That is it we are off #RideforReuben


Hello and thank you for looking at my page. At the end of May I’m  going to cycle approx 750 miles, as fast as I can, to #RideforReuben who is the 3 year old superhero son of my very close friends. Reuben was diagnosed with aggressive neuroblastoma just days before his 3rd birthday. His wonderful parents need to raise the staggering amount of £250k to get him overseas treatment to fight this rare cancer and carry on his childhood and their family life.

I’m a mum to two young children and I’m not super fit, or a super cyclist. This challenge to ride from the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford, all the way through England to the very tip of Northern Scotland at John O Groats will push me beyond anything I have done before, or even thought of.

But Reuben’s fight is bigger and harder, and he is just little.

My ride will be a maximum of 7 days of punishing physical and mental pain, but little Reuben and his parents Jess and Kul are enduring a far far longer and harder trial. And they’re doing it with bravery and compassion and phenomenal strength. I can ride a few hundred miles to help them save their beautiful son, and I hope you can dig as deep as you can to donate to their fund.

This route usually is tackled over a period of 9- 14 days, but with childcare considerations I don’t have that much time. I will camp to increase flexibility so can go further on some days and hopefully complete even faster than my 7 day deadline. I will have support along the way and will plan ahead to stop for donations at specific points to share #ReubensFight.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul and I will smash this challenge to thank you all for your donations.



Reubens fight

Yvettes Route  –


DAY 1. Fri  26 May – John Ratcliff hospital  – Rushock – 71 miles


DAY 2. Sat  27 May – Rushock  to Frodsham – 91 miles


DAY 3. Sun  28 May – Frodsham – Grasmere – 104 miles


DAY 4 Mon 29 May – Grasmere – Peebles –  110 miles.


DAY 5 Tues 30 May – Peebles – Glenshee – 102 miles


DAY 6 Wed 31 May – Glenshee – Nairn  – 83 miles


DAY 7 Thurs  1 June – Nairn –  Brora – 82 miles


DAY 8 Fri – 2 June –  Brora – JOG – 63 miles.

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Race Track or Tourist Magnet ? The North Coast 500. Any thoughts?

I write this as I head South to assist Yvette with her #RideforReuben bike ride from Oxford to John O’ Groats. We will be following B class roads and taking hopefully a sedate route and a hard 750 miles journey for Charity. It made me thing about other popular routes like the North Coast 500.

A few weeks ago I was up in Assynt visiting a War Grave high in the mountains with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. I drove up after dinner to enjoy the great views of the far North. In Ullapool there were so many classic cars about and the roads were very busy but it was lovely weather and May in Scotland is a magic time. I would imagine that the North Coast 500 has enticed many?  I never want to be elitist as this country is for all to enjoy but how many jobs has this North Coast 500 has made and the money made for the local economies would be an interesting debate?At times on my way further North to Inchnadampth I was overtaken by several boy races in their posh cars and pulled in to let them through. Someone is making a lot of money out of this route?  On the way back home next day there were several convoys again this time taking it easy and enjoying the drive but convoys of 12 cars is pretty daft on these roads in my opions. I been up in the North West for over 40 years in all seasons and as part of a RAF Mountain Rescue and we had a convoy of 6 trucks training in the area. I understand the problems of driving these roads and how hard this must be for the locals going about their business and normal day lives. A lot of the road is single track and blind bends with the odd sheep or deer about and great care must be taken.


The sign at the foot of Bealach na Bà reads “not advised for learner drivers”, but that advice could easily apply to the majority of roads that you’ll encounter along the NC500.

Narrow, single track country roads are all that you’ll encounter for around 200 miles across various sections of the route. Blind corners and summits, hairpin bends and vertiginous edges are commonplace. Throw in that sheep and lambs are often mooching at the side or in the middle of the road, the possibility of a deer suddenly leaping in front of you and, of course, increased traffic given the route’s upsurge in popularity, and it’s certainly a drive unlike any other.

Some will love the driving experience offered (a big reason why it’s become a huge bucket-list item for sports car and Top Gear types), whilst others may spend hours gripping the wheel in fear. Andrew, despite his initial trepidation and frequent failure to make it out of third gear, loved taking on the country roads and, for both of us, simply navigating more than five hundred miles across the Highlands was memorable in and of itself.

