Obituary of Robert John Wooton Staynes

21st March 1968 - 2nd January 1997

The Conditions Just Weren't Right

I met Bobby through my friendship with Barry & knew him for about ten years. During that time we never had a cross word, although I was witness to several arguments Bobby had with others.

When I first met Bobby he was very shy and hated mixing with people. He avoided visiting the pub and tended to stick with people he knew.

Within a year of our first meeting he had passed his driving test - and at once we all were exposed to his daring. On one occasion I remember that we nearly went into a boulder, and one frequently felt that you were about to meet your end - as he overtook on corners, blind summits etc.

Often we would meet at his parents' house, play games, go for walks or if mischief was in the air blow things up. For Bobby was interested in pyrotechnics and used to make home made bombs. Powerful home made bombs, powerful enough to blow wooden poles to splinters.

In addition to his daring streak Bobby was extremely stubborn and would never do anything he did not want to do. Of course this aspect of his character had its positive aspects. He could demonstrate a real determination to succeed - and in doing so showed us up as lacklustre.

As long ago as 1992 he demonstrated how determined he could be when he went to Scotland, backpacked over a multitude of Munros and met me at Loch Laggan. We then spent a further week in Scotland together during which time I got up my first Munro despite the poor weather.

Poor weather used to annoy Bobby; particularly if he wanted to go walking. He would often denounce the "wretched rain" but despite hopelessly inclement conditions he usually went out anyway; only abandoning his goal after the expenditure of great effort and accompanied by the refrain "The conditions just weren't right".

His stubbornness manifested itself during arguments. Bobby applied two rules during any debate. The first stated that Bobby was always right; the other stated that on those rare occasions that he was not, you should refer to rule number one. Such was his pigheadedness that he would argue that black was white until everyone was quite exhausted.

In his later days Bobby moved to Westerham, where at first he lived a more or less respectable existence. He even joined the local Conservative party and was active in local democracy. However as time passed and with his parents' separation and subsequent divorce he lost interest in the normal conventions of society.

He ceased all progress with his house renovation, leaving it half re-built and in an awful mess. He also took up rock climbing.

His appetite for climbing, once wetted, became insatiable, and in time - less than two years - he became to all intents and purposes a professional climber - his computer programming career becoming a mere adjunct to his life.

Bobby had the build, he had the determination, he had plenty of money and he made the time available; in just two years he went from a novice clinging to a "diff" to leading E3, seconding E6.

When asked about the risks involved he answered "It's better to die young doing something exciting than to live to an old age."

Well Bobby did die young, and his last moments would have been exciting, for on the second of January 1997 he fell to his death - ice climbing in Slovakia.

It is given for us each to die.

We will all go on that last great adventure.

Is it better to cling to a life of fear?

Or is it better to go gladly doing something you wholeheartedly enjoy?

It is something that each must decide.

Bobby's goals were his own and others may not have deemed them to be sensible yet in his 28 years he accomplished quite a bit and I don't think he either intended or indeed wished to last.

Bobby had always wished to be cremated - and in this his wish was granted.

Bobby had wished for his ashes to be scattered from the mountain tops of the world - perhaps a little ambitious - we, his friends, offered to scatter them in Scotland. In this we failed for his family had other plans. Perhaps this note will suffice - the only tangible memory of a friend.

The original Microsoft Word document was created by Johnathan David Dennett on May 9th 1997.

This document was found on a floppy disk on the summit of Carn Eighe (1183m) by Jim, Mark, Dave, Conrad, Sam and Dave on Thursday May 15th 1997. We have added this note and replaced it on a different Munro for future discovery.