Two people who were members of the outdoor community died recently, and somehow have left a deeper hole in me than seems possible. In future I will try to keep up on this and publish something, nothing too personal, just a polite death notice. We are all freightened of death, but dying while doing your sport might be an appropriate way to go, as happened to the two individuals in question. The mountains are dangerous and our lives are precarious, and none of us can escape death. But, and for me it is a very big but, our lives can be transfigured by what we do in our allotted time. I love climbing I think more than being alive without it, so I am prepared to pay the ferryman, some of your friends will be the same and perhaps you are too. The price may seem high but we reach great heights so bare this in mind when you have the sorrow of some ones death, it might help. The two people who died recently both had an effect on my life and for this I am very thankful, and because of this they will never be dead in the sense of forgotten, they will never pass away into the mists of being absent.In a previous Blog I published a photo of the cover of Studs on the summits written by Bill Smith, a book that the Independent in its excellent death notice for Bill reminded me sold out of print very quickly and is now a collectors item. It is not because it is a great book, rather it is a work of love, and for this reason it too is loved. Bill loved running the fells, he lived alone, and lived simply, he died alone, probably of the cold in a peat bog on Bowfell moors. He was missing for three weeks. In his sad death he has had more appreciation than in life, his work with fell running, much of it unrewarded, has helped the sport immeasurably.
The older climbing community of England and Wales was surprised to lose Ben Wintringham to an Abseiling accident, Ben was a friend to many and a husband to Marion. I think Ben would be surprised by how many people mourn his leaving this world. Ben was helpful to me personally and I know he was to many others. Ben climbed many knew routes and loved steep rock, take some time to say thanks, if you do one of his little treasures, you may not have known him, but without people like Ben our sport would be very poor. I am sorry not to be with his friends celebrating his life, but many of the people who knew Ben are maybe like me and live in a different country, so farewell Ben and thank you for your smile.
Bill Smith, runner. RIP.
Ben Wintringham, climber, RIP