Thirty years ago as we did then was make the best of the longest day with a good hill day. I was at RAF MRT and was just recovering from a broken ankle that was pinned and platted. It was not after some daring deed but during a football match. It stopped a lovely posting to Ascension Island and I was medically down graded as the RAF does, as soon as the plastered was off ( 6 weeks) I went to Arran with the Leuchars Mountain Rescue Team and managed against doctors orders to wander up Glen Rosa and climb Climb “Calbins Creep”. A wild though easy route that really scared me and those watching, I was only supposed to hobble up the Glen. It took a few years for the ankle to stop swelling only after the pins and plate were taken out did it ease of. In the meantime especially that summer I was climbing/walking up to the winter with one boot and one running shoe on! I could not get a boot on due to the swelling. I was chasing being a Team Leader and had to work at my fitness and get medically upgraded as soon as possible. It was a crazy summer with some great days, Eagles ridge with a boot on and a rock shoe on made interesting chat on the belay ledges as did the classic Clean Sweep/ Talisman near Loch Avon and many other routes all with a boot and one rock shoe. Please note this is not the way to treat a smashed ankle and nowadays I suffer from arthritis in my ankle after the misuse but such fun over the years, a small price to pay!
The big hill days came and went and we had a magic 12 hour day on the classic Big 4 & 2 threes, The route Braeraich, Cairntoul, Devils Point, Carn a’ Mhain, Ben MacDui and Cairngorm, nowadays there is 7 Munros with the changes in Munros? We left with us a mixed party of 4 with Ray Sefton wife Myrtle who had always wanted to complete this route. Myrtle had spent her life on the mountains, lots of summers on Ben MacDui with her Mum and Dad and was a fount of knowledge of these hills and its wild life, she knows every boulder! It was wet and miserable as we left and the weather followed us all the way to Corrour bothy. We were soaked morale was very low and we had enough. Myrtle said no way we were not completing the route and stormed off up the hill as we all looked on. I was convincing the other walkers who were also having a break at the bothy that Myrtle was our mother and we hated hill walking in the rain and she forced us to and we had to do it! Most of the walkers believed me and when they saw the famous boot and running shoe combination they were horrified! Anyway off we all went and in the end as you do we had a great day, the weather cleared eventually. It was a long pull after Carn a’ Mhain up onto Ben Macdui and then Cairngorm summit a great 12 hour day, with Myrtle storming ahead all day. These longest days in the middle of summer were always spent on some big hill day and great memories of them but sitting soaked at Corrour bothy was the one I never forgot. Thanks Myrtle!
I have just read your Blog and what wonderful memories it brought back of a wonderful hill day, a once in a lifetime trip. Wonderful company, horrible weather but great fun. I will remember forever the sight of you descending from Devils Point down the slope to Corrour Bothy with one boot on and your red socked foot minus your trainer, then after our pit stop the long drag up the other side, we really have to enjoy every day we are lucky enough to spend on the hill as there are no repeats in life each day is a one off, how I wish I was young enough to do more than look up at the hills but at seventy six I have to feast on my memories. I hope you have a lovely trip down south with your family, best wishes,
love Myrtle x
Jon Hart has just retired as the Chairman of the Scottish Mountain Rescue Teams. Jon has done a huge job in very difficult times and has been pushing the profile and professionalism of the teams during some incredibly hard times.
The world of Mountain Rescue is changing with the Single Police Force and new SAR Helicopter Contract on it way. I know a little of what Jon has achieved by his diplomacy, character and his forward thinking. He has done a lot for MR yet keeping the voluntary ethos of the at the forefront of any changes and improvements. Few will have a clue of the hundreds of hours spent on this task. I hope he can now sit back and enjoy some family time and enjoy the mountains. Many thanks Jon.