Heading home ! A wet overnight journey and the sad search for the missing hill waker continues this weekend .

I travelled back from a busy 7 days with the Grandkids. It is only after a few days that you get into the routine with young children as you get older! It was some trip the snow seemed to follow me and poor Yvettes half marathon was called off due the Reading Course being under snow. It is great to see the signs of Spring and the birds busy the flowers coming up. How much I appreciate this as you get older.

The highlight was time with both Lexi and Ellie Skye and what a laugh we had they are great kids and at an age where life is fun.

Lexi had her play “Jungle Book ” at school and it was a magic hour at the Stoke Row school. The kids sang danced and loved the afternoon there was some hard work in it🌈🌈 for the kids and teachers !

I had some great walks with Flo their black lab and how I miss a dog and the company. I left early last night at 0200 in the morning it was heartbreaking saying good bye 💔 Lexi especially as she takes it so hard and Ellie is so different. They are such special kids and made my time with them do special. I will miss the dressing up getting ready for school

The games getting hammered by a 4 and 7 year old and the big hugs and special moments thanks Yvette Lexi and Ellie xx

The roads were quite but rain followed me the whole way. In Scotland the Borders has little snow left but as I reached the Highlands there is still plenty of snow about and wet drooping Cornices with some snow forecast next week.

The Torridon Team and RAF Lossiemouth MRT are going out this weekend searching for the sadly still missing walker from Nairn Mr Gibson and it is easy to forget that this sadness still continues. I hope they find him and give the family closure thanks to all for their huge efforts. Words are never enough ?

I have to find a car after mine has had it and catch up with all my admin etc since I have been away.

The house is quite after my trip and it looks a great day for weather ahead .

I should be on the hills or bike but have to get sorted .

It’s catch up time

Missing the girls and Yvette allready xxx

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Looking back on an eventful day .

Yesterday was a hard day my mate Tom Jones who passed away funeral was in Inverness and then all Tom’s family and friends got together at Carrbridge. I was not there but down seeing the Grandkids near Reading.

The funeral was happening as I was watching Lexi’s my granddaughters class in an hour long play of the Classic Jungle Book. It was an incredible hour and so much hard work by the teachers, helpers and kids of Stoke Row School. As I sat in the tiny seats it was great to switch of and laugh with the kids as they performed so many great songs.

Children have a way of making you see the brighter side of life and appreciate every day as I do.

When it was over you get little time to think as life with two young kids is all consuming. Ellie Skye Lexi,s wee sister had a witches hat on and made me so laugh when we picked her up from nursery. It was back to the life of a 4 year old.

My mate Tom Jones would have loved to hear my stories of my trip South and I am sure will forgive me for missing his funeral.

Tom understood the important things in life like family,friends and health. You never realise how much folk play a huge part in your life sometimes till their gone.

As travel home soon and see the big wild spaces ,the hills ,the snow covered peaks of Scotland I will as always stop and drink it in.

I will think of Tom, Allyson and the family and will soon be able to visit them. There will be tears and sadness but a great love of a true pal and the importance of family and of Tom’ life.

Live and love those dear to you and be their for your family and friends no matter what .

Tom taught me that and reminded me often . Yesterday was a stunning day I got out for a walk with Flo the dog. The sun was out still a cold wind but the snow was nearly gone and the birds were busy singing. Spring is here and the Summer is on its way at last.

I cannot wait to get out on the mountains and clear my mind in the fresh mountain air and take time to think of my mate Tom.

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Tom Jones RIP- My mate, family man, PTI, Outdoor Man, Prankster and great human being.

In life you get huge upsets I had a huge one  when my good pal Tom Jones had a heart attack in Greece two weeks ago and sadly passed away. Tom was with Allyson his wife on holiday and my thoughts are as always with the family.These area few words that seem inadequate for Allyson, Catherine, Christian, Jessie, Kirstin and Eoin.

