- Book: Just Another Mountain
- Location: Nepal, Scotland, Scottish Highlands
- Author: Sarah Jane Douglas
Shortlisted for the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards 2020, APA Publications Travel Memoir Book of the Year.
Sarah didn’t have the easiest of childhoods but when her Mum is taken from her with breast cancer, she has to revolutionise her sliding world. The memoir opens in 2008 and the author sets the scene for the coming trials in her life.
She never really knew her father, who gamely stops by her house one day when she is 17 years old and decides to show her his disco venue, transporting her in his flash car. Not an auspicious opening to establishing a father-daughter bond. Then, in her adult life, she also struggles to find a good enough partner for herself and someone who would be happy to be with her and her two children.
She decides that changes are needed and she discovers that mountain trekking/climbin proves to be a balm to her troubled soul. At first she tackles some of the smaller (I say smaller, but it’s all relative) peaks in Scotland and then is inspired to trek Kilimanjaro and the surrounding area. The experience of her climbing adventures in Africa spur her to start tackling the Munros (these are mountains in Scotland that are over 3000 feet). She then heads to Nepal in 2014 which is a further test of endurance (especially with a terrible stomach bug!). Her mission in Nepal is also to find a suitable place to scatter her Mother’s ashes, perhaps somehow closing the circle of loss and sadness in such a stunning and challenging place.
After getting her life on a reasonable level, another cataclysmic event befalls her, requiring a strength of character. She describes this in the Postscript.
This is a candid account of a young woman’s life, someone who has had to deal with loss and tremendous difficulties, both in the tasks she sets herself and in her personal life. She steers a course through friendship and partners, life and love. Despite all that life has thrown at her, she gradually finds an acceptance of who she is and not who she thought she should be. The style is easy to read and the memoir is written with panache and a captivating ingenuity that hooks the reader in.