However, the inexperienced (and those not used to driving on the left) should approach this route with caution and the correct mindset, and all drivers (even Clarkson types) need to note that driver etiquette and road awareness is hugely important when driving the NC500.

On the single track lanes, there are plenty passing places, but you need to be aware of these and embrace them, not view it as a game of ‘who’s going to stop first’. Acknowledge drivers who have stopped to let you pass with a wave and keep a sensible speed at all times – these are not roads for you to try and drive like an idiot and it is most certainly not a race track.

Lastly, aside from the myriad of camper vans and caravans, motorcycle troops, bicycle groups and sports car convoys present on the roads here, do remember that these are country roads used by locals each and every day. Not all who live up here are happy about the route’s success (increased tourist traffic on roads being a big reason), and so visitors must go out of their way to be respectful and sensible at all times. If stopping for a photo opportunity, ensure you’re not going to obstruct other drivers or take up an invaluable passing place.

Insider tip: There were many more petrol stations than we anticipated along the route, but don’t underestimate how many miles you may have to drive before you are able to fill up. We took the approach that as soon as we went below half a tank of diesel in Jock the Jeep, we would fill up at the next station – this served us pretty well.

One of my favourite programs Radio Scotland Out of doors are presently doing a piece on the North Coast 500 in an electric car and will value their experiences and I sure they will give a balanced view on their journey.  I have spoken to a few folks who live and work up North and there comments are below.

They make interesting reading?

From Visit Scotland

“There’s nothing quite like the freedom of the long open road. Never-ending back roads, wide meandering country tracks and beautiful bends through some of Scotland’s finest coastal scenery are just a few things you can expect along the North Coast 500 – Scotland’s answer to Route 66.

The route starts in the northern city of Inverness, weaves along the west coast to Applecross and then northwards towards the bustling towns of Torridon and Ullapool. From there, you’ll venture to some of the most northerly coastal points in Scotland, passing by Caithness and John o’ Groats before heading south again through Dingwall and finally back to Inverness.”

Sadly there is no guide to driving carefully on these roads? A few other website give some thoughts to this important part of the journey, the impact on the locals?

500 map

Comment from  a friend in Inchnadampth

“The NC500 is bringing droves of cars, camper vans, motorcycles, pedal cycles, rallies etc to the area, with many drivers having little idea how to conduct themselves on single track roads & causing some chaos, to say nothing of the frustration to locals trying to go about their daily happenings . One guy even rounded on a local, saying it was a one way system!!! ‘Since when?’ Asked the local!!Mark Stephen did the route in an electric car last week – I look forward to hearing his reports on Out of Doors over the next two weeks.

Hillary – Glad I knew it back in the late 60’s early 70’s but have been back and did our own version 2 years ago in camper van. Thought when I first saw it being designated that it would spoil it, but is that selfish? Remember similar discussion about Penine way (but not on social media) now foot fall so high they’ve had to build wooden walkways, hardly the tough navigation over the moorland bits.

David M – I was going to say it is not too dissimilar to other tourist hot spots – Lakes, Gower etc; Wonder if they have any strategies for handling the annual influx. However, if it has turned into a race track, that’s a problem of a different order of magnitude. Guess we will be leaving our gentle per-amble in the Bongo till a quieter season.

Eoghain – Kinlochewe – A lot of business are not making anything out of it. Food & Fuel purchased before they leave Inverness. The honey pot villages are benefiting economically but not the villages in between

George P – Totally true…big mob of Ferraris and Lambos at the Kingsmills Hotel tonight after having a pants filling drive through Glen Torridon