I have known Tom for nearly 30 years and above all Tom was  a family man and his that was his life! Allyson,Catherine, Chris and the grand kids were his life and the house at Carrbridge and the grounds were a place of great fun and adventure for all who visited. I first met Tom as a RAF PTI many years ago and he was such a great man, not the normal PTI but a real unique character! He was one of life’s pranksters you never knew what was going to happen next!  He was at The Outdoor Centre at Grantown on Spey for many years and brought the propeller from near the summit of Beinn Eighe for the Lancaster crash with the students to RAF Kinloss MRT as a Memorial to the crew. I met often but only got to know each other well when I started playing golf with him. Yet before that I used his classic bunkhouse at Carrbridge which summed Tom up as it was full of memorabilia of Tom’s varied life! Antlers, books, lots of “stuff” it was a den for a life’s adventures. I stayed in the bunkhouse with our team in 2001 before our Everest Expedition to Tibet we had a grand few days.  Tom was as always very social as were the family. Most people in the Spey Valley  know Tom and  the family he first brought chainsaw carving to the village in conjunction with the annual Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship in 2003 and continued to support the event thereafter and was a regular attendee.

It was Carrbridge was where Tom and family settled in the lovely house and what a family home I have so many memories of great days. Tom’s modified”Olympic Games” held in the Garden were an incredible event. The odd chicken would accompany you in the events as Tom thought up new events all competitive and for the family and friends. He was so proud of the family and how they were all growing up and becoming real characters like Tom. He was so proud of everything they were achieving  and was there for the ups and downs of family life can through as well.

Allyson was his soul mate, childhood sweetheart and I loved their company their kindness and care for us all. The family called them “Nanny and Petto” their Welsh roots were with them always despite loving Scotland so much. The bacon butties by the big table and the chats with  the family, it was a house I often called into and it was never a short visit. There was always a project going on in the grounds and Tom loved his DIY.  Tom and Alyson looked after Chris their son after his life changing  accident as a young man and this is their life a 24 hour 7 days a week. Their constant love and care that always made me see this family unit as very special. The family is so close a unit and they will need this in the years to come.

Tom was a RAF PTI in his younger days and a big sportsman in his day, he I am sure long jumped, boxed, kayaker, skied, climbed,and became an Outdoor Instructor.  Steve Heaney his partner on Smith Island Expedition in 1990/91 said – ” He couldn’t have had a better, more even-tempered man to share a snowhole with. Patiently introduced us to Telemark skiing. Only heard him slightly vexed once when I got the rope stuck while descending off Foster in thawing, avalanche prone conditions. I ended up untying from it. He had a clear, realistic view of what we could achieve in the prevailing conditions and wasn’t afraid to make his views known.” That trip was for several months with limited outside communications

There will be many speaking about Tom today about his life, the family and the love he shared. I will never forget his phrases when golfing “Watch and learn” “Any tips / Hit it as hard as you can” the exploding golf balls. Him forgetting “stuff” hats, water food and the epics with the coffee machines and technology. Yet he loved photos and had so many and did so many kind things for me and others.

I am so sorry I am down South with my Grand kids  and will miss the funeral today. Tom would understand that but when I return I will be there for Allyson, Catherine, Chris and the family.  My heart is heavy today for a good and kind pal who I learned so much from

Thinking of you Allyson, Catherine Christian, Jessie, Kirstin and Eoin  and all the family.

Tom  in a few words was “A great human being”.

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The Beinn Eighe Lancaster Memorial at RAF Lossiemouth.

It’s getting there ! Many thanks superb work from Kinloss Engineers who are rebuilding the Memorial at RAF Lossiemouth near the Lossiemouth Mountain Rescue Section. The old Memorial was at RAF Kinloss but has been moved and will be a wonderful addition to the RAF Lossiemouth Mountain Rescue Section!

One of the 4 propellers from the Lancaster on Beinn Eighe being used to abseil from! Photo Andy Nisbet

One of these Corries is the huge “Cathedral like” an awe inspiring place Coire Mhic Fherchair  and the Triple Buttress and in one of it gully’s lies the wreckage of an RAF aircraft this is some of the story. Many now climb in this place in winter where so many wild and wonderful climbs are guarded by a 3 hour walk in. How many know the tale of the wreckage that lies in the Corrie and on the cliff.

It is worth having a look at past blogs on this site for some of the tales of the history of this tragic crash of the Lancaster on Beinn Eighe.

photo the wing in the Gully of the Lancaster aircraft that you have to climb over!

