Page 25 - 2016 AMA Autumn
P. 25

 industry and this book, showcasing a decade of his work, bears justice to the lofty heights in which the industry hold him. Two hundred and eighty odd pages of some of the best alpine climbing, mountaineering and ski mountaineering photography ever taken. A big book with a big price tag but so inspiring.
Barry Payling
This book intrigued me as it marked a full circle return in the art of outdoor photography. Payling. He practises ‘pure photography’ which, to you and I, means that no form of manipulation whatsoever has taken place. No autofocus, no zoom, no editing. Nothing. Just a man with a mechanical camera waiting patiently for the photograph that his eye told him to take, and faithfully reproducing these images on to fine paper and in to this collection. Some of the colour in the photographs is exceptional. As well as appealing to anybody with an eye for outdoor photography, the book introduces the reader to some of the more remote landscapes, especially in Scotland. The shots of Melvaig Beach, for example, are extraordinary in their detail and colour.
Phil Kelly, Graham Hoey, Giles Barker and others
Are you the kind of climbing guide book reader who soaks up the historical anecdotes that the best guide books always have contained within their pages ? Tales of derring-do on first ascents, of the mavericks, legends and hard men of a particular area and era ? If so, ask Santa for this book. He’ll have a job getting down the chimney with it as it is nigh on four hundred pages long and weighs about the same as a grit trad rack. Did I mention that it is absolutely brilliant ? Rather than being a general history of Peak climbing it is, unashamedly, a celebration of the cutting edge and significant developments across the years since James W Putterell first tied on (to an old length of hemp cord)
at Wharncliffe in 1885. JWP wasn’t the first climber of grit outcrops in the Peak but he was the first to explore, record and develop the area for rock climbing.
To do the book justice would take every page of this journal. The who’s who of Peak ascensionists through the decades is literally a roll call of the extraordinary talent of climbing this country has produced, the routes they established and the folklore and legend surrounding them. Birtwhistle, Brown, Birtles, Fawcett, Dunne, Allen, Moffat, Moon, Pollitt, Dawes, Pearson, Randall, Whittaker to name but a few of them.
What it lacks in the height of its crags and edges, the Peak more than makes up for in the number and variety of its climbs. This enormous, and enormously important tomb of a book does justice to the area, its climbs and its climbers.
If I were to observe that this big book is very much in the vein of the Classic, Hard and Extreme books that the uber talented Ken Wilson compiled, then that should illuminate the quality of the book. Split in to four sections (South West, North West, The Islands and The Cairngorms & Central Highlands), the book contains superb writing and photography (often original pieces) from the likes of Andy Nisbet, Martin Moran, Malcolm Bass, Nick Bullock, Blair Fyffe, Dave ‘Cubby’ Cuthbertson and Dave Macleod.
Big routes on big imposing mountains through all seasons. A terrific book to delve in to with a big brew and a notebook and pencil and create a bucket list of amazing climbs to do at the top end of this remarkable island of ours.
All of the books reviewed here are available at discount to AMA Members direct from Vertebrate Publishing – details on the AMA website.

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