Jim Curran Testimonial at Kendal Mountain Festival

Jim Curran | Image © Niall Grimes

Jim Curran | Image © Niall Grimes

Join us at Kendal Mountain Festival for a special event in memory of Jim Curran, one of the founders of Kendal Mountain Festival and “a genuine Renaissance man of climbing”.The event will be held at The Box in Kendal, on Saturday 19 November at 3pm.

The Testimonial will be a proper Festival celebration to include a montage of his films, plus many of his friends and family on hand to share some testimonials, recollections and stories from Jim’s eventful life. Tickets are £9.50 (money raised will be going to a charity close to Jim's heart) and available here.

Jim's creative life saw him achieve excellence as a filmmaker, writer and artist, always connected to his love of climbing and the mountains. His film The Bat (based on the short story 'The Bat and the Wicked' by Robin Smith) was shown at one of the early Kendal events and he went on to make many more films with the greats of British mountaineering including Chris Bonington, Joe Tasker, Alan Rouse, Joe Brown and Pete Boardman. He also filmed in the Andes, Caucasus and Atlas Mountains and China and nearer home, on St Kilda and the Old Man of Hoy where he filmed Catherine Destivelle's solo of the sea stack for Rock Queen.

As a writer he produced a variety of books including Trango, The Nameless Tower, K2 Triumph and Tragedy, Suspended Sentences and K2 The Story of the Savage Mountain, which won the non-fiction award at the Banff Mountain Book Festival in 1996. He also wrote the authorised biography of Chris Bonington, High Achiever The Life and Climbs of Chris Bonington. His final book, Here, There and Everywhere... The Autobiography of Jim Curran, included a section evaluating and illustrating his paintings. He was very involved with the Boardman Tasker Award and served as a judge for two years. He was shortlisted for the award no less than five times and although he never won he was presented with a well-deserved BT Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. He had taken up painting after his retirement from his work as a lecturer at Bristol Polytechnic when he rekindled his love of drawing and painting tackling a wide variety of subjects ranging from the Peak District to the Himalaya, taking in Scotland, Africa, India and Spain. A number of these were painted on some particularly large canvases, including a series of the sandstone crags of Kent where he had begun his climbing career.

Jim was so much more than his work though, he was a wit, a storyteller and was often at the centre of a lively social scene. His house in Sheffield was frequently the venue for post-pub parties and climbers from all over the world would appear and join in. His was a welcoming 'open house' for many and his pre-Christmas parties were always jam-packed and would last from lunch time to the early hours. Although never the most talented of climbers he was steady and a brilliant partner and was always an enthusiast for a climbing trip and enjoyed climbing with some of the best climbers and biggest characters Britain has produced such as Don Whillans, Chris Bonington, Joe Brown and Ian MacNaught-Davis.

… written by Ian Smith