For a land that never rises more than 1344 metres above sea level, it
could be argued that Great Britain punches above its weight when it
comes to mountaineering.
The great British expeditions to Mount
Everest of the early 20th century
culminated in Tenzing and Hillary being the first to reach the summit
in 1953. Today, Leo Holding
and friends are pushing the limits of what is possible and inventing
new ways of exploring the high places of the earth. Where does this
appetite for adventure come from?
It may stem from our unquenchable love of the great outdoors,
championed and articulated by the likes of Wainwright
in the 19th and 20th centuries, during a time when nature was being
upheld as something that was life giving and to be treasured. Perhaps
this was a reaction to the rapid spread of industrialisation at that
time, often at the expense of nature. Whatever it was, our passion has
led to a conservation movement that has created the formation of
national parks, helping to preserve our right and privilege to enjoy
the mountainous parts of Britain today.
We love to get out on the hills in spite of our unpredictable and
sometimes dreary weather, which can make for some tricky climbing and
navigation conditions. However, it makes British mountains a fantastic
training ground for the larger elevations around the rest of the world.
Ascents in the UK range from the top-class sports climbing of the Peak
District to the mixed ice climbing of the Nevis
In addition to its benefits in training the mountaineer, it`s important
to appreciate the brooding beauty of the mountains in bad weather. They
are a sight not to be missed when half-shrouded in low-lying cloud or
when ribbons of white water cascade down their flanks after a downpour.
Staying in bothies, bunk houses or cottages
in Snowdonia of North
Wales, the Cairngorms
or the Lake
District of Cumbria, one is brought closer still to the local
way of life. It`s a great way to become familiar with the environment
because our national parks are not solely there to preserve the
mountain wildernesses alone. They also preserve the architecture,
culture and working practices associated with those areas. With
comfortable beds, drying rooms and usually a roaring fire, these kinds
of lodging are a great place to return to in order to recharge your
batteries and prepare your gear for another charge up the slopes in the