Of mountains and mattering


The Mountains are Calling came into the world a year ago today. Thank you to everyone who has bought the book, said kind things about it, and for not identifying any gross errors.

Has it been successful? The book has sold well and been well received. It was long-listed for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year and I was honoured to speak at the prestigious Kendal Mountain Literature Festival. The hardback sold out before the paperback was even ready. It has topped the Amazon bestselling chart in mountaineering.

But in our modern world, life sweeps by with capricious rapidity. New books come out; the conversation moves on; you can be left behind wondering, was that it?

I marvel at the confidence of those who self-style themselves as ‘inspirational’, but I know words matter. At different times in my life – typically the impressionable times – the non-fiction words of Mark Wallington, Richard Askwith, Apsley Cherry-Garrard and Jon Krakauer (and many others) have mattered enormously. They still do. And I know my words matter: that someone somewhere has taken their first tentative steps onto a Scottish hillside because of something I have written; that someone somewhere is astounded at the extraordinary feats of those who undertake Ramsay’s Round; that someone somewhere is seeing the beauty of a sport emerge from apparent madness.

As humans, all we really want and need is to matter to someone somewhere. If writing The Mountains are Calling has helped me matter in even the smallest way, then that is what I call success.

The Mountains are Calling is available here.

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