Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Coming up: George Kitchin recalls the early 50's Wall End Barn scene.

None of your namby-pamby Alpine club types here. Wall End Barn lads were so poor they had to share jumpers ! 
Pete Cargill (left) and George Kitchin get up close and personal: George Kitchin Collection©

"He was "Slim" Sorrell and his com­panion was, indeed Joe. They had final­ly run for cover after several days of ap­palling weather, camped in upper Eskdale. I had not met Slim before, and my earlier acquaintance with Joe had been somewhat perfunctory, but I rapidly came to like both of them im­mensely although they were very dif­ferent in character. Then, as now, Joe was the most modest of men, quiet and unassuming, especially in public or in large groups, although he would talk freely and interestingly in the right company, especially about climbing. Slim was much more outgoing and never seemed to run out of steam, his conversation fuelled by a wide and varied range of interests. Singing was a popular activity in the bar at that time, and Slim's own composition, the Cloggy version of 'The Streets of Laredo', became part of the regular repertoir. Slim had no conceit for himself, but he was obviously very pro­ud of his association with Joe, whose exploits he recounted in graphic detail, especially the recent tour de force on Diglyph.'

This Friday, an entertaining piece from George Kitchin illustrated with some brilliant images detailing the legendary Wall End Barn scene of the early 1950's and featuring many of the central players in one of UK climbing's most romantic and creative chapters.