VALE - Giles Barker

Giles Barker was killed in Matlenzo, Spain, in August at the aged 36 doing what he loved best: exploring and photographing a cave system. He developed an interest in rock climbing at Repton school and pursued it with the same fanaticism that he later brought to his caving. He was a highly competent arid safe climber and became president of Sheffield University Climbing Club. He was also a member of the Climbers Club and his desire to explore led to several new routes. Giles had a great knowledge and interest in the history and traditions of both climbing and caving. He was proud to have contributed to some of the Peak District climbing guides of the 1980s.
Drawn to caving because of an elbow injuries that prevented him from climbing he was soon a total convert. He was a member of the SWCC but, when he moved north Bullpot Farm became his second home and he reveled in the weekends spent there as many of us can testify. Despite his relatively short time caving he had explored extensively in Britain and abroad. He gave much to the sport and had many plans for the future, including developing guide book writing. guide book writing.
Always a keen photographer, Giles quickly progressed into photographing caves. His dedication, attention to detail and bloody-minded determination led to excellent results: he won BCRA awards at the end of last year as well as the last two RRCPC competitions. It is a small consolation that he has left so much of his work. It is a greater consolation that he has left so many strong and positive memories. From his untiring digging trips to Diamond Hall to his uncanny knack of bringing out a mountain of cakes and crisps for a quick snack between pitches, it was hard to do anything with Giles halfheartedly. Giles loved everything about caving, especially the people he shared it with. He was as happy enthusing and inspiring beginners as pushing his own caving.

In his teaching too, Giles showed a rare ability to help and inspire others. The Postgraduate Certificate in Education course in outdoor pursuits which he did at Bangor University in 1980 had a strong influence on him - and him on it! Numerous youngsters benefited from his experience, particularly when he worked for Fairbridge Drake in Cardiff. On moving to Manchester at the end of 1990 he took up a post in the university training department It is hard to imagine that this left time for anything else, but he brought the same energy to all of his interests which were as varied as archaeology, history and thee making and playing of early musical instruments and a huge diversity of music in general.

Giles had definite ideas about everything and a very direct way of sharing them. There was nothing quite so challenging as a blast of Barker down the phone to get you off your backside.  

He will be sadly missed by many people.

Rick and Clare Scott.

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