Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Where fiction and mountain rescue meet


My short story about a mountain rescue, ‘The Weight of The Earth and the Lightness of the Human Heart’ is broadcast on Friday 4th July as part of a week of BBC Radio 4 stories themed, ‘S.O.S. – Save Our Souls’, to commemorate 100 years of the international distress signal. The story was recently published in my second short story collection ‘The Searching Glance’.

The story was inspired by my own adventures on foot in the hills, talking to a member of a mountain rescue team and learning about the mythology of the iconic hill, Schiehallion. The Producer summarises the story, ‘a climber teeters between life and death on a remote hillside as a rescue team search for him. This small human drama catches the attention of the mountain itself in a tale which skilfully blends love, loss and mythology in a lyrical ode to human tenacity’. Ralph Riach is the reader. The story is particularly apt for 2008 which marks the 75th anniversary of mountain rescue in Great Britain.

During the week, this and other commissioned stories by Colette Paul, Paul Magrs, Alison Joseph, and Stuart MacBride, include the most literal portrayal of an SOS signal to the loosest interpretation of a cry for help - and everything in between.

The following day I leave for the Alps, to follow in my father’s footsteps on his summit-bid of 1952. This is part of the project for which I was awarded a Creative Scotland Award in 2007 to write a series of ‘journey-essays’ inspired by human stories in ‘wilderness’ areas. The ten walking journeys include a Scottish drove road and ‘Mozarabic Trails’ in south-eastern Spain.

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