On the ‘hill’ with…Paul Taylor

 On the ‘hill’ with…this week it is the turn of active Club member Paul Taylor

Or, in his own words: “A few lines from ’t’ other side ‘o’ th’ pennines…”


How did you get into walking and climbing?

I started walking and climbing with family, particularly my dad Allan and younger brother Oliver. Perhaps most memorable was a family scramble along Crib Goch aged 8 years old and another epic getting slightly lost on Bodmin Moor in the mist. Later these experiences merged with Oundle School adventure training trips, where dad worked as a teacher. I climbed from a young age, frequently looking up to trees, buildings, local Leicestershire disused bridges (Twyford viaduct or Slawston bridge), any possibility… to get the best practice outdoors, whether on rock, any accessible architecture or on the freely available natural environment.

Slawston bridge, Leicestershire

                                  Teenage Kicks Twyford-Style; aid climbing with my brother Oliver

Stanage and Froggat were a long way from home but none-the-less became the “local” crags. Holidays usually meant North Wales. Often, I climbed with my brother, and we also made regular annual Scottish trips to Crianlarich with school, leading isolated full winter expeditions to Ben Alder bothy and ticking off three or four Munros in a few days. School trips have certainly changed…!

       Living it up in the 80s…in my youth at Froggatt with Leicester University Mountaineering Club (hair!) 


Who has been the most influence on your mountaineering experiences?

There are a few. My aunt Saranne and her extraordinary tales of many years spent with Outward Bound in the US, canoeing the Grand Canyon, spending days snow bound below the summit of Denali in Alaska, cross-country skiing through Norway, climbing Batian, (Mount Kenya) with her; My dad and his transplanted heart donated 34 years ago, and his capacity to just keep on going…; Teacher Jonathan Lee; Doug Scott.

Abseiling back down from the summit of Batian Mount Kenya, 2004 (No picnic!)

Dad approaching sharp edge Blencathra, 1987


How did you come to join the RC?

… because it’s… here..?

I joined with Rachel, my wife after we both turned 50… and had returned from Himalayan volunteer work for Community Action Nepal in 2010, needing further inspiration.

Handstand Poon Hill, 2009


What does the perfect ‘hill’ day consist of? 

Getting off the beaten track…A journey navigating through interesting landscapes, poetic inspirations and photographic splendours. Mountainous peaks of numerous sizes.Aiming off, going somewhere different and finishing. Midge-less, bug-less, spider-less, tick-less, leech-less, jelly-fish-less.All rounded off with veggie haggis (…yes…!) and a nice whisky at the end of the day.


What have been your most memorable days out?

Climbing Helvellyn’s Striding Edge and Blencathra’s Sharp Edge in a few days spent with my dad following his heart transplant in 1987. (He’s still going strong… thanks to a truly miraculous donation!!!); A Channel relay swim of 9 hours 38 minutes; A cycle trip from Northamptonshire to sail across the Channel, cycle across France and then a subsequent traverse of the Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt; A day out with my aunt, “no picnic!” Mount Kenya (Batian…); Climbing with Nare, my Nepali friend, on multi-pitch routes up the Idwal Slabs to Glyder Fawr; Climbing Naya Kanga, Nepal; Employing four Nepali student school leavers (after volunteering as teachers at their school) who then acted as our porters for an expedition to the summit of Chulu West, all with Nare again.

Pinnacle near Chulu West 2010

Finishing the Welsh 3000sin a day; A New Year’s Day temperature inversion and Brocken spectre on Snowdon; A Skye Cuillin Ridge solo traverse; Climbing the South Face (Berthet Variant) Aiguille Dibona with Rachel

Aiguille Dibona, 2014

La Cepeda, Naranja de Bulnes, Picos d’Europa;  Arête Nord-Est, Tete de Toilles, Queyras, Alpes de Haute.