Kalie – Applecross – Don’t get me started, Heavy!
On Saturday I counted a rally of 19 cars and 14 motorbikes bikes in convoy on the Applecross coast road….25 miles of constant single track road. Chaos! I phoned the police since it’s illegal to have groups of over 10 cars travelling in convoy. On Sunday there was a German sports car rally RACING around the coast at 60-70mph in places. I’m surprised there wasn’t an accident. Lots of young lambs have been injured or killed on the road. We have been onto Highland Council for 18 months to put some signs on the coast road but ‘there is no money’. There is NOT ONE of the blue single track signs for 25 miles : ((
I have emailed NC500 several times asking them to indicate on their map WHERE the single track sections are, so that people can avoid them is they’re unable to reverse their vehicles or unsure about driving on them.
I also asked NC500 to provide information leaflets on how to drive single track to car hire / campervan and sports car hire companies…nothing done. NC500 are making money out of out route but putting nothing back…grrr

Steve – Those special quiet places we have been using for years in our vans and tents whilst on our wanders about the hills of the north and west are soon to be no more – hordes of people with their new “MoHo’s” and clutching their NC500 guide books are now going to be looking for somewhere to “wild camp” – they will find those special places – and then stick them on Facebook and so another 50,000 people will know instantly about the location of “secret quiet places” 🙁(and I didn’t make that number up)

NC 500 SOME CARS .g.paton photo



Posted in Enviroment, Friends, Local area and events to see, Views Political?, Weather, Wildlife | 5 Comments

My thoughts are with Manchester.

Tragic news last night of the terrible incident in Manchester my thoughts are with all involved, we live in tragic times. What a mess this world is in, despite all the technology and knowledge how little we learn and how it is always the vulnerable that pay the price.

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

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1976 May 22 – The Mamores a great day – Mamore Memories. Light and slow on the Mamores.

The Mamores  – Memories . As the days go longer many will be attempting the big days on the hills they range from a few Munros to the extreme like Ramseys Round/Tranters Round and many others. For others there are so many different ways to get some big hills and Munros done.

Tranters Round

Steve Fallon

“The Mamores is one of the finest mountain ranges in Scotland, with 10 munros now on the route (in my day there were 11 Munros with the top Sgurr an Iubhair demoted in 1997)  compacted into 34km and 3400 metres of height. It is perfectly possible for hill runners and most fit hillwalkers to bag all the Mamores peaks in one day. Some people will say that doing this will not do the range justice – pah to that “ It was a regular “right of passage for the RAF Team member’s “who had completed their trial to do one of these classic day  like the South Clunnie including Sgurr Na Sgine and the Saddle, the Fannich 9, the Fisherfield 5 or 6. The Classic was as always the Skye ridge that usually came later. We rarely travelled light with boots, radios etc as we were training for the team. In later years I was to climb these great hills in a day on at least 20 occasions and go on to others like Tranters Round. My Dog Teallach loved the Mamores this was his heaven he knew every top every path and always ensured when we dropped of to get the  outlying summits of Sgurr a’Mhaim, An Gearanach and Sgurr Eilde Mor we would leave our bags and he always made sure we found them. My times were from about 8 hours to 16 depending on the calibre of the troop and the weather. I did the traverse in winter a huge 18 hour day.

Yes the Mamores are a classic, time to go back and enjoy them but there is something about going well light and fast on these great hills with good company usually my dog Teallach with the wild views of the Ben and Glencoe, memories.


The Mamores

Mullach nan Coirean (939m, Munro 234)
Stob Ban (999m, Munro 138)
Sgurr an Iubhair (1001m, ex-Munro)
Sgurr a’Mhaim (1099m, Munro 51)
Am Bodach (1032m, Munro 99)
Stob Coire a’Chairn (981m, Munro 169)
An Gearanach (982m, Munro 166)
Na Grugaichean (1056m, Munro 74)
Binnein Mor (1130m, Munro 28)
Sgurr Eilde Mor (1010m, Munro 120)
Binnein Beag (943m, Munro 230)

Day 14 May 22 1976 

 A well-deserved  day off at Fort William what a relief a shower in the swimming pool   and some great food in Fort William, sort the kit and dry the boots and a trip to the launderette to wash the smelly gear, bliss. We had lots of space in the ATC Hut to sort the gear out air the sleeping bags and patch our kit. I went to the doctor he said my cartilage was knackered, probably needs an operation and  I should stop or have problems for life, I never told  Jim Or Paul and kept my silence. I would see how it went I had a week to go on my first walk across Scotland form North To South  from Ben Hope to Ben Lomomd unsupported and we were going well. I had another 8 days to go I am sure I would manage but next day was the Mamores then 11 Munros in a day.

