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Climbing Days

Dan Richards

A thrilling travel book, following in the footsteps of a pioneering mountaineer.

Date Published
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In Climbing Days, Dan Richards is on the trail of his great-great-aunt, Dorothy Pilley, a prominent and pioneering mountaineer of the early twentieth century. For years, Dorothy and her husband, I. A. Richards, remained a mystery to Dan, but the chance discovery of her 1935 memoir leads him on a journey. Perhaps, in the mountains, he can meet them halfway? Climbing Days is a beautiful portrait of a trailblazing woman, previously lost to history, but also a book about that eternal question: why do people climb mountains?

Critic Reviews

Climbing Days is a special book, not quite like anything I have ever read before, and a law unto itself. It’s a wayward, funny, warm, wandering, open, inspiring journey back into the lives of two remarkable people, and out into the remarkable landscapes they explored.

ROBERT MACFARLANE, author of Landmarks
Critic Reviews

[A]n affectionate portrait... For non-climbers, the attractions of mountaineering might seem inexplicable, but Richards conveys much of the thrill and sense of achievement. The resulting book is an entertaining and absorbing account of past and present relationships forged amid extreme physical endeavour.

Sunday Times
Critic Reviews

Climbing Days is the most enormous fun… Richards has something of Jerome K Jerome about him. It’s a miracle he lived to tell this tale and Climbing Days is a wonderful achievement.

Katharine Norbury, Observer
Critic Reviews


Alex Preston, Observer
Critic Reviews

With its roots in the psychogeographical writing about landscape, this fascinating account of the life of the early twentieth-century pioneering mountaineer Dorothy Pilley eschews objectivity in favour of dramatizing the relationship between writer and subject, melding personal reflection and the process of historical investigation.

Critic Reviews

[A] totally engaging and satisfying book on every level – as biography, memoir, travelogue and erudite meditation on the restlessness and indomitableness of the human spirit.

Caught by the River

Dan Richards was born in Wales in 1982 and he grew up in Bristol. He has studied at UEA and Norwich Arts School. Dan is co-author of Holloway with Robert Macfarlane and Stanley Donwood, published by Faber in 2013. The Beechwood Airship Interviews, a book about the creative process and the importance of art for art’s sake, is to be…

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