It was probably in the Rock and Run shop in Ambleside that i unhesitatingly parted with £10 for the book on the left. £10 was an awful lot of money to me back then, inwas jobless and living in Millican’s Cave in Borrowdale, but it seemed small change compared to the impact that the words and pictures in the book had had on me when i scan read it in the shop. That was, i found out somewhat disbelievingly when i took the book off the shelf just now and read the publication date, thirty years ago. The initial impact that Face Dancing had has not diminished. Stun the imagination with an image and smack the brain with a few resonating words. The climbing in the book was incredible. The subject of the book (Rachel Farmer) was an incredible climber (she died aged 23 after slipping from a steep walkway at Buoux). The words and pictures told a life story. Told a celebration of life. Told of love and loss. Told of Derbyshire rain and French sunshine. Told of that ‘thing’ that forges friendship, loves, deep experiences and adventures outside in any and all weather.
I was never more / am not anything more / will never be more than average at climbing but what Face Dancing did was made me pay attention to the people in and the place in which the climbing (or any outdoor activity) took place. It shifted my lens.
I saw a post about The Pembroke Bond on Instagram a few weeks ago and parted with £15 as unhesitatingly as i had done for Face Dancing thirty years ago.
As the quote from Gaston Rebuffat says (on p.45 of Face Dancing) :
‘To see, it is not enough to open the eyes. One must above all open one’s heart.’
People and Place.
Words and Pictures.