Lyn Noble adds some reminiscences of Doug Scott from their formative days …
Here are a few much earlier memories of Doug. We first met as students at Loughborough College. He was training to be a PE teacher. I was a “chippy” (trainee craft teacher). We did the usual sort of stuff, bivvying in the heather above Gardoms and waking (if we ever slept) covered in frost then on to the old classics. Most of the time Doug climbed with is Nottingham mates whilst I teamed up with Colin Mortlock and other college pals. However once a year we joined forces for a bit of indoor aid climbing.
The Victory Hall at Loughborough was a massive, grim building with steel rafters in the roof… more like a hanger than a sports hall and doubling up as an examination room. Forty feet above the desks and chairs were the rafters, perfect nesting places and ideal for bombing exam papers. Although most of the college staff and students had little idea what climbers got up to Doug and I were seen as a convenient and cheap way of evicting the birds. We had great fun and cleared out one or two nests but never met anything with feathers..
In the early 60s we climbed together in Chamonix. I remember cleaning the gear on the 40m wall of the Grand Capucin. The idea was that I would collect everything on a sling ready to hand up to Doug. Cold hands? Fear? I don’t know what, but the smooth transition didn’t work. All the hardware we possessed began its plummet towards the glacier only to hook itself over Doug’s boot. We didn’t finish the route! The following day we did the South Face of the Giant, a short route with a bit of aid (in those days) only to be caught in an electric storm on the summit. I’ve never seen anyone descend fixed ropes so fast. By the time I’d coiled our rope Doug was already running across the glacier.
In 1961 several English teams were sniffing around the Bregaglia. Colin and I climbed the Cassin Route and a few days later I ended up in hospital after a fall on a new route. Visitors were few and far between so I was pleased to see Doug stroll in. However I soon realised that he was more interested in the Hospital’s laundry facilities than me. Approaching the Badile in the darkness he’d slipped and whistled off down smooth slabs, with the predictable effect on his bowels. Nurses found an unsavoury bag of underclothes in my locker.
A few years ago June and I were driving north to the Lakes when there was a call on my mobile, “It’s Doug, I’m writing a book about the old days.” Me, “Doug who?” (We’d not met for 50 years.) Him, “Me, Doug (Then I recognised the voice and manner) “what were those routes we did back in the 60s?” And that was it, as though it was yesterday.
Lyn Noble (Mr!)