Professor David Smith was killed in a tragic accident on Tryfan on 13th November 2015. This is in memory of him.
I first met David a few years ago where I started climbing with him locally plus further afield and David always brightened up the day with his enthusiasm, warmth and that big laugh of his. We had many great days out together (most recently at Shakemantle Quarry in the Forest of Dean in October) at diverse climbing venues such as Lundy Island, Portland, The Roaches, Cheddar Gorge and Symond’s Yat to name but a few. I will greatly miss David as he was a good friend and climbing partner of mine…
The first time I remember meeting Dave he bounded up to me with that wonderful big grin on his face and was so welcoming and friendly. We ended up climbing together and instantly I felt a partnership and strong friendship forming. Dave was one of the safest climbers I’ve known, but he was also just such fun to be with, cheery, interested in the world around him, energetic, thoughtful, chatty and thoroughly enjoyable company.
I hugely admired the way he’d built his career, having left school with relatively few qualifications and joined the merchant navy, then on to a degree and an academic life that never lost sight of the real world. It seemed to me that Dave’s was a career built utterly on his own qualities as a man, his limitless energy, his positive outlook on life, his questioning mind and intelligence.
Over the past year, I have so many happy memories of him – on Lundy, at Wintours Leap, in Fairy Cave Quarry near Bristol, and Cornwall. I’ll never forget a beautiful evening there only a couple of months ago where my wife Maryon and I sat with him in a pub garden for an hour or so as the sun went down, talking endlessly about the past and the future.
Dave was a true friend, generous, caring, and utterly warm-hearted. I will miss him hugely. My climbing life – indeed, my whole life – is diminished by his loss.
I climbed with David a lot over the last 3 years including Dartmoor, Cornwall, Staffordshire, North Wales and lastly 4 glorious days in Lundy in September. He was funny, happy and truly enjoyed life… a people person and a delight to be around. A gathering was always more complete with David. He was reliable, solid and a safe climber. I was due to climb with David in North Wales that sad weekend but my enduring memory of him will be Lundy.
I met Dave on my very first AMC away trip. It was at a campsite near Borrowdale where he had arrived the day before. He gave me a great smile and walked over and introduced himself. I immediately knew Dave was a great chap. The following day Dave, Abi and I went off to Great Gable to climb on the Napes. Dave had no issue taking a complete novice along (me) and ‘showing me the ropes’. He certainly gave me a great introduction to outdoor lead climbing. I will always remember that day as one of my best experiences climbing and, of course, remember the great company. The following day, Dave took me out again and we went over to Buttermere and climbed a great route on Black Crag. Again, an unforgettable day with really good company. Dave’s background was certainly interesting and we had a great time speaking engineer to engineer. Since this trip I have regularly paired up or tripled up with Dave on away trips and also been on some great winter scrambles in a group with Dave. He was always incredibly good spirited and kept everyone entertained with his brilliant leadership style. In addition, I will always remember how much fun and laughter was had with Dave at the Pub in the evening. This was a man who didn’t need to have a drink to have fun at the pub! I will never forget how kind, fun and happy Dave always was. We will certainly miss him.