1976 ATC HUT Fort William North – South Walk sorting out on the ping pong table, gear drying and eating getting ready for the Mamores.

It was great to phone home and update the family, no mobile phones in these days. The RAF Kinloss MR team would arrive that night for the weekend and we planned the biggest day of the trip the entire Mamore Ridge and its 10 Munros next. My knee was pretty sore and swollen but the day off was badly needed for me. Jim and Paul were going well. We had an early night, the bothy was nosiy with the troops enjoying Fort William and the Friday night dance, we had a big day planned and an early start. The weather forecast was good so we would have a good day for the adventure.


Day 15 May 23 1976    The Mamores 10 Munros a Big Day with one leg!!

 Jim and Paul were going very well and as I worried about my knee I asked two of the Kinloss team to accompany me and let Jim and Paul go as fast as they wanted without having to wait for me. John Cosgrove and Dave Wood said they would come it was a big day planned the Eleven now Ten Munros of the Mamores to Kinlochleven and another ATC Hut for the night. I had completed the Mamores on several occasions so knew despite my knee I could do it but would take it easy on the descents. It is a classic Scottish ridge with so many summits radiating off the main ridge. In a good day with the right weather and visibility you can move well on these hills. It is also great to leave the hill bags as you sneak out and climb some of the outlying Munros on the ridge. A few have been caught out by weather and had an adventure finding the rucksack when the mist comes in but not today. The day begins with a walk from Fort William along the West  Highland Way  to the first of the 11   Munros  Mullach nan Coirean 939 metres from the summit the views of the back of Ben Nevis are breath-taking. Jim and Paul were already well ahead and moving fast I was taking it easy and protecting the knee but what an airy walk to enjoy. The next Munro is the shapely Stob Ban(999  and then out on the Devils Ridge to  Sgurr a Mhain (1099 m)in winter these 3 hills are a wonderful knife edge but not today.  We met Jim and Paul heading back to the bags after Devils Ridge. They were already 1 Munro ahead but this was no race today. The big wild Corries and the views of Ben Nevis Glencoe and the West Coast are superb and today were exceptional. There was little snow about it was a summer traverse but the new company was great John and Dave adding to the day and poor John was not a Munro bagger and was missing out on a perfect days climbing.   The next Munro Am Bodach(1032 m) all great hills the knee was sore but manageable and I was a bit behind the boys but coping, occasionally we could see Jim and Paul moving well ahead but by Stob Coire a’ Chairn(981 m) I was in the grove and Dave was struggling .

I enjoyed the next bit of the ridge An Gearanach 982 metres where two years later we were caught in the big blizzards and on a ridge double corniced and in a blizzard it was a real epic!  We were avalanched in the Glen as the whole ridge shook its snow off and we were lucky to miss the biggest avalanche I was ever to see for about 20 years. The next part of the ridge is where the tiredness kicks in Na Gruagaichean (1056 m) and Binnein Mor(1130 m) but the fitness and stamina was there and I was moving well Dave was struggling by Binnein Beag (943 m) and we enjoyed a wee adventure on a ridge back onto the main ridge, the knee was holding up and it was enjoyable despite the pain. I knew all, the shortcuts that were to make life easier and the leg held up, the odd jar and no poles in these days.

1976 Jim moving fast on the Mamores at one with the Mountain.

I have said before after 14 days on the hill I was truelly at one with the mountains. I never wondered where to go I felt as part of the hill after being out so long in them a unique feeling. The best lines up and down were so natural to me by now. It is an incredible feeling and one I was to experience on a few big expeditions in the future.

1976 Jim in Mamores N – South Walk travelling light between the outliers

The final Munro was Sgurr Eilde Mor (1010 m) and by now poor Dave was in a bad way he really struggled on the last Munro and it was a fair wander back into Kinlochleven to the ATC hut  but we managed it stopping regularly for Dave and that helped my knee. Jim and Paul had blasted round the 11 Munros in 8 hours we took 12 hours but what a great day in marvellous walking weather. John and Dave got a lift back at Kinlochleven and we were back on our own again with all our food for the final few days. The weather was going to change dramatically tomorrow and we had planned the Aonach Eagach . It was sort out the gear wash and have an  early night.  The Mamores is one of the best days in Scotland I was   to climb in over 20 times in its entirety in one day usually  with new young team member’s testing their stamina and fitness at the end of a 3 weekend trial for Mountain rescue. I also did a winter traverse that tested me to the full. It is a ridge of great beauty and the hills all different make this a high ridge was to savour however you climb these big Munros.

