CLIMBING DAYS

DAN RICHARDS
400pp PHOTOS 2016 LIST PRICE: £16.99 E337

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Description
The author is here on the trail of his great-great-aunt, Dorothy Pilley, a prominent and pioneering mountaineer of the early twentieth century. For years, Dorothy and her husband, the literary critic I A Richards, remained mysterious to Dan, but the chance discovery of her 1935 memoir, Climbing Days, leads him on a journey. Following in the pair's footholds, he begins to travel and climb across Europe, using Dorothy's book as a guide. Learning the ropes in Wales and Scotland, scrambling in the Lake District, scaling summits in Spain and Switzerland, he closes in on the serrate pinnacle of Ivor and Dorothy's climbing lives, the mighty Dent Blanche in the Alps of Valais. What emerges is a beautiful portrait of a trailblazing woman, up to now lost to history.

It’s a wayward, funny, warm, wandering, open, inspiring journey back into the lives of two remarkable people. ROBERT MACFARLANE