A CLIMBER who began his career climbing Bolton quarries has scaled new heights after winning a major award for a book charting his exploits.

Paul Pritchard won the Boardman Tasker Memorial Award for Mountain Literature for his book, Deep Play - a Climber's Odyssey from Llanberis to the Big Walls, drawing on his experiences across the world.

The award is one of only two of its kind and Paul, aged 30, who now lives in a hill farm with his partner Celia Bull, said he was delighted to receive the prestigious honour.

Born in Belmont Road, Bolton, he discovered his love of climbing as a boy in nearby Wilton Quarry and was taught to climb by Harold Wooley, the former physics teacher at Smithills School, where he was a pupil.

He said: "I am very pleased to get this award because it is very prestigious. I have always loved climbing since I was a boy.

"I used to play around in the quarries near my home and at school I could choose between playing football and climbing. I hated football and team sports, so it was an easy choice."

After leaving school, Paul spent two years climbing in Bolton but then moved to the capital of British climbing in Llanberis, North Wales, where he lives with his partner.

But he has strong connections with Bolton and his mother, Jean Allen, still lives in Barrow Bridge.

His climbing exploits have taken him on trips to Baffin Island, Canada, and Patagonia in Argentina, and his style of climbing involves scaling steep mountain walls rather than high peaks.

He accepted the prize and cheque for £2,000 at the Alpine Club in London after returning from a 1,300 metre rock climb on Aksu in the Pamirs.

He is currently on a lecture tour in the Republic of Ireland.

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