'The British Alps' Exhibition Opens November 2022
Award-winning artist Helen G S Forde brings her latest exhibition ‘The British Alps’ to the Alpine Club. The show is an exploration of the Cuillin Ridge on the Isle of Skye, perhaps the most iconic mountain range in Britain and one with which Helen has a deep, personal connection.
‘The British Alps’ details this remarkable mountain landscape; from the rock architecture of the ridge itself to the deep cut valleys and green lochs that surround it. In oil and charcoal, ink, pen and watercolour, Helen’s work evokes a sense of place and offers an insight into the individuals who have made history amongst the gabbro and basalt.
Featured in the exhibition is Dr J. Norman Collie, President of the Alpine Club from 1920 to 1923, and a climber who had an abiding relationship with the Cuillin. Collie discovered climbing in the range when, aged 17, he came to Skye on a fishing trip and made an ascent of Am Basteir with local man John Mackenzie. He would return many times, pioneering new routes alongside Mackenzie with whom he became firm friends.
Dr J Norman Collie - Sligachan. Inks, Brush & Pen
The Inaccessible Pinnacle. Charcoal & Oil
Another figure who left his mark on “The British Alps” is Helen’s father Woodhurst Edward Forde who, with Ian Charleson, made the first ascent of The Greater Traverse of the Cuillin in 1939. Writing in the Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal, Charleson recalled:
“Beneath us the Island of Soay stood out like a map in bas-relief. We could dimly discern, too, many of the islands of the Inner Hebrides. At this point Forde burst into song, possibly in his enthusiasm for this unparalleled scene. I followed his example, and in very good spirits we proceeded along the ridge…We had our first meal at the foot of King's Chimney, after which pleasant interlude I had the pleasure of watching Forde leading this steep climb with the same effortless ease that I had admired on many previous occasions.”
Winter - Sgurr Mhic Choinnich. Oil on canvass
Am Basteir. Watercolours & Ink
“When I climb the King’s Chimney using the same hand and footholds as my Father, I experience a range of strong emotions. I have tried to engender these emotions and feelings into the heart of the works throughout this exhibition.”
Helen G S Forde
Please Note: The Alpine Club will be closed from 19 December to 02 January inclusive and the exhibition will be closed to visitors during this period.
You can see a full collection of the works on display here.