 Every Corrie holds a secret as does every hill and over the years I was involved in many Mountain Rescue call –outs in this wild area, some after a day like this that taxed the stamina.

 Note from my diary ” I love the Mamores!”

Distance  20 miles  Munros 11 Now 10?

Height 12500 feet of ascent a big day A high level traverse par excellence the Mamores.

The rest of the walk was completed.

A good pal Graham Morrision who was doing the Munros in one continuous round with his dog Penny, on his day trip did Tranter Round and next day ran in an Elgin fun race.

Graham and Penny on their great round.


Posted in Hill running and huge days!, Munros | Leave a comment

Extract from my first Big Walk the North To South Scotland – May 1976 David “Heavy” Whalley , Jim Morning and Paul Burns. Heavy Whalley – Jim Morning (JM Paul Burns(PB)

Where were you 41 years ago ?

The aim – This was a mountaineering expedition from the most Northerly Mountain in Scotland Ben Hope to the most Southerly Ben Lomond. The route was planned to cover 270 miles. Climb 42 Munros and ascend a total of 70,000 feet. This was 1976 gear was simple as were the maps  and there were limited communications Mobile phones were a long way away

The Team was all from RAF Kinloss MRT  Heavy Whalley , Jim Morning , Paul Burns all were young SAC ‘s (a very low rank in the RAF)This was only allowed to go after great arguing with the powers that be by the RAF Kinloss Team Leader Pete Mac Gowan. by  and gaining authorization for expeditions in these days had an officer in charge. (Normally military expeditions were led by an officer or SNCO ) The planning was done an orgy of maps joining and tracing other walks in the past and done in the dark winter nights or at weekends. Food was planned and food caches set up with the help of Keepers and Village Halls and friends of the team. The RAF Team would meet us at weekend training Exercises and re supply us, well that was the plan.

Extract from The Big Walk North To South –  May 1976  David Heavy Whalley , Jim Morning and Paul Burns.  Heavy Whalley – Jim Morning (JM Paul Burns(PB) This was the first expedition in the RAF to be led by SAC’s VERY JUNIOR RANKS and no officer. The expedition had lots of support by Pete McGowan (Team Leader) who stuck his neck out to let us do the Traverses.

1976 Big Bags Big days

During the walk we set up food caches and were completely unsupported and self-sufficient, my cartilage went on Day 7, when we took a rest day only 2 were planned. Most of the rest of the walk I was on my own most days. The Mamores Traverse I completed in 12 hours Jim and PB were back at bothy 3hours before me!  It was definitely mind over matter, when on your own on the hill.


We had already done 9 wild days on the hill a completely self-contained trip carrying 4 days food staying in bothies all the way .   The hills were still wintry and the gear very simple we carried fairly big bags as gear was heavy then. It was wet gear most day! But what days.



Day 10

Glen Strathfarrar  – Affric  Toll Creagach-Tom A’ Chonnich-Cairn Eighe-Mam Sodhail-An Socath – Altbeithe Youth Hostel.

Big mountain day-hard hills-great bothy- leg  sore around my knee/ weak.  Weather pretty wintry. 16 miles/6060 feet.


Day 11

Mullach Fraoch Choire-A’ Chraliag- Sgurr Nan Conbhairean-Carn Ghlusaid-Greenfields (cartilage went on descent) Long road walk-Sea King Helicopter met us and dropped bags, and gave us a well earned brew and some rations. Thanks too the late Mick Anderson winch man. Hard to find at bridge at the end of the day. Stayed at Greenfields in a hut. That is the Glens over hard 5 days.

22 miles/6800 ft.long day.


