1. To pay my respects at the funeral service to a real mountain man and old friend Ralph Blain.
2. To test out a MLD Duomid in what was forecast to be an awful weather weekend.
Ralphs funeral service was at 11.30am Friday morning at the small church in Seathwaite.
Ralph, was, as I say, a real mountain man. An Alpinist. Numerous first ascents of routes in the Dolomite mountains of Italy and on Gimmer crag in Langdale, "IF" for example in 1962. A mountain guide. A trainer of outdoor survival to the armed forces of both Australia and New Zealand. A member of Keswick mountain rescue. A teacher of Outdoor pursuits in Ullswater. My mentor during my MLTC modules. A fell race Marshall. An organiser. A husband,dad and grandad. And so much more.
Ralph's appetite for anything outdoors was insatiable and he had great patience especially when teaching children from under privileged backgrounds and with learning difficulties. I was lucky enough to be Ralph's 2nd on numerous occasions and he loved to see the change he brought out of those kids that started out big headed, bullies or introvert. He made good teams in the end and he got lots of respect from them.
Ralph's son Ben did a wonderful eulogy during the service and Ralph's wife Jane read a passage from the bible about Love.
One point which Ben made and it made me laugh because it was so true although I hadn't thought about it before was just how clumsy and sometimes awkward Ralph could be around the house but once he'd put on his walking boots he became a perfect hill athlete. His gait was enormous, his movement on sheer rock worth watching alone. His determination and expertise was 2nd to non.
The church was packed and standing room full too.
I was so privileged to have known him and able to take some of his knowledge and love of all things outdoors.
R.I.P Ralph Blain. Died 16th January 2014. Aged 81.