Showell Styles (known to his friends as "Pip") was a prolific author with over 160 published books. I think that I first became aware of his mountaineering writing when I used to read "Climber and Rambler", where he published several articles. He also contributed to Ken Wilson's "Classic Rock" writing about three climbs on the East Face of Tryfan.
<div class="photofloatr"> <p><a href="/images/backpackinginwales.jpg" rel="lightbox" title="Backpacking in Wales."> <img src="/images/backpackinginwales.jpg" alt="Backpacking in Wales."></a></p> <p>Backpacking in Wales.</p>
My father was an avid reader of seafaring books and one day I noticed him reading a book by Showell Styles and that's how I found about his fiction. Although I have my father's copies of many of his seafaring fiction, I have never read any of his mountaineering books.
A few months ago I read a post on Outdoors Magic which described following one of Styles' routes described in his "Backpacking in Wales" book the "Bay to Bay" walk. After reading the post I decided I would also like to read "Backpacking in Wales". Although Styles books have long been out of print, most of them are available from second hand booksellers. A quick search showed up several copies, but for some reason they were all priced between £20 and £35. This seemed a little strange because almost all of Styles other books are available for less than £10. Even stranger - if I visited the US sites of these same booksellers the same book was available for $6! For a while I considered trying to order the book via the US site. The books themselves were all dispatched from Britain, but I decided that this probably wouldn't work.
Today I was in Shrewsbury and went into a second hand book shop to see if they had any mountaineering books. In the section with books about Wales I found a copy of "Backpacking in Wales" in excellent condition for £4.Unable to believe my good fortune, I promptly bought it.
There is a plate inside the book showing it originally belonged to DAG Hampton Davies. The plate has a Welsh inscription "Duw Gwir a Gwiad". The book itself is divided into three sections "Journeys for a Fortnight", "Journeys for a Week" and "Journeys for a Weekend". Each day of a walk is preceded by a detailed route description, followed by Styles' own account of the day. haven't read all the book yet, but it has already given me several new ideas for walks and Styles' descriptions of the Welsh landscape and his journeys through it are always worth reading.
"Backpacking in Wales" by Showell Styles was published by Robert Hale (London) in 1977.