Off to Skye for the weekend. Skye – “We who have been go again, and again advise you to go, you will not be disappointed”

The Glenbrittle Hut Isle Of Skye

The Glenbrittle Hut Isle Of Skye

I am off to Skye with the Moray Mountaineering Club for the weekend.  We are staying in the Heart of the CuIllins at Glenbrittle in Skye in the BMC Hut. I have not been for a while to Skye and hope the weather holds. I love Skye and this is my first time for nearly 3 years and I am so looking forward to it . It never ceases to amaze me with these incredible mountains and just to be there will be magic no matter what we do.

The wonder of sea and mountains.

The wonder of sea and mountains.

“We who have been go again, and again advise you to go, you will not be disappointed”  Nowadays there is so much to do with the new guide books and places to visit. so many memories of wild days and great fun.

The way to travel in Skye.

The way to travel in Skye.

I have been lucky to climb the ridge many times and even do the complete day in under 12 hours not bad for a walker.For many it was a wild introduction to this place that is so Alpine and has so many wild places to visit. I also did a few 2 day traverses of the ridge and one with my dog Teallach a crazy few days buy I was young and daft then.


Nowadays these hills are not to be rushed but savoured and enjoyed and just a glimpse of the ridge may suffice.


Sgurr nan Eag,

The Hut is situated close to the Cuillins in a sheltered glen to the south west of the Ridge. The path to Sgurr Dearg and the “Inn Pin “ starts at the Hut and other parts of the Cuillin Ridge may be accessed easily. The situation is superb yet accessed by road. For those wishing less challenging terrain, Loch Brittle beach is nearby and there are excellent coastal walks often shared with Sea Eagles, Peregrine Falcons and many other birds of interest. The Hut is a fine site for sea kayaking, either to launch at the beach (3Km). Or for an overnight stay.


The Hut is open all year to members of clubs affiliated with the BMC or MC of S or to individual members of these organisations. For those using one of the many, excellent, local guides, the Hut is a convenient meeting place. Children are very welcome.

Visitors are encouraged to be self-sufficient, especially in the winter and to take care of the premises. Mobile phone reception is not available and is unreliable in the mountains. There is now a land line telephone in the Hut: 01478 640 216.

This is free of charge but donations are encouraged.

A major programme of refurbishment has been completed  with new showers, drying room, kitchen and addition of gas for cooking and heating.


SKYE – “We who have been go again, and again advise you to go, you will not be disappointed”

The Skye Sculpture

The Skye Sculpture can you donate?


Posted in Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Munros, Rock Climbing, Views Mountaineering | Leave a comment

Call-out Hamish MacInnes Vertebrate Publishing. Now an ebook.

Call-out Hamish MacInnes Vertebrate Publishing

Hamish MacInnes Call - Out

Hamish MacInnes Call – Out

This is the classic tale of the early days of mountain rescue mainly in Glencoe, Scotland. Hamish is a world-class mountaineer and yet he spent so much time helping his fellow man and women in distress on these wild hills. He has contributed greatly to safety on the mountains by his huge contribution to Mountain Safety and by his major involvement in mountain rescue, its equipment and design. This was a period where rescue in the mountains was done historically mainly by locals who lived and worked in the glen. Many were forestry workers, fisherman, shepherds and climbers. These were days of simple gear, before mobile phones, GPS and the early days of helicopter rescue. Glencoe is a climber’s mecca, it can be a wild place and it is here where Hamish pioneered many advances in mountain rescue, avalanche techniques and founded the Search and Rescue Dogs Association. He is known as the ‘Father of Mountain Rescue’ not just in Scotland but throughout the world.



I have known Hamish throughout my forty years in mountain rescue from when I was a young novice with the RAF Mountain Rescue teams to more recently when I was a team leader. He is without doubt a world authority on mountain rescue and was always willing to advise and assist many of us throughout our mountain rescue lives. He was always at the forefront of rescue and I owe him so much for his advice over the years, as do so many that climb in these great hills. His knowledge and his skill as a mountaineer are well known but it is Hamish the man, the leader in his own quiet way that stands out in this book. He is a very caring and private man, yet is in regularly in contact with those relatives he has rescued in the past.

