Travels with Tilman SFCC Forum Special

7.30pm Friday 4th October 2019

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Bill Tilman's climbing and sailing achievements rank amongst the greatest in the fields of twentieth century mountaineering and high latitude sailing. By the time of his disappearance in the South Atlantic in 1977, he had left a legacy of some of the finest travel books ever written. Quoted as an inspiration by both Chris Bonington and Robin Knox-Johnston, Tilman's books remain essential reading for those who embark on similar ventures.

Born in 1898, Tilman was a highly decorated military leader who survived the brutality of the Great War and volunteered for covert operations behind enemy lines leading Albanian partisans during the Second World War. Apart from this extraordinary wartime service, the rest of his life was spent climbing in and sailing to remote parts of the world, stopping only to write the fifteen books which document his travels.

Bob Comlay was one of only a handful of crew-members who chose to return for a second voyage, earning a level of trust that gives him unique insight into the true character of this self-effacing legend of twentieth century exploration. This talk will cover a brief biography of Tilman and will give an account of the two Greenland voyages of 1970 and 1971. The talk is illustrated by around one hundred unpublished colour photographs and extracts from private correspondence.