Tuesday, 20 October 2015 12:24

An Evening with Alan Hinkes - Opening night reviewed Featured

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As I sat drinking my coffee in a folding chair in a Cotswold Outdoor store in the centre of Aberdeen waiting for the main man to come out, I look around at the posters of a selection of the highest mountains in the world I do try to comprehend the commitment of the individual that attempts such a fete as summiting all 14 of the 8000ers in the world. The image of the front cover of a book is displayed on the projector as people continue to file in behind me and more grey folding chairs emerge from the back store to accommodate the popularity of the event.

IMG 3106

I own the “8000 metres: Climbing the World’s Highest Mountains” book, it was a gift last Christmas. Admittedly I haven’t completed reading it but with a foreword from Brian Blessed and 4 chapters deep I have already had a glimpse of what it has taken to achieve the accolade. There are few that can truly understand what this takes, so I don’t profess I will ever know what it takes. I was keen to hear it from someone who does though.

alan hinkes book

Any encounters of Alan Hinkes I have had previously have been firstly on twitter, he is genuinely one of the most approachable and involved person I have seen on twitter. Next was on Terry Abrahams “Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike” where he is seen climbing off in to the wilds of the Lake District. A very comedic element to the film in my opinion.

So what did I find in real life? Nothing short of what I had come across in social and visual media. A Yorkshire man that has mountains and climbing in his bones. A man who is among the elite in his field but is modest and humble to what he has achieved. Still proud and deservedly so! Proud of his profession and equally, if not more so, of his daughter, who goes everywhere with him. I realise I have formed this opinion from 90 minutes of a talk and social media interaction but I’d like to think I’ve got it right.

hinkes at aberdeen

So as Alan stood in the informal setting surrounded by the packs, tents and cookers stocked by Cotswolds and dressed head to toe in Fjallraven gear provided by his sponsor, he began to tell us about where it all started and who he’d met on the way. It did start with a small technical hitch which required the assistance of some technical eyewear to resolve.

hinkes with laptop

Once he got going we find out how he progressed to the heights of the Himalaya from his upbringing in Yorkshire and then back there again after (and during) his success in Nepal and Pakistan. How he trained and coped with the mental component of his expeditions. A theme that runs through the talk is the loss that has occurred for people trying for the 14 8000ers. The men and women he points out on the pictures displayed on the projector and how many of them didn’t make it back. This isn’t anything new to what we know already, just a different perspective. A more personal one.

This doesn’t blacken the mood of the evening at all, with Northern (and Mountaineers) humour the talk is entertaining and enlightening. Alan lays out his priorities and strategies that he followed each time he tackled a mountain. An eye opener for me, as he says the talk is a summary of what is in the book but as it comes from a personal viewpoint it almost makes it more real. Granted I haven’t read the whole book as I said, but I will. Now with the Yorkshire overtones as I read it.

alan hinkes talk

Towards the end he expands on what he has been involved in following his last summit in 2005. Everything with one common thread: Mountains. Well and trains but we all have vices!

I did manage to get my book signed as he promised he would on twitter, as he was drawing pictures of mountains I asked him how he managed to fund all these trips. He told me that there was very little sponsorship and in the main was self-funded. This surprised me, in the world of corporate sponsors and post trip report sales and tours we live in now. Alan literally worked towards his goal and achieved it. And as we know Yorkshireman are tighter than Scottish so he must’ve wanted it.

I urge you to get yourself to one of the nights, an informal setting with a genuinely humble and modest man telling a truly epic story! And it’s all true!

hinkes autograph

Cotswolds are hosting and Fjallraven sponsor the events.



20th October 2015 - 6.30pm


22nd October 2015 - 7.00pm

Belfast City

23rd October 2015 - 6.30pm


24th October 2015 - 6.30pm

Royal Oak - Plas Y Brenin

26th October 2015 - 8.00pm


27th October 2015 - 6.30pm


28th October 2015 - 6.30pm

Tunbridge Wells

30th October 2015 - 6.00pm

South Cerney

31st October 2015 - 6.30pm



Last modified on Sunday, 23 October 2016 10:58

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