Saturday, 16 November 2013
Thursday, 14 November 2013
Tuesday, 12 November 2013
Monday, 11 November 2013
Sunday, 10 November 2013
My first book is out, thanks largely to TGO Challenger Humphrey Weightman, who I discovered on my return from the Pyrenees had re-formatted this blog into book form.
The very limited print run arrived on 31 October, when a small ‘launch party’ was held with a few friends, several fizzy bottles, and a huge carrot cake.
I’ve sent copies to many of the people we met along the way, and we received this lovely response from Yolaine, Pierre, Chantal and Joël in Annecy. Wonderful.
The book is available by emailing me at [email protected].
Prices are as follows:
Hand delivery - £10.00
UK + P&P - £12.00
Europe + P&P - £15.70
USA etc + P&P - £18.00
Anyone who buys a copy may also have a pdf version, and if you want just the pdf version the price is £5.00. Payment is currently by cheque or bank transfer, but I plan also to set up a Paypal account. (When we get back from a week away.)
Currently I’m aware of just one review, here – from Andy Howell. In fact, I rather like that review, so whilst the link verifies its efficacy, I’m reiterating it below:
Review: A Pyrenean Adventure, Martin BanfieldThe growth of the internet and low cost digital technology has seen an explosion in ‘self publishing’ over the last decade. I’ve reviewed a number of self-published books here and a few of them have gone on to be very popular. In all honesty, I do receive some pretty dreadful, self-published, books but this one, my friends, is a little gem.
Martin Banfield is a friend of mine, fellow blogger, hill walker, Pyrenean aficionado and TGO Challenger. This summer Martin walked the full length of the GR10, the long distance footpath on the French side of the Pyrenees. For much of the walk he was accompanied by his wife Sue and on other occasions his walking companions were a mixture of old and new friends; one of the great things about trails such as these is that you make many new friends as you walk.
Martin blogs as he walks, something that I have never been comfortable at doing. At the end of each day he sits down and writes his journal on his smartphone. When he has a phone signal he turns his trail prose into blog posts, enhancing them with the photographs that he has taken on that very same smartphone. The result of this technique is that the walking experience is shared with friends — real and virtual — in almost real time.
The further Martin walked this summer the more this blog became a shared journey. Regular contributors added to the fun and humour of the trip and others who dipped in and out clearly took inspiration from Martin’s walk.
As the walk progressed I remember writing a post here describing Martin’s journal as one of the best, current, reads on the net. Reading this now is a reminder of how right that observation was! Another fan of Martin’s walk was another TGO Challenger and print designer Humphrey Weightman. Humphrey was fascinated by what he saw emerging from Martin’s blog and decided that it would work — posts, reader comments and all — as a book. Humphrey knocked up some drafts and dummies and when Martin returned from France he found these proofs waiting for him at home.
The two of them decided that the experiment had worked and over a few weeks Martin tidied up the text a little and spent a little time processing his photographs. Humphrey then laid down the page design, commissioned printers and — hey presto — this book was born.
The book takes the form of an A4, bound, soft cover. The larger A4 format works really well allowing most of the day entries and the accompanying photos and reader comments to sit on one page. I can’t remember a blog — comments and all — laid out like this before, but the formula really works. This is a more polished version of the blog (still available online) but the text has lost none of its spontaneity, vibrancy and humour.
The many photographs that illustrate the adventure are well composed and provide readers with a real insight as to how these mountains look and work. The quality of the photographs are quite remarkable given that they were composed on a smartphone. But it is in the reading that this book delights. It is a real account of a real walk, not an account of great heroics or death defying stunts, but the kind of experience that is well within the reach of all of us.
If you are thinking of walking in the Pyrenees — planning anything from a full traverse to a week’s leisurely rambling — this book will give you a very good idea of what to expect. Writer Kev Reynolds has recently said (in his new collection of memories from a life of mountain walking) the more he reflects on his adventures the more he recognises that great trips are made up of encounters with people and not just the appreciation of the sheer beauty of the landscape. Martin captures this trail comradeship really well here. We meet many new people along the trail and share with Martin his joy of meeting them again a little further on. There are some lovely vignettes of the town and villages along the trail and stories of wonderful hospitality received from Inns and mountain hotels along the way.
The trail is illuminated well as you would expect but Martin also shares with us the look and feel of the villages in which he stays to resupply and take a break. There is humour and quirkiness here, not least in Martin’s sub project to document the variety of tractors that are found along the Pyrenean ridge.