Day 12

Greenfields – Sron A’Choire Garbh-Meal Na Teanga- Spean Bridge- Stayed in toilets at  Spean Bridge Station later stayed at Bridge of Orchy Station later on as well got kicked out at 0500- left wallet in pub – found next day by Police.19 miles/4086. No bothy after the hill not so great.

Day 13,

Spean Bridge Railway station – Aonach Mor- Aonach Beag- Carn Mor Dearg-Ben Nevis. Big day need a rest now my leg hard going downhill ABOUT AN HOUR BEHIND THE BOYS AT THE END OF THE DAY. 17 miles/7500 feet.
22/5/76 Day off Fort William in the old ATC Hut at last went to doctor with cartilage told to withdraw from walk-no chance!

Tired days? But what memories.

Posted in Articles, Hill running and huge days!, Mountaineering, Munros, Views Mountaineering, Weather | Leave a comment

35 years ago in May 1982 Pete Boardman and Joe Tasker went missing on the “Unclimbed Ridge of Everest”

It is 35 years ago that Pete Boardman and Joe Tasker went missing on Everst on the then called “Unclimbed ridge” As I was researching for the Moray Mountaineering Club lecture a few years ago , I was sent a photo of one of my heroes Pete Boardman who died on Everest in 1982  on the unclimbed ridge along with Joe Tasker both incredible Himalayan mountaineers. I had met Pete many years ago in the Cairngorms on several occasions and found him such a unassuming person and always ready for a chat. He summitted Everest on the huge South West Face in 1975 and very soon after this climbed the massive West Wall on Changabang with Joe Tasker a massive undertaking for a two-man expedition with no Sherpa support. It was a breakthrough of gigantic proportions in Himalayan climbing at that time.

Pete Boardman lecture at Elgin for the Moray Mountaineering Club. A wonderful enthusiastic speaker and so unassuming unlike many in the mountaineering world. A sad loss.

I was at RAF Kinloss in the Mountain Rescue Team at the time and we were invited along with the Team for the lecture Pete was giving in Elgin to the Moray Mountaineering Club. We were expecting a lecture on Everest by the South West Face, however Pete told us the story of the 2 man ascent of Changabangs West Wall and incredible achievement at the time. He called the lecture “Total Commitment” and it was a wonderful evening and so inspirational. By now Pete was a well-known mountaineer and world class mountaineer yet he still had time to talk to us after the lecture and I went away with dreams as a young man and a trip to the Himalayas.

The Shining Mountain ans incredible story and a must read by every mountaineer.

The Shining Mountain what a wonderful book.

   Pete and Joe both went missing trying the unclimbed ridge on Everest were last seen on the pinnacles at 8000 metres before the weather came in this was May 1982. It was a typical audacious Alpine ascent of an unclimbed ridge on Everest, with no Sherpas just a small team of 4 going lightweight and incredible attempt. Pete and Joe are up there, no one will ever know what happened to them but the cold and not using oxygen at such a height makes this a very hard place to live far less climb to that standard.  

2001 view of the Unclimbed Ridge.

When I was out in Tibet in 2001 at Advanced Base Camp on Everest  the walk  from our advanced Base camp to their camp at 21500 feet is about a mile and the views of the unclimbed ridge are incredible. Very few go there as all are the other expeditions are mainly on the North Ridge. I went out alone on the last day of our expedition and left a dried piece of Heather (brought from home) below this huge ridge and spent some time thinking about Pete, Joe and the others who have been here, what would they have been doing today if they were still alive? What a place to be the only people left were our 6 Sherpas and cook everyone else was gone. We were tidying up this incredible place and stripping the mountain of us much rubbish left by others that we could. I spent an hour here just looking and taking it all in, an incredible experience, one I will never forget.

The Boardman Tasker Memorial on Everest Tibet.

 The memorial stone is at Base camp on the Tibetan side , we tided it up when we were there,it overlooks the huge North face and is so humbling.

2001 With Russell Brice who climbed the unclimbed ridge in 1988 an incredible mountaineer.


History since 1982  Expeditions to the North East Ridge in 1985,[74] 1986[75] and 1987[76] failed to reach Boardman and Tasker’s high point. In August 1988, Russell Brice and Harry Taylor succeeded in crossing the Pinnacles, thus completing the unclimbed section of the route, before descending via the North Ridge. They saw no sign of Boardman or Tasker due to heavy monsoon snow cover. 