I am so glad this book has been republished as an ebook, as it opens these great tales to new generations. These are the stories of real life rescues many that involve many personalities and characters involved in the Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team. It gives a rare insight into their humanity and why they risk their lives to help those in trouble in the mountains. These were the days before rescues were highlighted by the media, and there are so many wonderful stories in this book it is refreshing to read them as many are now climbing folklore. This book takes you into the heart of rescues: the tragedy, the triumph of recovering a badly injured walker or climber. I first read it in 1973 when it was published I could not put it down – I was riveted to it and learned so much from it. I reread it often and it is still the same – a riveting insight into the world of mountain rescue. This was written before things like PTSD were accepted as part of a rescue hazard for rescue team members – many of the tales are harrowing and yet told in a dignified manner to those who were involved. This is a book that makes me feel that despite what the world throws at us, there are those out there who will give everything to help their fellow mountaineer in trouble. The rescuers in the book are unpaid volunteers, and in this world of taking and rarely giving it gives me a heart-warming feeling, which continues to this day amazingly. This is not just a book about mountain rescue but also an incredible series of tales about rescues and the people and personalities involved. Many of the rescues in the book are epics, and yet Hamish and the Glencoe team go about their job as if it were a normal occurrence to risk their lives for people they do not know. These rescues are not without risk at times and yet despite avalanches, rockfall and the wild Scottish weather, Hamish and the team rarely get into trouble. This is not due to luck but to the skill of Hamish and the team. It also covers a huge history of Scottish mountain rescue and the characters involved. It shows the time they give away from families in the dead of a winter’s night, no matter what, and we must never take this for granted.

This is the classic mountain rescue book, yet so many of the rescues are in the same places that occur regularly now. I advise all mountain rescuers to read this – there is so much to learn in each chapter. There are so many similarities to today’s rescue and its politics! It is a must-read for all climbers, walkers and armchair adventurers. These are true stories and all who love the wild places especially Glencoe and Scotland and will be enthralled by the stories. Hamish and his band of brothers in Glencoe have left a great legacy in pioneering mountain rescue in Glencoe. Hamish’s Call-out is a wonderful tribute to those special people and this book has already stood the test of time. To anyone starting in the mountains – read this book there are so many lessons to be learned.

This is a book of one man’s life and team who have given so much for others. I would advise all to read it and learn that life and nature can teach us so much and build a bond that lasts beyond the experiences that this book covers. Thanks Hamish for a great book, and to Vertebrate Publishing for republishing this book – it’s a classic.

You have to read it.

David “Heavy” Whalley MBE, BEM

Posted in Book, Books, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, PTSD, Recomended books and Guides, Scottish winter climbing. | Leave a comment

Getting ready for the shorter days on the hills?


No head torch this may be your view on the hill if out later than expected.

Getting ready for winter?

I am off to Skye this weekend and the forecast is a bit variable. I have been away recently and missed the mountains. I am looking forward to a couple of days on the hills with the Moray Mountaineering Club. I had a look at my hill bag and have updated it a bit for the colder shorter days before winter arrives.

It is that time of year again, winter is on its way the nights are “fair drawing in”. The fire is on we have lights on the bike and notice the headlights in the car need a new bulb!

If you’re out on the hill and have a long day you may now be coming of in the dark and despite a good “carrot intake” in the dark without a torch this is what you may see!

It is well worth checking it every time you go out or carrying a spare?  It is also the time to winterise  the hill bag, warmer gloves and hat and look at what I am carrying in case of an emergency?

Heather Morning  Mountain Safety Advisor says:

“But when autumn/early winter arrives it’s important to ‘upgrade’ and check the state of my head torch and batteries before making sure it’s in the rucksack for the autumn and winter season. Likewise, I replace my thin emergency duvet with something more substantial and upgrade the hat and gloves to warmer options.”
Kevin Mitchell,

Vice Chair of Scottish Mountain Rescue, added: “This is a good time to check your head torch is in the rucksack, renew the batteries, put a fresh spare set in the top pocket and set off earlier to allow for earlier sunsets.

All good advise, have you checked your gear?


So I am packing for Skye and have no plans as yet will see what the weather brings and be flexible. I love this time of year the shorter days make you plan a bit better but the sunsets and crisp mornings and that winter feel on the hills make it another adventure and every winter we learn again!


The “heart lochan” on a misty Skye in Coire Lagan.

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Missing my sister Jenifer on her birthday.

Yesterday would have been my sisters Jenifer’s birthday she sadly passed away suddenly a few months ago. It was a huge shock to us all and how we all miss her. .

She was one I could talk to about anything and despite the news we could always laugh at times   Many of life crisis, health, family, love, career and so many other topics were discussed. Jen was always a listener and then would advise once I had has my say. I got to know her well when she nursed her husband for so many years until he moved into a Care home and she was there every day till he passed away. Jenifer always saw the good in most of us and was always there in times of need and support!

