Robynne Eller Reviews Polly Murray’s show

On 11th February at Boyd Orr theatre in Glasgow, Polly Murray presented the story of her extraordinary life. In 2000, Polly became the first Scottish woman and youngest British woman to summit Mt. Everest.

Along with her best buddy Tash Wright, they have chatted up fellow male mountaineers on Mt. McKinley in Alaska, braved the icy seas of Baffin Bay in a 33ft fibre glass boat and sought and conquered a new ski traverse on Bylot Island in Greenland; an island which has not been crossed since 1963.

There are plenty of similarities between Polly and the Super7 team. She has always been drawn to more the remote locations in the world; the more bizarre the better. Since becoming the first person ever to telemark ski down Mt. Mckinley, Polly has found it her path in life to be the first to experience real adventure.

In 2003 she embarked on an Antarctic enterprise, sailing her way through rough Antarctic waters, discovering the overwhelming wildlife and interestingly-shaped icebergs. The photography that accompanies her talk are jaw dropping.

Although she made it to Everest’s summit in 2000, which in recent years has become buzzing with adventure tourists, who would turn down the chance of such a great offer? It was the first ascent of the Millennium. She was the first Scottish woman to dig her crampons into its icy cwms. And she was blonde.

What draws most people in to listening to Polly’s tales is that she speaks with such strength and gusto; she simply doesn’t possess an off button. In a short time she has squeezed in so much and doesn’t intend to stop any time soon.

In the winter months she works as a ski instructor dotting about the runs of the French Alps or the Pyrenees; where ever the white stuff takes her. During the summer months she works as a rope access builder, restoring and maintaining some of Scotland’s oldest buildings. Polly has also landed herself a sweet little number working with the BBC, as a presenter for CBBC’s ‘Serious’ series which has earned a well deserved BAFTA award. And finally, to top the cake with a cherry; she is one of the faces of outdoor brands Mountain Equipment and outdoor specialist store Tiso Ltd, which have both sponsored her on many trips.

I have come across plenty of accounts through time of women breaking records, making it big and writing a book or talking about it in front of a crowd just because they were a woman. Really, you can’t sniff at anyone who makes an honest buck from doing something that is out of the ordinary which they are passionate about, but Polly forever maintains her modesty without one sliver of arrogance in her tales. With her Mum perched so proudly in the audience, it was such an endearing, beautiful string of stories; the hour had flown by far too quickly.

So next time you see a silhouette of a figure dangling down from an old church in her home town of Blairgowrie, be sure to wave. It’ll make her day.

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