Craig Harwood 1961 to 2014 - A Tribute By Miles Hillmann
Craig Harwood was killed in a leader fall from a climb (Caravanserai) at Compass Point, North Devon on 4th September 2014. Much of his early climbing and running from the mid 1980s through to his leaving the area to live in Cheshire in 2001 was as a Bowline member. In addition Craig was also a very active member of the Climber’s Club and Macclesfield Harriers. He was also a valued volunteer contributor to the activities of the British Mountaineering Council.
From his catch phrase “You’ll be alright Boyahh”, Craig was always better known to Bowliners as Craig Boyahh.
Climber, fell runner, architect with vision, and friend, he was the sort of guy you just didn’t want to let down, and giving up wasn’t in his vocabulary. Dave Connolly, who never lets the facts get in the way of a good story, best sums up Craig’s infectious enthusiasm and competitive spirit:
“Some classics have to be the Wednesday night Peak District dash one glorious summers
evening to tick Darius on High Tor. Unfortunately the dash was a bit hasty as when we
arrived at the car park Craig had no rucksack with any climbing gear; luckily he’d thrown
in a plastic bag containing an old pair of EB’s to drop off to get re-soled. So after stealing
some laces from his trainers and with a couple of slings and crabs from my rack he had a
harness. A single 9mm rope would have to do and a couple of hours later we were at the
top with the biggest grins you could imagine. “
Climbing with Craig in the 1990’s you could always ensure a full on day or evening’s activity. One evening alone in 1998 we did seven top-class routes on Wildcat, and his big routes ticks even then included the classics of the Comici Route on the Cima Grande di Lavaredo (1996) and the North Face of Rocchetta Alta di Bosconero (1998). Later on he was to work his way through both Classic Rock and Hard Rock as well as summiting all the Munros and most of the Corbetts.
Calpe in Spain where he ticked off a host of the bolted crag routes and generally enjoyed the evenings as much as the days were a favourite of his. One ended with Craig and Andy Teasdale dancing on top of their hire car outside the bar: somehow the roof survived, but needed a little kick from Craig from the inside lying on his back on the floor to save the deposit.
As well as a climber Craig was a very experienced fell runner and mountain marathon veteran competing at the very top levels in these sports. You could tell this as he could barely see out of the back window of his car for Karrimor Mountain Marathon stickers dating back over the years. In 1990 Craig and John Redmayne turned their attention to the reputedly much harder Swiss Karrimor – and won it. For four years on the trot, from 1991 – 1994, Craig was a member of the Bowline Team that won the team prize in famous and much contested Tough Guy cross country with obstacles, a result much to the chagrin of both the SAS team and numerous ‘proper’ athletics clubs! In the late 1990’s he took on the organisation of the Bowline’s Charnwood Hills Fell Race, helping its transition from a modest local affair into the major event that it now is.
In the other world of work, Craig was a talented architect with a passion for Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s use of texture, light and shadow rather than ornament, winning architectural awards for his design at Ash Tree Farm in Leicestershire. Typically, he made his professional expertise freely available to our climbing community. He was current chair of the BMC Huts Committee, and served on the Huts Management Committee for eight years between 1995 and 2003, as well as serving on the main committee between 1999 and 2003. For the Climber’s Club, he was the main architect in the redesign and major improvements to the Count House at Bosigran, and the purchase and conversion of Riasg in Roybridge. Over the years he was also involved in many improvements made to Ynys Ettws in the Llanberis Pass.
From the mid 1980’s to his move to Macclesfield around 2001 Craig infected his friends in the Bowline Climbing club with his enthusiasm for life. At least he died climbing doing what he loved. A tribute from the order of service sums it up.
“The boat is safest if it is in port, but that is not what boats were built for”