I was so lucky to have had her in my life  and also two other great sisters Eleanor and Rosemary who miss her dearly. It was a hard first visit to my home town and she was not there, but this is life and you have to enjoy what you have. It is so hard also for my brother in Bermuda who is so far away.

Yesterday in my Dad’s old church in Ayr the flowers were dedicated to her by the family and as we all love flowers  like she did it is a great way to remember her! She would love it but would never want any fuss. A typical Scottish lady.


Photo Kim Bates 

My thoughts are with her family Stuart, Caroline and their families. 

Always make time for those you love that are dear to you! Never put off that visit or call . Even in these busy times in life cherish those you love and be their like Jenifer was for us in times of need.

Miss you Jen xxx


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Great to read again “The Cuillin by Gordon Stainworth” Some thoughts on the Skye trip.

Going to Skye next weekend cannot wait!


Cuillin - Gordon Stainworth Cuillin – Gordon Stainworth

It is great to read again a book you enjoyed and love, this book The Cullin by Gordon Stainforth was excellent. There is so much in so many great wee stories and the poetry is incredible. What pictures and even better the author tells you how and at what time he took them. He spent 150 days on the hill and the ridge was clear for 71 of them and that was poor summer. It is now a collector’s item and I think it is out of print but can be found on Amazon. I met Gordon on Skye and Page 102 is of two RAF Kinloss troops, Ian Ned Kelly and another team member. What a great book, I took it to Skye and so enjoyed reading it.  A book is there to be read and enjoyed and not sat on a book shelve gathering…

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Boat of Garten winter talks Nepal – Event will be held on: 10 October 2016 Times: Start: 7:30pm – One year on following our fund raising event held last September.

Here we go again! 10 th October 2016 at 1930 

Boat of Garten Community Hall
Craigie Avenue
Boat of Garten
t: 01479 831123

Kicking off the Boat of Garten Talks 2016/17 season we have a special double bill revisiting Nepal – One year on following our fund raising event held last September.


Marian Burrows-Smith and Mungo Ross who spoke at last year’s event have both been back to Nepal during the year and will give us their first-hand accounts of how the Nepalese are recovering from the devastating earthquakes of 2015.

Mungo has been in the mountains leading groups in the Annapurna and the Khumbu regions while Marian has been visiting communities where she has been checking on progress with the various projects she supports to build girl’s toilets at schools. She also went to Deurali to meet villagers and pass across the money we raised to some elderly women and couples who are homeless due to the earthquakes.Both have amazing pictures and stories to tell – with a mix of hope and resilience along with political incompetence and cynicism!

This will be a fascinating night – with lots to see, hear and discuss!


Admission – still only £5 (free for under 16’s with an adult) season tickets available – 8 for the price of 6!

Beer, wine and soft drinks bar plus free admission to art exhibition


And you might be interested in …..

A Fitful Sea – Remembering HMS Hampshire – being performed at the Boat of Garten Community Hall on Sunday 16th October at 7.30pm. This is a significant and compelling first world war story told in words, poems and music by the Birsay Drama Group from Orkney.


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I  enjoyed the John Muir program on Radio Scotland Outofdoors today – it’s on the IPlayer. Well worth a listen!

It is sad when I was at School many years ago I was not told the story of one of Scotland’s true environmentalist John Muir. Nowadays we are aware of this great man and his huge part in the setting up of National Parks in the USA especially Yosemite! This was typical of our heroes few were mentioned at school yet this small country has produced so many great people

Radio Scotland and the BBC sent their famous two Outofdoors presenters to the USA  to Yosemite and we got such a great program. It was so enjoyable and even Lee Stetson who plays John Muir was explaining the life of the great man in his “own words” !

I advise all who missed it to catch up on IPlayer it’s well worth it.

I loved my stay with the Yosemite SAR and loved the people and the wild flowers and animals.

We owe John Muir a lot and I advise everyone to read some of his work it’s incredible! He is such a wonderful person and we should be proud of our association with him!

I wonder what John Muir would say about the state we leave our planet in? The mess we leave daily, the waste in modern society and how we treat the planet?

I was looking at photos of the sea of rubbish left after a festival in Reading and like others all over the country it is a disgrace ! Tents, sleeping bags and rubbish is all left ! Some may go for recycling but what lessons are we passing on for future generations? What a culture we have created ? Yet when I was at my grand kids down South and at her primary class where they are taught about looking after the planet and the environment and in many other areas of life. Maybe there is hope for the future.

Maybe we can teach the kids the correct way ? They are the future!
Comments welcome !

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