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Meetings on the Edge

Meetings On The Edge is a travel memoir by a once-frustrated journalist for the BBC, who took the plunge and abandoned a ten year career to follow her dream to become a mountaineer. The book explores the impact of a solitary journey as well as unexpected encounters with fascinating people along the way. The different natural environments mirror the demands of an evolving quest. The many lessons of natureA 's classroom are against a background of adventure, discovery and considerable personal risk. Like all quests, the incidental insights and surprising events challenge the romantic idea of adventure. Stories from Alaska, the Pacific North West, the Himalaya and New ZealandA 's Southern Alps are interwoven into the central adventure of traversing the French and Spanish Pyrenees alone. Tales to highlight include encountering a naked and all too aroused flasher far off the beaten track, a colourful relationship with NepalA 's most famous civilian, a film star, two weeks after the royal massacre, and summiting Denali, North AmericaA 's highest peak, while the expedition dwindled from 9 to just 4 due to life-threatening illness and mishap. But it was after a chance meeting with a wise Maori man and a solitary encounter with a 2000 year old Kauri tree in an ancient forest, that the author experiences an epiphany: that a restless, goal-driven life is not the most fulfilling. The book ends in the foothills of the Pyrenees, where the freedom she has experienced is in marked contrast to the security-conscious existence of those living there. The electric gates, fencing and hedgerows project a community in fear of those very open spaces which had broadened her horizons.
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Table of Contents

CONTENTS Acknowledgements Prologue Map of Pyrenees Introduction - Trigger Point: 2003 PART 1 - OCCIDENTAL PYRENEES Map of Pyrenees-Occidentales 1. First Steps 2. Learning the Ropes 3. Straining at the Leash 4. Dipping Toes 5. Unexpected Twists PART 2 - NEPAL 6. A Kingdom and its Subjects: 2001 7. A Brush with Celebrity 8. Himalayan Snapshots 9. Pisang Peak 10. Touch of Drama 11. Kathmandu Farewells PART 3 - APPROACH TO HAUTES-PYRENEES Map of Occidentales/Hautes-Pyrenees 12. Flight of the Griffon: 2003 13. Changing Fortunes 14. The Gossip of Lescun 15. Folly and Danger PART 4 - LONDON - AMERICA 16. Gateway to Change: Spring 2005 17. Alaskan Heights 18. Digging In 19. Summit Setbacks 20. Rescue 21. Resolution 22. Skagit Magic PART 5 - HAUTES-PYRENEES - INDIA - NEW ZEALAND Map of Hautes-Pyrenees 23. Count of Vignemale Country: 2003 Map of Ordesa Canyon 24. Angels of Ordesa 25. Learning the Language: November 2005 26. Enlightenment and the Obroys 27. Land of Birds: September 2005 28. Stolen Boot 29. Father Tree PART 6 - ORIENTAL PYRENEES Map of Pyrenees-Orientales 30. The Warrior's Way: 2003 31. The Mayor of Baillestavy 32. Fireworks: 2002 Boundaries: 2003

About the Author

Mags MacKean was born and raised at sea level, the youngest of four daughters. A love of mountains struck some years later. Her spartan schooling near the wild Scottish Highlands exposed her to the freedom of the outdoors, not so much to scale its heights, but for the cover it provided for illicit smoking and swilling a heady mix of rum and irn-bru. A chance trip to Kilimanjaro changed everything. As a radio and TV news reporter, Mags uprooted from London and moved to Glasgow for the mountains. After three generously sanctioned career breaks, she finally obeyed her restless calling and quit her job in 2005. She has since roamed in some of the world's remotest mountain areas, often alone and needing all her resources during some surprise adventures. Mags spent much of last year working with Tibetan refugees in north India while researching for her next book, a novel about their life in exile. She has attended the prestigious Banff Mountain Writing Programme.

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