Peak Preview: Recent Arrivals into the Mountain Heritage Trust

The Mountain Heritage Trust (MHT) are pleased to launch their new exhibition entitled Peak Preview: Recent Arrivals into the Mountain Heritage Trust.

It is on display in the Mountain Heritage Trust zone at Keswick Museum from 1 February 2020-1 February 2021, following the museum’s complete reinterpretation of its collections for 2020. Sponsored by Needle Sports of Keswick and The Climbers' Club, the exhibition features artefacts, documents, photographs and reproductions of paintings that have been donated to the Trust over the last few years. There are displays relating to rock-climbing, mountaineering, guiding and training.

Curated by Ian Smith (MHT Trustee) and Kelda Roe (MHT Collections Manager), the exhibition is a first look at collections not yet made widely accessible. Kelda notes that:

“It can take a long time to make collections accessible because sorting, repackaging and cataloguing them takes a lot of work. This exhibition is a brilliant opportunity to have an early look at collections which have been donated to us over the last few years by the families and friends of many prominent British mountaineers and rock-climbers.”

These include: George Band (who made the first ascent of Kangchenjunga and was the youngest member of the team that made the first ascent of Everest in 1953); Jim Curran (painter, writer and filmmaker); Johnnie Lees (who qualified as one of the earliest British Mountain Guides in 1955 and became one of the very few to receive the guiding qualification in winter mountaineering; he also took a key role in the development of the RAF Mountain Rescue service and in 1958, after a particularly difficult and dangerous rescue on Craig yr Ysfa, was awarded the George Medal); Ian McNaught-Davis ('Mac' was part of the team that made the first ascent of the Mustagh Tower in 1956, and went on to be appointed as President of the British Mountaineering Council and the UIAA, the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation). We also have items on display from: Pete Boardman, Joe Tasker, John Porter, Don Robinson (DR Climbing Walls), Graham West, Ron Kenyon, Chris Craggs, Tom Price, JEB Wright and many more.

Keswick Museum is open every day 10am-4pm (closed 24th-27th December and 1st January).

The Peak Preview exhibition includes a section celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of Annapurna’s South Face featuring a fun free yeti hunting trail!

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Communication

A by-product of Chris Bonington’s climbing life has been finely honed skills in communication:
  • Lectures, photography, journalism and books have all followed on from expeditions.
  • The power to communicate clearly and with intelligence is an art that has won him great admiration and it is a legacy that can enrich the life of everyone, climber or non-climber.
  • Education is at the core of much of Chris’s work in more recent years, formally and informally.
  • In 1983 he helped to establish the annual Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature. This prize is awarded for ‘an original work which has made an outstanding contribution to mountain literature’ in celebration of the lives of his two climbing friends and outstanding writers, Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker.

The Boardman Tasker Award has been won by authors such as Jim Perrin, Joe Simpson, Peter Gillman and Bernadette MacDonald.

The Green Grass of Home

We return from far flung corners of the world to Cumbria where Chris and Wendy Bonington brought up their family.

It is in Cumbria that most of Chris’ major expeditions were planned and it is to Cumbria that he returned after triumphs and tragedies. If the fells offered him a sense of place then the history of this region gave him inspiration to embed himself in its legacy. Chris is an honorary life Vice-President of the Campaign for National Parks and Ambassador for the YHA. Further afield he is involved in charities that support some of the least fortunate members of society including Community Action Nepal, of which he is Patron, which focuses on long term projects for health, sanitation and education.

In 1996 Chris was knighted for his services to sport and in acknowledgement of everything he had given back to the environment that had nurtured his career.

Heading up Cautley Spout © Sam Harrison

A Connection with Landscape

“Mountains are the beginning and the end of all natural landscape” John Ruskin

There is something in all of us that appreciates the sentiments of Ruskin.  The mountains of the Lake District have long been a subject for painters and writers.  Thousands have chosen the Lakes as their home over the past few centuries.  Ruskin was been profoundly influenced by the Lakeland poets William Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge and Robert Southey, sharing their conviction in man's potential nobility to be found through a love and reverence for nature.  

Mountaineers are often portrayed as ‘conquerors of mountains’ but this is not the way they see themselves.  Most have a profound connection with the environment, and know that they need to respect and work with the mountain is they are to succeed.  As Chris Bonington once said:

“I look at climbing not so much as standing on the top as seeing the other side. There are always other horizons in front of you, other horizons to go beyond.”   

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