                                                         La Tête des Toillies, 2016

Swimming the length of Lyn Padarn, then visiting Pete’s Eats continuing up to the summit of Snowdon, Crib Goch and back to Beudy Mawr; Finding and completing my “Bearing Up” across the Cuillin,[see 2018 Journal article The Skye-Line] and its Lakeland equivalent the Wast-Line;

                                                                                 The Skye-Line, 2017

 Completing the Lake District’s Frog Graham Round in 2018.

                                                                      Frogman, 2018

A beautiful bike ride along the disused railway from my dad’s house in the Costa Blanca Spain to Benicadell to rock climb its long ridge to the summit. The super ride back.

                                                    Biking to Benicadell Costa Blanca, 2018


Have you had any mishaps in the ‘hills’ and if so what’s been the worst?

A wasp attack in Maine (ooh that stings…), my three pebble slab “incident” (ouch hurty ankle…!); A winter incident on Bristly Ridge where I came across a climber with a punctured plastic boot having suffered injury from rockfall (narrowly missing me too I might add…) and consequently needing to call out the mountain rescue and RAF helicopter for him; Experiencing some severe earthquakes in my sister’s house in the Sibillinis; Slipping off The Smileat Lower Sharpnose; Getting pleasantly benighted on Pombie Wall Sud-Est – Classique, Pic Midi d’Ossau. A wee bit chilly…

Mountain Rescue incidents not of my own making but responding as a volunteer member of Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team.

CVSRT mountain rescue members volunteer


What is your dream ‘hill’ objective?

 So much to dream of…

“Bearing Up!” with Himalayan proportions; Nepal; Ladakh; A warm lake, steep rocks, a pointed snowy summit; High swims in the Scottish mountains … Dhan Uisge!; If I found myself in the Tetons I would like to try the Picnic Teton triathlon; The 120km Grande Anello dei Sibillini, (Thisrange of the Apennines lie on my sister’s doorstep…); Discovering new Mountains of Mordor ?

Sea cave in Spain


What makes a great ‘hill’ partner? Has anyone come close?

I “got hitched”, “tied the knot” with Rachel 10 years ago (this coming July). Our vows included “packing our rucksacks”.

Soleil Trompeur, Sagnette, Hautes-Alpes 2014


With a busy professional and family life, how do you manage to keep active in the ‘hills’?

As a busy supply teacher, summer mountain leader, DofE instructor and assessor, it’s a fine balance but I adopt a flexible way to approaching the outdoor life…


What future ‘hill’ plans do you have?

The length of Coniston to Fairfield. (anyone else fancy this?); Canoeing across Loch Linnhe from Craigallan to the summit Garbh Bheinn of Ardgour via one of the classic rock routes;

Garbh Bheinn of Ardgour, 2019

A “Bearing Up!” video, (uninterrupted by sheep!); A high slack line somewhere safe-ish; I’ve got Georgia on my mind; Something unusual; A Polar Bearing Up (Dry-suited!!)…maybe even unicycling on the In. Pinn. (Oh yes I could…!); A swim across Phewa Lake to a view of the Annapurnas; Bare Blåbær, Djupford, Lofoten Islands, Norway. (No Baring or bears… Just bilberries!) Shall I stop now..?

I would welcome anyof RC members’ own thoughts or routes for “Bearing Up!” Just think straight forward and up, across lake, up a crag, to a summit, classic, A to B anywhere in the world and a line is there to follow!

                                                        On top of Lliwedd after a Bearing Up!


What have been the benefits of RC membership? 

The name says it all… Keith Towell particularly reminded me of the wide ranging and overarching ‘circus’ of multidisciplinary outdoor activities that the Club is involved with, that just needs matching to the weather. The mantra of “get out there!” The local, national and international acclaim, reputation and busy calendar of events. Saturday evening meals. Broad mindedness.Experienced members, a long history of links to Mountain Rescue services, nice huts, good people, friends.

                                                    Playing Snakes and Ladders, November 2018

Threading the Needle? – Gogarth, 2018

Do feel free to visit the “Bearing Up!” web page www.facebook.com/bearingup

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