The propeller was moved from the summit gully of Beinn Eighe manually a huge task and transported by Seaking to RAF Kinloss in the early 80’s. This was a massive undertaking and the brain child of two instructors from Outdoor Activities Centre Grantown On Spey Tom Jones and Jim Morning. The man power was an Officer Training Course at the Centre that must have been hard work, Tom Jones said it was not an easy task at all.  What would Health and Safety make of it now? It was eventually placed outside the old Team Headquarters by Eric Hughes and the RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team and remained there for many years. The Team helped and they built it to last at the old Team Headquarters as it had some support of cement and boulders, to keep it in place. In  2004 it was outside the MRT Section at RAF Kinloss until the new purpose-built centre or the  RAF Kinloss Team was built. The Memorial was moved again to the new HQ that year .

That was an epic as I was at the ARCC on the day a Saturday they had to move it it was part of the contract and took some effort including a digger , I was laughing as they had an epic. Eric and the boys put it there to last. RIP Eric Hughes and Tom Jones.

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Cancelling a race ! A few thoughts !

I am down South one to see Lexi and Ellie my grandkids and the other main reason was to watch the kids while Mum (Yvette ) runs the Reading Half Marathon. Heavy snow was forecast and it did come overnight there to be honest was a lot. The snow seems to follow me wherever I go.

To be fair the race was cancelled in the early hours of the morning. So we had a snow day and it was the correct decision in my mind. Yvette accepted it as the right decision.The safety of the competitors not just on the race but getting there on snow covered roads and the safety of the marshalls is paramount as well it in my mind it had to be cancelled. Most accepted it as “nature rules”but a few I am sure were not happy with the late call off . The windchill with the low temperatures and wind from the East would have taken its toll and would the icy/snowy conditions underfoot. You cannot please everyone-such is life. Someone has to make a decision and many traveled miles to race staying in Hotels etc it’s a big race.

I gave a talk in Edinburgh a few weeks ago to the Carnethy Hill Running Club in Edinburgh and they run in all weathers but have been building a good system to ensure safety is paramount at all times! It is so easy after you have trained hard for a race to let your heart rule your mind but safety must come first! We had a good discussion about safety and the mindset of athletes! We all learned a lot. Sadly I have been to a few accidents which were fatalities of runners in the mountains and have many years of experience even running some huge mountain days in my youth.

It reminded me of the Ben Nevis Race one of the premier hill running events when the weather in September in the 70,s was awful. We had early heavy snow and wild winds.

Nearly 20 runners were evacuated and we ran out of stretchers! We were so lucky despite the extreme conditions the helicopter got in below cloud and evacuated so many! It was a huge learning curb for me a young man at the time but many lessons were learned. Looking back I spoke to the Lochaber MRT Teamleader and the RAF Team Leader they were so worried as it was all happening. You are so vulnerable in running gear if anything goes wrong.

I also assisted with the Celtman a huge event now in Scotland.They have a huge safety policy and can adjust the route in extreme weather!

Below the Snowdon Bike across Crib Coch in Wales!

So if your feeling fed up at not competing think of the all the good the training had done you! Also these decisions are never easy for the powers that be to make and the race will take place again hopefully when the weather is better?

At least the kids got out sledging and the with the Red Kites overhead and snow it was stunning !

Any comments – some information on the Celtman Extreme Scottish Triathlon !

The Celtman

The seventh edition of the CELTMAN! Extreme Scottish Triathlon will take place on June 16th 2018 in Wester Ross, Scotland.

Centred around the stunning Torridon mountains we will take you on an adventure unlike any other.

Make no mistake – when we say this race is extreme we mean it. Read the race information carefully before entering as you may have to endure cold water, strong winds, driving rain and difficult conditions on the mountain with low visibility.

Please download the Race Manual for more details.

SWIM 3.4K in cold, deep and  jellyfish infested Atlantic waters

BIKE 202K on incredible scenic (and often very windy) Highland roads

RUN 42K through an ancient drover’s pass and over the Beinn Eighe mountain range

ASCEND over 4000 Metres during this epic day

PUSH YOURSELF 100% and win the coveted Blue T-shirt

Swim 3.4 K in Loch Shieldaig

Since 2012 the water in Loch Shieldaig has been below the seasonal average.  This appears to be an ongoing trend.

