How hard can it be? It’s not a bad question for anyone to ask when faced with a challenging situation – at work, in the home, or, as described here, during any kind of outdoor pursuit. As he tells this varied collection of sometimes breathtaking stories about a lifetime’s escapades, Nick Wharton shares insights into how he has faced his own challenges over the past 40 years from starting to climb at school through serving in the army, moving to the Lake District and retraining as an Environmental Health Officer through to the present day. He explains his own distinctive approach and helps us to make sense of his working life latterly as a Health & Safety professional, something apparently so at odds with his climbing exploits. His knowledge of that world of hazards and risk management helps us to understand a little of what has been described as one of the boldest approaches to climbing in recent years.
Whether or not you are a fellow climber, paddler, caver, runner or skier you will be hauled along, at breakneck speed, by the sense of fun and adventure conveyed by Nick and his other contributors to this exciting tale of a life lived at the sharp end.
Published April 2021
Numerous friends, climbing partners and colleagues have been kind enough to provide some input to the book. My hope is that by having a number of 'other voices' the reader will get a wider perspective to some of the stories being retold here. Some provide their memories of a situation whilst others give their own stories. The account of the Classic Rock Challenge gets an input from Brian Davison as my partner and Will BIrkett gives his side of things as a challenger and subsequent record holder. Neil Gresham talks about The Training Paradox and David Birkett waxes lyrical about climbing on Scafell. The full list of contributors, in order of first appearance in the book, is below:
Leo Houlding - Foreword
John Wilson – School days and Aberdeen sea cliffs extravaganza
Pete Robinson – Tour du Mont Blanc
Phil Baines – University, Footless Crow and Creation
John Vlasto – Sandhurst
Bernie Catterall – Army Youth Team
James McHaffie – Climbing trips to Scotland and Pembroke
Stuart Wood – Climbing at Tre Cime
Steve Scott – Climbing in the Lakes and ever since
Alan Steele – High performance climbing and caving shopkeeper
David Birkett – Climbing on Scafell
Scott Burns – Caving trip
Tim Whiteley – Kayaking
Brian Davison – Classic Rock Challenge - partner's perspective
Will Birkett – Classic Rock Challenge - challenger's perspective
Dominique Perrissin-Fabert – Health & Safety at work
Neil Gresham – The Training Paradox
Click on name for photo and highlighted titles to read the contribution.