Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Sunlit Sumit - W H Murray Biography

'Find beauty; be still' is one of my favourite quotes. It is by W H Murray. A biography about his life and journey has been published in 2013 the centenary of his birth. The Sunlit Summit is by Robin Lloyd-Jones with a forward by Robert MacFarlane (Mountains of the Mind, Wild Places)

On either side of the Second World War, W H (William Hutchison) Murray (1913 - 1996) was one of Scotland's most distinguished climbers. During the war, while on active service in North Africa in 1942, he was taken prisoner and it was during his time as prisoner of war, he wrote his first classic book, Mountaineering in Scotland. It was written in secret on rough toilet paper from memory. It was found, confiscated and destroyed so Murray rewrote it. The rewritten version was published in 1947 and followed by Undiscovered Scotland.

2013 is also the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of Everest which Murray made a significant contribution to. He was part of the 1951 team under Eric Shipton - the Everest Reconnaissance Expedition.

The 1951 Everest Reconnaissance, from left, Eric Shipton, Bill Murray, Tom Bourdillon, Earle Riddiford, Mike Ward, seated, and Edmund Hillary, seated

 In his later years he became a successful novelist and pioneer conservationist.

'Looking back over a wide landscape, cloud shadows racing over the mountains, sun, wind. I know I have known beauty.'

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