Isolation (Part 18)

Posted by Jeremy Windsor on May 19, 2020

Thanks to everyone who's taken part in the last 16 or so "Isolation" posts. Hopefully you've found something amongst them that's been useful! To finish off we're returning to the theme of our first post and sharing some recommendations.

Here's Chris Smith to get us started...

I've just finished 'Wilding' by Isabella Tree - amazing in too many ways to describe. My walking companion bought 5 copies and I was a lucky recipient. Having been involved in 'the environment' from childhood, this book is probably the most influential I have ever read. This is the story of Knepp - a failing farm and its astounding transformation - against all the odds. If you have any interest in the countryside, if you like to hear birds sing, then this is a book you should read. 

I've now dusted off 'The First Fifty - Munro Bagging without a Beard' by Muriel Gray - because I remember it making me laugh so much! I laughed in the 1990's and laughed again today. Maybe it's my sense of humour or not having a beard. Muriel shares all too 'familiar' tales of days out in the Scottish mountains - the wonderful scenery, the 'joys' of hill-walking and the characters she meets. It's an ideal read for armchair Munro baggers!

A growing number of brilliant outdoor film makers are making their work "free to view". Here's a very comprehensive list of films available. "Life of Pie - Pizza and Bikes Can Fix Anything" is a great place to start!

Next up, we have emergency physician and expedition doctor Monica Piris who's got 1 or 2 things to share...

Here's some lists which are an inadvertent window into how much of a dork I am (and cater to my short attention span)!  5 favourite instagram accounts to follow, 5 favourite you tube channels to watch, 5 medical podcasts or websites and 5 movies. You've got the books covered! 


- @david_goettler
- @sealegacy
- @semi_rad
- @onceuponaclimb
- @emilyaharrington


- Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
- The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Yoga with Tim
- Charles Dowding 
Bake with Jack

Monica recommends Fleabag. Wicked and hilarious. Watch it!

Medicine Websites and Podcasts

- FOAMcast
St Emlyns
- The Skeptics Guide To Emergency Medicine
- Don't Forget The Bubbles

Plus, Dan Carlin's Hard Core History is a fab group of podcasts - but they're not medical!


The Dawn Wall
Breaking 2
Path To Everest
Free Solo

If that's not enough here's one last recommendation... 

Over the last few weeks I've often found myself looking through the photographs of Jim Herrington's new book - "The Climbers". This extraordinary collection of images captures a host of once formidable men and women who were, according to the author, "vertically active between the 1920's and 1970's". Whilst they stare into the camera's lens with all the intensity and purpose that secured them their places in climbing history, there's a real sense of human frailty that makes you realise that these heroes still share the same fate as the rest of us.

Riccardo Cassin photographed by Jim Herrington just days before he died

The one image that keeps catching my eye is that of Riccardo Cassin. I don't mind admitting that its made me well up with tears more than once. Here is a man, well known for his extraordinary strength and courage, alone and immobile in an arm chair, gazing towards the mountains. What was he thinking? Was he recalling the joy of what he'd achieved? Or the stirrings of long remembered disappointments or missed opportunities? Perhaps a thought that he'd never visit again the places he loved so much? I haven't been able to work it out from the photograph, in the same way as I can't quite figure out where my tears come from. But nevertheless they do!

"The Climbers" is a beautiful book that deserves a place on the book shelves of all those who seek out the challenges of rock climbing and mountaineering. Simply enjoy the text and images, or better still use them both as a springboard to launch your own adventures. Like the book, this pandemic reminds us that time and opportunities are in short supply - make plans and do what you can!


Signed copies of "The Climbers" can be bought hereA wonderful interview with the author can be found here.

Thanks to Chris and Monica for their brilliant suggestions!

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