Lord, Give Me A Sign

The Tre Cime Di Lavaredo are amogst the most famous peaks in the Dolomites and almost 10,000 feet high. The north faces shown in the photo are overhanging limestone and present an enormous challenge to the most accomplished nountaineer even in good weather.  In 1953 the  greatest climber of all time, the Italian Walter Bonatti, climbed all three north faces in winter, one after another, using only a few pitons and a hemp rope. During the ascents temperatures fell to 24 degrees below zero and as he had no modern clothing he prepared for the assault by sleeping out in the mountains in extreme conditions.

Almost half way up the face of the Cima Ovest, the right hand peak in the top photo, Bonatti was tackling an immense overhang and on the brink of exhaustion when he came across a piton left by an earlier climber attempting the face in the previous summer. Hanging from the iron peg was a small porcelain sign which had been removed from the carriage of a French train:

It is dangerous to lean out!

Walter Bonatti’s book, “The Mountains Of My Life” has just been reissued and is the most astonishing climbing autobiography of all time. You can get it from Amazon.

Duncombe Park

This place is so lovely I wanted to keep it to myself. Situated on the edge of my favourite village of Helmsley, Duncombe Park is a magnificent stately home surrounded by the most beautiful gardens and parkland. As well as guided tours of the house you are free to explore the grounds and woodland whilst the youngsters have fun on the orienteering trails and adventure playground. You can see a map of the park and the walks by clicking on the photo below:

The really great thing about Duncombe Park is the sheer size of the estate and  the feeling of space. You can wander peacefully for miles and if you need sustenance then visit their Fountain Tea Room for really top quality food. Just the long drive up to the house with the roof down and the birds singing is worth the trip! To find out more, click on the Coat of Arms:

Top Down Down Under

This superb video from an Australian magazine gives an in-depth review of the MX5. The only trouble is we poor Poms can’t buy a gorgeous yellow one like this test car:

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