My friend Kev Reynolds, who died at the age of 78, wrote dozens of walking and trekking guides that covered all kinds of terrain and geography, from the South Downs to the foothills of Everest.
His first book was Walks and Ascents in the Pyrenees, published in 1978 and now in its seventh edition. Many more followed, providing information on trails and routes in the Swiss Alps, the Bernese Oberland, the Valais region and many other regions. He has also written guides to hiking routes in Britain, including the North Downs Way and the Cotswold Way, and was the author of the fifth edition of the popular book Trekking the Tour of Month White (2020).
Born in Ingatestone, Essex, Kev was the second son of Kathleen (née Coombs) and her husband, Ronald, painter and decorator. After leaving Moulsham High School in Chelmsford in 1958, he began working in local government as a filing clerk in the county town hall, but fled to the highlands of the Lake District, Snowdonia and of Scotland whenever he could, quickly becoming a strong, confident climber.
In 1967 he married Min (Linda) Dodsworth, after which the couple worked at a youth hostel in St Moritz in Switzerland, where they were able to explore the mountains of the beautiful Engadine region in the east of the country. . Returning to the UK in 1968, they took over the management of a youth hostel in Crockham Hill in Kent, and after contributing a few magazine articles Kev established a relationship with writer and author Walt Unsworth , co-founder of Cicerone Presse, which publishes hiking, climbing and mountaineering guides.
Kev’s breakthrough came in 1976 when Walt, famous for his development as slightly gruff but benevolent authors, suggested that he expand some of the articles he had written on the Pyrenees into a comprehensive book for Cicerone. The result was the first edition of Walks and Ascents in the Pyrenees, which sparked a host of other books over the next decades.
Much of Kev’s initial production focused on Europe, but he eventually broadened his horizons to the Himalayas. A first trip to the region was in 1989, when he trekked to Kangchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world, and over the next 30 years he made nearly 20 visits to Nepal and the border regions of India. Min also became a Himalayan trekker, joining Kev on many trips, and books naturally followed – guides to Annapurna, Everest, Kangchenjunga, Langtang and Manaslu – which the last Kev considered ” the most beautiful promenade in the world “.
Kev and Cicerone had formed an unbreakable connection over the decades, so as Cicerone’s 50th birthday approached in 2019, he gladly took on the orchestration of a book, Fifty Years of Adventure., celebrate this landmark.
He supplemented the income he made from writing books by leading walking groups around the Alps for tour operators Inghams and Thomson, and around the Himalayas with Sherpa Expeditions and Mountain Kingdoms. He has also been a photojournalist for outdoor magazines and a speaker, traveling across the country to lecture on different mountain ranges.
As complete as it is, Kev’s outdoor exploration and writing was only a part of his life. As a husband, father and active member of his church and community in Crockham Hill, he touched many lives.
He is survived by Min, their daughters Claudia and Ilsa and their grandchildren Charlie and Billy.