Wednesday, 13 July 2011

On Snowdon

I rather like the well-publicised recent story of the librarian who celebrated her 60th birthday with a list of 'things to do' that were not too dramatic, but potentially very pleasurable. You won't catch me abseiling or skydiving, but indolent as I am, rather more modest targets appeal to me.

And last week, to celebrate my birthday, I achieved one long-held ambition, to go to the summit of Snowdon, the tallest peak in England and Wales and at the heart of one of my favourite areas. No, I didn't go scaling up any cliff-face. The train journey - which, through a delay, turned into a three hour round trip - was good enough for me. Mind you, scrambling up to the top from the train terminus was quite an experience, given the gale that was blowing. Luckily, I didn't fall off, and before long the mist cleared and the sun shone through.

Several crime novels have been set on mountains - Glyn Carr wrote a number, though I haven't read any of his work. I don't know anything about climbing, but I must admit I was tempted by the idea of a short story set on Snowdon, and mused on a possible plot during the journey back to Llanberis.

Getting out and about to inspiring places is good for a writer, I think, and I only wish I had more time to do more of it. But perhaps one of these days, this will be possible. In the meantime, though, the short story has to be put on hold. At present the priority is to work out the story-line for the next Lake District Mystery!


Anonymous said...

Martin - Those are wonderful 'photos! Thanks for sharing them. I agree with you, too; getting out and about is a great way to get inspired for writing...

Paul Beech said...

A belated Happy Birthday to you, Martin. Glad you enjoyed Snowdon.

Funny you mentioned skydiving as a no-no for you. I was up at the skydiving centre at Cark in Cumbria the other weekend. My eldest daughter Sarah and my son’s girlfriend Charlotte did a skydive to help raise funds for the wonderful Northwich-based charity The Joshua Tree. And of course I was reminded of Kirsty’s skydive in The Cipher Garden – bet you visited Cark for that scene!

Sarah and Charlotte did tandem jumps with instructors from 14,000 feet and both enjoyed it immensely – the freefall plunge face-down with arms and legs wide at 120 mph (would have been 200 but for their tiny drogue-chutes), then the controlled descent beneath their main, wing-style chutes, turning this way and that with the Lake District and Morcambe Bay spread out below. They landed softly right on target with big grins and thumbs up, both saying they just wanted to do it again. Sure you wouldn’t like to give it a go?

One thing I can recommend from personal experience is gliding – I’ve been up with instructors over the Fens and over the Derbyshire Dales. Riding the thermals with birds of prey, corkscrewing up through the clouds, then banking the craft into a dizzying dive…sensational! Maybe something for your next birthday?

Great to hear you’re starting work on the next Lake District mystery.

All best, Paul

J said...

Happy Birthday!

Anonymous said...

Mountaineering by train? I think I could live up to that :)

Wonderful pictures, and the third one is absolutely breathtaking. It does call for a British thriller of the very best kind.