Kev Reynolds in the Alps

Kev Reynolds in the Alps

Publisher Cicerone has paid tribute to one of its top writers, Kev Reynolds, who has died aged 78.

Mr Reynolds established himself as an expert on walkers’ routes in Europe and further afield, as well as the countryside of southern England, where he lived for much of his life.

Jonathan Williams, Cicerone publisher and director, said: “Kev wrote many guides for Cicerone over a period of more than 40 years and was a great contributor to the outdoor world through his books and lectures, where his infectious enthusiasm, deep knowledge, understanding of local people, innumerable stories, fine photos, ability to communicate, and essential decency allowed him to touch the lives of many.

“He was the leading authority on the Pyrenees and author of books that even French experts admired. Likewise, he was a leading writer about the Alps, with many guides to his name, and was the creator of new treks such as the Walkers’ Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt.

“He explored Nepal and the Himalayas extensively over the course of 20 long trips.

“He wrote widely too about England, including Kent, Sussex, and the Cotswolds, from his base in what he termed as the ‘Kentish Alps’.”

Before embarking on his writing career, he ran a youth hostel with his wife Min and their two daughters Claudia and Ilsa.

Mr Reynolds was born in 1943 at Ingatestone in Essex and spent his early working life in local government, spending weekends away in the Lake District, Snowdonia and Scotland.

His first foreign trip was to Morocco in 1965, travelling with friends from the Nansen Club in Hereford, through France and Spain before exploring the Atlas Mountains.

Two years later, newly wed, he and Min started working in a St Moritz hostel, where he honed his skiing and climbing skills. They returned to the UK to run a youth hostel in Kent, where he began supplementing his pay with authorship of walkers’ guidebooks.

He struck up a friendship with magazine editor Walt Unsworth, who had jointly set up Cicerone. Reynolds’s Walks and Climbs in the Pyrenees, first published in 1978 is still in print in its seventh edition.

He followed this with guidebooks on Engadine, the Bernese Alps, Valais region and Ticino and the establishment of the Walkers’ Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt and the Tour of the Jungfrau. French Alpine guides included the Écrins and Vanoise ranges and treks around them. He also took forward the guide to the well-known Tour of Mont Blanc when author Andrew Harper died.

In 1989 he trekked to Kangchenjunga for his first Himalayan guide and subsequently made almost 20 trips to Nepal and the Indian Himalaya, with his wife Min joining him. Books on Annapurna, Everest, Kangchenjunga, and Manaslu followed.

Later he would oversee the compilation of a book celebrating Cicerone’s 50 years of publishing.

Jonathan Williams said: “His lectures through the winter months to groups small and large introduced many to the outdoor life. Latterly, he wrote several books of reminiscences about his explorations of Nepal and the Alps that allowed him to touch the lives of walkers, trekkers and mountain lovers.

“Kev was recognised by his peers as one of the leading writers in his field. He was an honorary member of the British Association of Mountain leaders and the Société d’Etudes de la Littérature Anglophone in France, and a member of the Alpine Club. He was an honorary life member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild and was recognised by the OWPG as one of two recipients of its lifetime achievement award.

“Full as it was, Kev’s outdoor exploration and writing was only a part of his life. As husband and father, active member of his church and community, he touched many lives, and will be fondly remembered and sorely missed. Trekkers will continue to ask, ‘What does Kev say?’, but we shall not see his like again.”