5 out of 5 stars. Beauty and Brutality in the mountains.
For me this was an eagerly anticipated book that lived up to Nick’s previous volume, Echoes. Having written such a well received first book, the follow up was always going to a tough act to follow but Nick has achieved this with room to spare.
As one of the UK’s top all round climbers, he came relatively late to the scene, having pursued a career in the prison service which provided a degree of security in all senses of the word. It’s a brave man who chucks in such security and certainty to chase a dream. Tides is subtitled “A Climber’s Voyage” and does exactly what it says on the tin. Lots of relatively short chapters cover his new life as a dirt bag climber. With his mortgage paid off, he could have done all sorts but all the cards were thrown in the air as he embarked on the travelling lifestyle of a full time climber flitting between cliffs in the UK and the big hills of the greater ranges.
Sacrifices are made but the one thing that really comes across is the honesty and integrity of the writing. Nature’s beauty has to be balanced against a brutal environment that has claimed many friends. There are some great character sketches of well known figures on the climbing scene.
It’s a fast moving book, in a way very modern with bite sized chunks, short chapters that are beautifully written. For me, the only downside was that I’d like to have read more, perhaps longer chapters with even more depth but then the book would have had to be huge.
I love the title with it’s hint of movement, ebb and flow, ups and downs. The cover design is brilliant with a very evocative painting by Tessa Lyons but I do wonder if it is a bit too subtle for the non climbing market.
Highly recommended and a book I read from cover to cover in one sitting.