The extreme nature of the temperatures led us to shorten the swim course from 3.8K to 3.4K. Even with this shortened distance the athletes suffered badly from the cold.

In 2013 a severe storm added to the drama with strong Southerlys pushing the competitors off course.

We strongly advise cold water training for this race and to wear a heatseeker vest under your wetsuit.

Swim Map.

Ride 202K on incredible Highland roads

The stunning CELTMAN! 202K bike route takes you along some historic single lane roads and wide open highland A roads.

Although we do not have any mountain passes to boast of the route includes 2000 metres of climbing and being coastal is affected greatly by our varied weather.

It is common to find a strong headwind on the last third of the course, just when you thought you could relax!

Bike Map.

Run 42K over two Munros

The CELTMAN! run is unsurpassed for it’s challenging nature and beauty.

In Scotland any mountain over 3000 ft (914.4 metres) is classed as a Munro.  You will attempt two of these during the race on the Beinn Eighe range.

Spidean Coire nan Clach (‘Peak of the Corrie of Stones’ in Scottish Gaelic), is the highest point on the main ridge itself. It stands at a height of 993m. You do not go to the absolute summit of this peak due to the technicality of the climb but you go as far as the trig point.

Ruadh-stac Mòr (‘Big Red Stack’ in Scottish Gaelic) is on one of the spurs off the main ridge of Beinn Eighe and stands at a height of 1,010m.

Weather permitting (it’s often cloudy) you will have the most incredible vistas.

Run Map.

All time CELTMAN! facts

6 –









2018 Start List

Results 2017

Results 2016

Results 2015

Results 2014

Results 2013

Results 2012











Not long now until CELTMAN! 2018. Please make sure you have ready every word of the 2018Race Manual – take it

Entries for the 2015 race recently closed with a record breaking number of applicants from 47 different countries! CELTM…

January 3rd, 2015 / by cxtri

CELTMAN! along with the SWISSMAN Extreme Triathlon and the Noresman Extreme Triathlonnare now part of the AllXtri series…

June 8th, 2017 / by cxtri

January 4th, 2017 / by cxtri

This page was created by CELTMAN! Official Photographer Geraint Ashton Jones of Alligin Photography. Please click on ima…

June 3rd, 2018/ by cxtri

Not long now until CELTMAN! 2018

Posted in Articles, Enviroment, Family, Friends, Hill running and huge days!, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Views Mountaineering, Weather | 2 Comments

The old Scottish Mountain Rescue lapel Badge! Great

When I joined the RAF Kinloss MR team after so many call outs I was awarded and presented with a small badge along with Tom MacDonald and a few others. It was my pride and joy and sadly over the years I lost it. It was moved from jumper to jumper at the time and part of me! I was heartbroken when I lost it. It was great to hear this story on the Mountain Rescue Association Facebook!

I think they were produced via the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland and distributed in batches. They were not only for the RAF teams. I lost my original one and subsequently got it replaced on application to them albeit with another issue number. I do not know the current mechanics for getting replacements but should think you could no longer get a “red-cross” replacement. Tom Mac Donald.

Yes they were for all Mountain Rescue Teams !

They do come up on eBay but only ever seen two & the first one went for over £100 & the 2nd for £50. The originals were made by a comany in the jewelry quarter in Hockley, Bimingham. The building where the originals were manufacturered is now a pub (called 1000 Trades) which I frequented last year & following that visit I did some research as I knew it was in that area. As has been said each badge was numbered but the numbering stopped when the newer green cross (& smaller peaks) badge was introduced. I cannot help anyone in obtaining an original badge but I can reproduce a much larger copy but I wouldn’t recommend wearing it as a badge. 😉 Andy Birkby

Lots of gen in these replies!

I will contact Mick Tighe but I doubt he has any ! Nice stories of a little badge that meant so much!

Will do ….. but check this out ..n 1996 the then secretary of the MRCofS was asked to copyright the logo as someone had been using it illegally to raise money on the sale of postcards. A lawyer, Fergus Ewing,(later a Member of the Scottish Parliament) was consulted and fairly rapidly said that the MRCofS must stop using the Red Cross immediately as it was in contravention of the Geneva Convention – the real RED CROSS being the only organisation legally allowed to use it.

