I was interested to read the article on the Cedar Climbers (Stowe Memoirs) written by Pablo Dubois in Corinthian #8. During my time at Stowe, I spent a lot of time ‘in’ the Cedar, in fact as much as I could, so it brought back nice memories.
Paul was a couple of years behind me so things had obviously evolved a bit by his time as I can’t recall anyone racing, or in fact that many climbers at all; although I did climb with Richard Wrottesley and attach a good pic of him at the top, plus a view to the Corinthian Arch. I think it was Simon Sladen (Grafton 61) who got me started and I had already got to the top before the end of my first year, in summer 1958.
I attach Simon’s picture that was published in the Stoic of July 58, so the activity did have a certain respectability about it at that time! I do have some other pictures, including a nice one looking down at the Palladian Bridge, if you are interested.
I well remember the ‘tightrope’, which blocked most people, and also a place called the ‘parachute’. I remember the climb as a particularly atmospheric experience inside this huge dark living organism with its massive branches, and then at the top one emerged out into the sunshine and the magnificent views. Magic.
On my first return to Stowe recently I was quite disappointed to see the tree was no longer climbable so I would be interested to hear details and date of the ‘accident’ that Paul writes about that caused the lower branches to be cut. I have not been able to find any reference to this in later Stoic magazines. Maybe Mr Bevington knows.