A packed crowd arrived at Longlands this week to hear Mountain Heritage Trust Chair Julie Summers give an illustrated lecture on the infamous and romantic figure of Everest mountaineer Andrew Irvine. The third instalment of the very popular annual Longlands event hosted by trustee Jeff Ford, the talk was well received by the audience.
‘A truly wonderful talk, full of fascinating insights into the character and background of Irvine, told with verve and humour and superbly illustrated with historic pictures taken at the time.’ Sir Chris Bonington.
‘Impeccable professionalism of execution and the brilliant way Julie put over the story – neither too much, nor too little, but beautifully honed and crafted to fit the audience and the time. The accompanying, memorable images were so cleverly chosen and slotted in at the perfect moment: they will live long in the mind.’ Margaret Wilkes, Co-chairman RSGS Edinburgh Centre
Everest needs you Mr Irvine
The disappearance of Mallory and Irvine close to the summit of Mount Everest in June 1924 is perhaps the most romantic and the greatest unsolved mountaineering mystery. The discovery of Mallory’s body in 1999 answered none of these questions but it excited speculation and enthralled a new generation. At twenty-two Sandy Irvine was the youngest member of the 1924 Mount Everest Expedition but he was far from the inexperienced ingenue that history has suggested. He had crammed into his short life what few men achieve in a lifetime: from outstanding mechanical inventions during the First World War, via a double blue in rowing at Oxford and exploration in the Arctic, to a passionate love affair with his best friend’s stepmother, and perhaps standing on the summit of the world.
This beautifully illustrated talk by Julie Summers, Irvine’s great niece and biographer, brings to life one of the most enthralling stories linked to Mount Everest. Set in the Edwardian era, when the conquest of the mountain represented the last, great challenge of exploration after both the poles had been discovered, it evokes the mood of the early twentieth century and of British climbing at the time of the First World War.
Julie Summers is a writer, broadcaster and historian with the same spirit for adventure as her forebear. A full time author since 2004, she has appeared regularly on radio, television and, most recently, in the film about Mallory’s last climb The Wildest Dream. She is current Chair of the Mountain Heritage Trust and believes strongly that the rich heritage of British mountaineering and climbing has an enduring appeal beyond the sport itself. When not caught up in writing, research or lecturing, Julie is a keen oarswoman.