Over the last few years Steve Cracknell has had some success with his own account his walk along the GR10 (If Only You Walk Long Enough) and I’ve no doubt that Martin’s book delight many in the same way. The idea to publish the text and the comments is a master stroke as, if you missed the trek at the time, you can still share the adventure as it evolved while also experiencing the banter between Martin and those who were following the trip.
I know many of you still appreciate the look and feel of the printed book and that many of you are happy hunting down titles from specialist shops and suppliers. To get hold of a copy email Martin directly at: [email protected]
The book costs £12 and this includes post and packaging. European delivery costs £15.70 and shipping to USA and other international destinations will cost £18. Martin accepts payment by cheque or bank transfer. Anyone who buys a copy of the book will also be given a PDF version for their ereader if they request it. The initial print run is limited — so get in quickly! This is a lovely, lovely book that will sit well in any personal library of mountain literature.
Just that one review makes it all worth while! Thanks Andy.
I organise a monthly (or so) evening walk. They aren’t particularly popular, but they get me out and I enjoy them, so who cares?
Anyway, we were down at Wythenshawe Parkrun one sunny morning earlier this year, when some assembled youngsters and enthusiastic parents cajoled me into arranging an extra walk in addition to the traditional Christmas stroll up Shutlingsloe (coming up on 17 December).
Rivington Pike was duly chosen, and the circular walk from the Barn to the Pigeon Tower and Rivington Tower has been reported on these pages before, for example here.
It’s an easy 4 mile stroll, taking about an hour and a half.
Tonight it was raining. Quite hard at times. The youngsters’ enthusiasm, and that of their parents, had waned or been forgotten. So it was just Sue and I who set off past the hall, pictured above, for something of a splodge.
My waterproof camera did come in handy for the following two pictures, from which you may gather it was a little damp up at Rivington Tower.
At least we weren’t in cloud – you can see the mast on Winter Hill through the rain. Sue was actually very happy – she had needed to unchain herself from her desk.
A refreshing outing, though we did feel the wimpy children had made a good call as they may not have enjoyed the slippery rocks and deep puddles…
Some considerable time ago I volunteered to lead one East Lancashire LDWA’s Wednesday walks. Since it was to be on 20 November I chose what I hoped would be an easyish route, given the requirement to make it 15 to 16 miles.
So how about Stretford to Oldham? I called it a ‘Medlock Meander’. Details are here – this link may disappear after 20 November.
Anyway, I thought I’d better do a recce, so I set off in lovely weather in search of the River. Before that, the Bridgewater Canal threw a curved ball at me after I failed to notice a diversion sign. It’s a good job the extra 2+ km that resulted was alone and not with an angry group of walkers!
The canal led me through Manchester (taking great care to follow the Ashton Canal and not the one to Rochdale), past City’s football stadium to Philips Park, where at last I found the River Medlock. In a culvert.
From here it was a very pleasant walk to Oldham, although after various mistakes and diversions I managed to cover nearly 32 km, which I fear is more like 20 miles than 15 miles!
It’ll be ‘alright on the night’, as they say.
Last Friday, 1 November, saw us in Tewkesbury celebrating Julia’s (pictured on the left above, with her friend Liz on the right) 80th birthday. Congratulations Julia.
We should see more of Julia in the Dolomites next summer. We met on my first trip to the Himalayas in 1997.
We were also celebrating Julia’s granddaughter’s 18th birthday. Megan is pictured below, sitting on my left, whilst to my right is Liz’s husband Dave, who has kindly sent me a couple of videos – ‘The Longest Climb’ that I’ll enjoy watching when I have a couple of hours free. Thanks Dave.
Megan won’t be joining us in the Dolomites, though she loves the Via Ferrata routes, as she has now flown to Sydney for a year in Australia(ish) before she goes to Manchester University, when we hope she will call in for the occasional Sunday dinner.
Not forgetting, it was also Megan’s dad Ian’s 50th birthday. Ian is pictured below with his younger daughter Lexi, and he confirmed that reaching the advanced age of 50 has made him no less voluble! Sorry Ian! He’s too busy at work to come to the Dolomites next summer. A shame.
Sue and Caroline were also there, but they must have been taking the pictures. It was a lovely evening, all too short.
We hope to see you all again soon, and wish Megan well in Australia.
This is a lovely book, in which mountain guidebook guru Kev Reynolds relates 75 short stories covering a few of his more memorable experiences in the Alps, Pyrenees, Himalayas and elsewhere.
It’s a delightful and very easy book to read, with skilfully composed prose and a real feeling for the scenarios portrayed.
When I finished reading it I wanted to start again from the beginning.
Strongly recommended for a Christmas list or an immediate click on the £12.95 button on this link.