The next expedition on the ridge was in 1992 when a joint JapaneseKazakh expedition crossed the Pinnacles but were unable to continue to the summit. They found a body beyond the second pinnacle at approximately 8,200m on the Rongbuk side of the ridge.[78] Photographs taken by Vladimir Suviga[79] and sent to Chris Bonington enabled the body to be identified, from the clothing and features, as Peter Boardman.[80]

In 1995 the complete ridge was climbed by a Japanese expedition.[81] They also came across a body which was initially thought to be Joe Tasker.[82] Upon re-examining all the evidence, Chris Bonington concluded that both sightings were of Boardman: “At first it was surmised that this was Joe Tasker, but after carefully comparing the written descriptions and the photographs provided by each expedition, I became convinced that this was the same as the original sighting and therefore that of Pete.”[83]

The Boardman Tasker Omnibus

Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker were at the cutting edge of mountaineering during the 1970s and early 1980s. Talented writers as well as climbers, they left two legacies. One was their great endeavour, their climbs on high peaks with bold, lightweight and innovative methods; the second and more lasting achievement was the books they wrote and left behind. The Boardman Tasker Omnibus brings together four books in which the two men describe their remarkable climbs, expeditions and first ascents. The books have become mountaineering classics; incredibly popular and brilliantly written accounts that set the standard for mountaineering literature. Tasker’s Everest the Cruel Way is the story of an attempt to climb the highest mountain on earth by a new route – a climb which proved too much for a group of Britain’s finest mountaineers. And in Savage Arena, Tasker vividly describes his participation in the first British winter ascent of the North Face of the Eiger, his first ascent of the West Wall of Changabang with Boardman and his attempts on K2 and Kangchenjunga. The Changabang ascent was described by Sir Chris Bonington as ‘a preposterous plan. Still, if you do get up it, it’ll be the hardest thing that’s been done in the Himalayas.’ Boardman’s account of the climb – very different to Tasker’s – is recounted in The Shining Mountain, whilst in Sacred Summits he combines the excitement of extreme climbing with acute observation of life in the mountains as he describes the remarkable ascents he made during one single climbing season. The Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature was established in Pete and Joe’s honour, and is presented annually to the author or co-authors of an original work which has made an outstanding contribution to mountain literature. For more information about the Boardman Tasker Prize, visit

A sad end to two wonderful mountaineers.

Posted in Articles, Books, Himalayas/ Everest, Mountaineering, Views Mountaineering | Leave a comment

New book coming out soon – Lost to the Isles LOST TO THE ISLES – Accounts of Military Aircraft Accidents Around the Scottish Isles 1945-1990.

The Islands of Scotland are special places and I remember my father taking me to the Isle of Arran and on these great mountains  showing me some of the aircraft wrecks that are on the hills. My Dad told me the stories as a very young lad and we visited these places at that young very impressible age I was so impressed by the wreckage and the stories but had no clue of the carnage or the loss of life that would have occurred here. In later years I was to see this at first hand as I served with the RAF Mountain Rescue.

Many who follow the Blog will know of my involvement in aircraft crashes especially in the mountains of Scotland and many mountains are littered with the debris of aircraft crashes during and after the war!  I was involved in RAF Mountain Rescue for 35 years and sadly was involved in many crashes that occurred since the 70’s.

Memorial Shackleton Crash

Many of the crashes I went to were on the Islands  of Scotland in remote areas and all have there own stories. I hope  this book will tell some if the tales of many of these incidents. I have just seen the flyer for the book that comes out in early June and will order my copy.

1990 Shackleton Crash Harris

I notice that the cover of the book shows the Shackleton Crash in Harris Memorial one I was with the RAF Kinloss Team first on scene as we flew into the tragedy by RAF Seaking it was a sad few days for myself and the team. The other plane on the book could be the USA F111 on Skye on Sgurr Na Stri a mountain and incident I know well.

1982 F111 Plaque

I await my copy of this book with interest and hopefully that those who lost there lives in these wild places will never be forgotten..

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