The High Places by A. Harry Griffin Find!
Harry Griffin grew up in Barrow-in-Furness and his interest in outdoor activities really began the day he took himself on a bicycle ride to Coniston. That day this teenage boy climbed Coniston Old Man, wandered down the slopes to Goat's Water and saw, for the first time, climbers scaling the wall of rock on Dow Crag. Then and there he decided that he too wanted to become a climber. In 1929, after reading up on rock climbing at Barrow Library, he presented himself at the offices of George Basterfield, mayor of Barrow, and at that time also president of the Fell and Rock Climbing Club. Harry was duly advised where to get his boots nailed properly and then George Basterfield offered to take him climbing on Dow Crag. So started a lifetime of adventures on the mountains.
In the early 1930s he was one of the founding members of a Lake District climbing club known as the Coniston Tigers which established a climbing hut in a converted wooden garage on the shores of Coniston Water. His career in journalism began when he was taken on by the Barrow Guardian. He then moved to the Lancashire Daily Post, after which he became a staff reporter on the Daily Mail in Manchester. After the war, in which he attained the rank of lieutenant colonel, he returned to the Daily Mail but then heard that the Lancashire Evening Post was offering a new position based at Kendal. So in 1946 he moved to Kendal and so began a weekly column 'Leaves from a Lakeland Notebook'. For almost thirty years he wrote this regular feature in addition to his record fifty-three year unbroken series of 'Country Diary' entries for the Guardian, from 1951 to just a few days before his death in 2004.
Harry Griffin was acquainted with many well-known characters and celebrities in the Lake District. He knew Donald Campbell, who was killed on Coniston Water in Bluebird. Norman Nicholson the poet and Heaton Cooper the artist were also his friends, as were more eccentric characters, such as Millican Dalton, the Professor of Adventure, and the comical 'Owd Joe', a Wasdale shepherd who spoke in strange tongues. And, of course, he knew Alfred Wainwright whose drawings so wonderfully illustrate this book.
"The High Places" combines a selection of the articles which Harry Griffin wrote for the Lancashire Evening Post. He writes of days spent in the mountains - clambering on Pillar Rock, skating on Tarn Hows at Christmas, swimming in tarns after a day of rock-climbing; the history of the Lake District, from the Romans who built a road over the fells to the pioneering climbs on Scafell Crag and Napes Needle; and the many characters he knew including cake-baking farmers who won all the prizes at a Lakeland show.
This is a gem of a book - open it at any page and be charmed by the writing of a man who was passionate about the landscape surrounding him. 'The High Places - 27 February 1959...To enjoy the hills to the full, the true mountain lover must know them and know everything about them. He must know them at all seasons of the year, and he must walk their ridges, climb their crags and ski across their snowfields. He must know about hill weather, the meaning of the wind and the clouds, and he must know the birds, the animals, the trees, the flowers and everything that grows and lives upon the hills. He must know about the hill people, their customs, traditions and sports, and he must know about the stories of the rocks and how and why the hills came to be there. All these things and many more the true mountain lover must know, and he may spend his life learning them and still not know them all.
But once a man discovers the hills he has got hold of something that will stay with him to the end of his days. He will never tire of it and nobody can take it away from him, but he will be really happy only when he can lift up his eyes to the hills. Perhaps that is why I have been so miserable recently: so near to the hills and yet so far away. This flu germ has much to answer for'.
6 October 2009 from Mary Rossall
- On Lindale Hill
- Grange-over-Sands: The Story of a Gentle Township
- The Silent Traveller: A Chinese Artist in Lakeland
- Red Ike
- Cumbrian Privies
- Ethel Fisher's West Cumbrian Dialect titles
- The Embalmer's Book of Recipes by Ann Lingard
- Nella Last's Peace
- Riding the Stang by Dawn Robertson
- Life on the Fell - a pictorial chronicle of a Lakeland community
- About Scout Scar
- William Wilberforce - A Summer Diary 1779
- Beatrix Potter - the unknown years
- Smoke over Shap by Margaret Potter
- Songs of a Cragsman by George Basterfield
- The Grasmere Dialect Plays
- The Grizedale Experience: Sculpture, Art & Theatre in a Lakeland Forest
- An Atlas of The English Lakes
- How Hall. Poetry and Memories. A Passion for Ennerdale by Tom Rawling
- Stumpy, Hero of the Lakes
- The High Places by A. Harry Griffin
- The Highest House in Wathendale
- Kendal by Roger Bingham
- Secrets and Legends of Old Westmorland
- Reminiscences of Wordsworth Among the Peasantry of Westmorland by Canon Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley
- Little Gods by Jacob Polley
- A Lakeland Summer
- Hunter of Harter Fell by Joseph E Chipperfield
- And Nobody Woke Up Dead
- An accessible paradise
- The Fleming Family novels and Graham Sutton
- Excursion to Loweswater. A Lakeland Visit 1865
- Writing on the Wall
- Beyond Scafell by Alan Robinson
- Rogue Herries by Hugh Walpole
- Kendal In The Nineteenth Century by A Wainwright
- In There Somewhere
- The Bondwomen by W G Collingwood
- "Ah'd Gaa Back Tomorra!"
- A Cumbrian Copper by Ray Huddart
- The Arsenic Labyrinth by Martin Edwards
- Old Will Stories by Dudley Hoys
- The Shield Ring by Rosemary Sutcliff
- T'Bacca Queen by Theodora Wilson Wilson
- Furness and the Industrial Revolution
- The Shadow of Black Combe
- The Painted Letters of Percy Kelly
- Ivver Sen
- Lakeland in the 1830s
- Wasdale Climbing Book By Michael Cocker
- Riding High by Barbara Sneyd
- Deborah in Langdale
- Early Recollections of Grange
- Hazard's Way by Roger Hubank
- Yan, Tan, Tethera
- Talk of the Town
- Capturing the Mountains
- Hope On, Hope Ever
- Mildred Edwards: Our City Our People 1889 - 1978 Memories
- Lakeland Limericks
- Surrounding loveliness
- Haweswater by Sarah Hall
- Coast to Coast by Jan Minshull
- Sunshine To The Sunless
- Geese, cattle wallopers and secret Irish paths
- Anarchists, Angels and wet Bank Holiday Mondays
- A more unconventional kind of find...?
- Skiddaw Summit by Kathleen Jones
- Thorstein of the Mere: A Saga of the Northmen in Lakeland
- Wednesday Early Closing
- Smoke Across The Fell
- The Sand Pilot of Morecambe Bay
- The Chronicles of Boggerthwaite
- Carrock Fell
- Feet in the Clouds
- Hercules and the Farmer's Wife
- Shepherd's Warning
- The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices
- I've been so busy reading I haven't had time to blog!
- Reading Detectives film
- Thank you!
- Coffee and books at the Bluebell Bookshop
- Mary learns to blog!
- Lucky 13!
- Grange over Sands get reading
Help the team
Have you got something to contribute? You can contact us to report your clues and you can comment on our blog posts. It doesn't matter where in the world you are!