I have a connection with Tony Astill of Mountaineering Books and Mountaineering Paintings because of my interest in mountaineering. I would not say that I am a collector of mountain memorabilia but I do have an interest in how the environment has changed over recent history. The Alps were “discovered” by Victorian mountaineers in the mid 1800′s, they were extremely commercially minded and documented everything they found which has left us with a rich resource of books and paintings from the time.
I came across a book written by Edward Whymper when I was about 16, I was alone and hitch-hiking to Scotland to go hill-walking. I found myself needing to shelter from the rain near Skipton and dived into a little bookshop. I started browsing the books there and came across “Scrambles”. As it is well and truely out of print Google have been kind enough to archive it at the following link:
now the digital version does not do justice to this book. It’s a large format, and full of maps and etchings. I remember that it was for sale for about £50, that was 1987. I decided to save my money and bought a rope a few days later. The funny thing is that ropes still cost £50 and that book now costs about £1000. The rope was more usefull.
Through Tony I have since bought a later edition of Scrambles. In addition I’ve added a less well known book to my collection. “The Eagles Nest” by Alfred Wills.
this second book is very topical as near where I live there is a refuge named after Alfred Wills and many of the walks he describes are on my local hills. I often claim that Alfred Wills started the first “Brit” chalet in the Alps. In fact it still stands today. Not habitabble but interesting nevertheless.
So if you are interested in this sort of thing, or if you are just looking for some old paitings and books to add to your chalet then you know where to go. Some of the prices might come as a bit of a shock but then again, if you buy well then they may end up being excellent (and interesting) investments. On that subject Tony will be able to suggest some topical books that will be valued in the ten’s instead of the thousands of pounds.
If you are interested in the history of mountaineering there is a Himalayan Trust UK Charity Fundraiser coming up on the 29th of May. Details follow:
Alan Hinkes OBE presents Kangchenjunga Finale and the 8000m Peaks Hinkes is the first Briton to climb all the world’s fourteen 8000m peaks. His final peak was Kangchenjunga, climbed in 2005, fittingly almost 50 years to the day after George Band and Joe Brown made the first ascent in 1955. To include a tribute to the Trust’s much loved late Chairman, George Band OBE. Introduced by Rebecca Stephens MBE