World famous mountaineers paid tribute to legendary Wirral-born climber, Alan Rouse, as a blue plaque was unveiled in his honour in June at the site where he literally learned the ropes.
Rab Carrington and Brian Hall attended the ceremony in person, while Sir Chris Bonington sent a written tribute which was read out as the plaque was unveiled at the Breck in Wallasey.
The Friends of the Breck worked with Conservation Areas Wirral in having the blue plaque installed and they have also established the Alan Rouse Memorial Garden in the grounds too.
Alan Rouse’s extraordinary climbing career had begun as a teenager, scaling the crag at The Breck 50 years ago. He went on to become the first British mountaineer to summit the second highest peak on earth; the formidable K2 in the Himalayas on 4th August 1986 before he tragically died from exposure days later as he attempted to descend in a fierce snow storm.
Sir Chris Bonington said:
‘Al Rouse was mercurial; brilliant in so many ways, warm hearted and kind was one of the great characters of British climbing. It’s very appropriate that he is remembered in this lovely, peaceful park where, for him, it really all started.”
Other memorable figures from Wirral’s past have been honoured with Blue Plaques in recent times:-
- Ann Davison - the first woman to sail the Atlantic single-handed, who lived at Mere Brook House, Thornton Hough
- Edward Kemp, who laid out Birkenhead Park to the original design of Joseph Paxton
- William Ralph “Dixie” Dean at Tranmere Rovers FC, who – during his time at Everton FC – set an all-time league goalscoring record of 60 goals in the 1927-28 season, which has never been equalled.