly Meeting 30th September 2014

Speaker: Kev Reynolds 

“A Walk in the Clouds”

Anyone who has ever walked in the Alps or Pyrenees, or indeed anywhere where there are mountains in the world, is likely to have heard of Kev Reynolds, one of the most prolific writers on walking and climbing of the past many years. Now resident in Edenbridge, his latest book, “A Walk in the Clouds”, tells of memorable moments culled from a lifelong experience of exploring high places.
Illustrated with an enviable selection of photographs taken over the years, the real theme of the talk, like that of the book, was the benefits of ‘living in the moment’. “We all have these moments”, he writes, “moments as big as years, when we experience something so powerful or profound that, although it may last for only a very short time, it can be recalled decades later in all its vivid intensity… All I know is that life is an adventure and we must cherish every moment to live it to the full.”
And it was some of those moments that he relived with us as we sat spellbound listening. His first trip to the High Atlas Mountains, where he and a companion scrambled from valley to valley, sleeping rough and only coming down to Berber villages when food ran short; his many experiences in the Alps; his times in the Pyrenees, which he knows probably better than anyone alive today, and the joy of spending chilly nights on mountain tops so as to catch the sun rising from the valleys below; his later trips to Nepal and the Himalayas, getting lost in the valleys of Dolpo in the far west (way beyond any normal tourist trail or proper maps) and trekking to Kanchenjunga in the far east, with many visits since.
What came through most strongly from his talk was his love of adventure, his acute awareness of everything around him, the people he met and the friendships he made along the way, the dazzling beauty of the mountains themselves - together with what would seem to most of us pretty extreme discomforts accepted as a matter of course – all told with great humour and humility.
He stressed that however permanent the mountains may seem to be, they are never still, are always subject to erosion and rock-fall, while, with global warming, glaciers are receding at an alarming rate, so that even the best most carefully researched guide books become outdated over time.
Do get a copy of the book. It’s a great read.
Stephen Mills 1.10.14