Mick Tighe was the Training Officer to the MRCofS at the time and he inherited a few of these badges which had become illegal overnight. Nice story!

The MRCofS produced a new logo and badge in the the late 1990’s, this time with a green cross! Andy Birkby

To me that was bonkers it was the Red Cross that objected as the Cross in red is their logo!

These little things mean a lot as you get older!


some great comments

I lost mine too. I seem to remember they were like gold dust? I am sure I still have a patch somewhere with the red cross on it that had to be taken off a jacket to be replaced by the green cross Graig Borthwick

Peter White

I lost my original one, (704 on the back), and wrote to the SMR about ten years ago, they sent me a replacement,free of charge. With the red cross.

Craig Borthwick

I lost mine too. I seem to remember they were like gold dust? I am sure I still have a patch somewhere with the red cross on it that had to be taken off a jacket to be replaced by the green cross

Tom Docherty

Heavy, a while back I had this company make 72 Sqn Poppy badges. When I enquired about them I was told that if I could drum up enough interest in them (approx 40 orders) they would produce them for me. I very quickly got enough interest from ex-72Sqn men and and he went into production of them. Maybe an enquiry to him would result in a new run for all the MRT guys who have lost theirs and hanker for a replacement. https://www.militaryremembrancepins.com/products/72-sqn-royal-air-force-remembrance-poppy-pin

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Work Started on the Beinn Eighe Lancaster Memorial at RAF Lossiemouth. A bit of the story!

I got some great news that “Work started on the new MRT Cairn!

39 Engr Regt at Kinloss are kindly taking on the build.

Photo by Shane Rousell

The Beinn Eighe Lancaster Memorial

The Memorial has a huge story to it and the crash where sadly all the crew died had a huge impact on RAF Mountain Rescue

not only in Scotland but in the UK.

This crash is well known to many Mountaineers as the crash site is the impressive Triple Buttress of Beinn Eighe  in Torridon on the West Coast of Scotland. It changed the face of RAF Mountain Rescue and many lessons were learned. I have written on this subject in many occasions on this blog.

The aircraft is spread all over the cliff and much of it is still in the aptly named Fuselage gully where one propeller is jammed in the gully and you have to climb over it. The Lancaster had 4 propellers one was near the summit ridge and it was decided to move it in the early 80’s .

The late Eric Hughes at the old Memorial at Kinloss

The propeller was moved from the summit gully manually a huge task and transported by Seaking to RAF Kinloss in the early 80’s. This was a massive undertaking and the brain child of two instructors from Outdoor Activities Centre Grantown On Spey Tom Jones and Jim Morning. The man power was an Officer Training Course at the Centre that must have been hard work, Tom Jones said it was not an easy task. It was eventually placed outside the old Team Headquarters by Eric Hughes and the RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team and remained there for many years. The Team helped and they built it to last at the old Team Headquarters as it had some support of cement and boulders, to keep it in place. In  2004  until the new purpose-built centre or the Old RAF Kinloss Team was built. The Memorial was moved again to the new HQ . That was an epic as I was at the ARCC on the day a Saturday they had to move it it was part of the contract and took some effort including a digger , I was laughing as they had an epic. Eric and the boys put it there to last. Where is it now I have it on good authority from the main man”Simon Moore” that it  has moved to RAF Lossiemouth to the new team HQ.

Every year I take a relative to the crash site high on the mountain, he wants to visit the new memorial but when he asked to see it at RAF Lossiemouth it drew a blank.

Joss Gosling one of the original Team with the Propeller on Beinn Eighe that is getting worn.

The memorial means a lot it would be good to see it in a place where people can share the sad tale of the loss of the Lancaster on Beinn Eighe? It looks like that is happening. That will please so many thanks to the Engineers from Kinloss for doing this.

Recently a group from the Arbroath Marines Commandos visited the crash site on Remembrance Day in Nov 2017. A total of 70 of the Mountain and Artic cadre were on the mountain for Rememberance Day in full winter conditions ! To pay their respects to the crew who lost their lives a great mark of respect!

Some of the team in 1986 when the Memorial was built.

Lest we forget.

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