Nigel Ward’s National Competition Win Featured in Scottish Mountaineer Magazine

Ayr Writers’ Club Treasurer, Nigel Ward, has climbed some mountains in his time – all of the 282 Munros in Scotland, for example – but, scrambling past his prose-writing peers to claim first prize in Mountaineering Scotland’s 2019 Writing Competition, was quite a feat.

Mountaineering Scotland has held an annual UK-wide competition of creative writing for over 30 years. Entries may be fact-based, or fiction – just so long as the subject matter has a connection with an aspect of mountaineering, rock-climbing, or walking. And is under 2000 words. Nigel’s entry, Learning the Ropes, ticked all the boxes and highly impressed the judges. To quote,

“The prose category had plenty of quality entries this year. A tie at third place necessitated a rare casting vote by the co-ordinator, not an easy thing to do! A clear winner was Nigel Ward’s engagingly and deftly written Learning the Ropes, which was nostalgic, relateable and kept your attention and sympathy without striving for effect.”



And indeed it does. Nigel tells in a personal, memoir-style composition, how, inspired by the quirkiest of teachers (the fondly nicknamed, Ichabod), his love of climbing grew out of schoolboy terror –

“Connected to the continuity of life by something that looked as substantial as a pyjama cord, I was 30 feet above the ground, perched on a chapel-sized crag at the end of a field somewhere near Capel Curig. In the early 1970s you didn’t find yourself outside your comfort zone: you were simply scared.”

~ Nigel Ward, Learning the Ropes, Scottish Mountaineer magazine, February 2020

  to a mature man’s lifelong passion,

“The next morning, under mercifully benign and sympathetic skies, and without an honour-guard of midges, I took the final steps in a Munro odyssey that started four decades earlier.”

~ Nigel Ward, Learning the Ropes, Scottish Mountaineer magazine, February 2020

The 2-page spread featuring Nigel’s prize-winning entry is available within the February edition of Scottish Mountaineer magazine.

Nigel regularly blogs his walks on the walkhighlands website.

His report on the 2019 compleation of all Scotland’s Munros can be found HERE and his very latest blog post is HERE.

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