Whitby doctor’s Hardest Climb

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A WHITBY doctor and mountaineer who almost died from a brain haemorrhage is on top of the world after a book he wrote on his dramatic experiences was nominated for two literary awards - despite it not yet hitting the shelves.

Dr Alistair Sutcliffe, a partner at Whitby Group Practice, became the first man to summit the highest mountain on each of the seven continents at his first attempt and his adventures have seen him held at gunpoint as well as watching other climbers fall to their deaths.

But in February last year he suffered a bleed on the brain and was left fighting for his life. Doctors told his wife Clare to say her last goodbyes.

He survived and during his remarkable recovery penned The Hardest Climb which was snapped up by York-based publishers Bluemoose who have been inundated with orders for it.

The Hardest Cliimb has already been nominated for two prestigious awards - The William Hill Sports Book of the Year and the Boardman Tasker Prize for mountain literature - and will go on sale from 1 May in Waterstones and WHSmith up and down the country.

The book, which has a foreword by Sir Chris Bonington, will also be featured in the Daily Mail and TV and radio appearances are also in the pipeline for Dr Sutcliffe who will be carrying out a number of book signings including two in Whitby.

He said: “I feel amazed about the success of the book and the public response it has had so far. I feel extremely proud of it.

“I never intended to write my story but after the brain haemorrhage I wanted to put my memories down on paper incase I had another and lost all my memory. It was important to crystallize my memories in case I forgot them.

“I hope that people find it an interesting read. It’s motivational and encouragement to allow people to always have hope no matter what happens in life.

“To a large extent you can control your own destiny by self belief by overcoming adversity.”

While in intensive care Dr Sutcliffe, who believes climbing at high altitude actually saved his life, had a near death experience.

And just over a year on, he is already writing his second book called Walking the Kerb on the subject which includes his own dice with death as well as looking at the religious, sceptical and lay person perspective of near death experiences.

A week last Sunday, the determined GP ran the London Marathon - his 50th marathon but as is usual it didn’t quite go according to plan.

He fell into a bin at the start line, breaking one of his ribs but managed to still finish in the top half of runners.

“I was in a very black place this time last year,” he said. “I had come back from hospital and I watched the London Marathon. My friend who I usually run with was there on the TV.

“When I ran it this year we ran it together and we finished together.

“I was in pain all the way round. The motto in my book is ‘never give up’ and there was no way I wouldn’t finish it.”

Don’t miss Friday’s Whitby Gazette for a chance to win one of three signed copies of The Hardest Climb and details of Dr Sutcliffe’s Whitby book signings.