I left after a great diet busting breakfast at the Duart Bed and Breakfast at Kinlochewe and the sun was shinning and a day on the hill would have been magic but I was heading to Inverness. I had planned to visit a pal Sue who is in Raigmore Hospital having radiotherapy. It was great drive the hills were magic and I picked up my credit card in Tescos that I had left (old age) It was wet and cold and the weather changed as I arrived at the hospital. Sue was happy to go West as that was where the weather was and we headed to Ullapool too get some sun.
On my drive over I had a thought about the day on Beinn Eighe. It is amazing to see the wreckage still there and the story of the long recovery the gear and poor training of the team and the effect on the ones I have met of this incident.
Joss Gosling one of my heroes and one of the surviving team members who took the only photos of the incident that are available. They are an incredible insight into these dark days and he still remembers the incident so vividly and it clearly affects him 65 years on. His photos and his humility when he speaks about it are incredible insight into another world when things were so different.
He has a diary as well and it spells out his first venture into the great Corrie plastered in snow an his attempts to get to the crash on the summit, that was very tricky climbing on steep snow, rock and ice. It is about grade 2 ground and few had crampons and all had never been on the mountain before. I have been here many times and it is a place to respect even with modern gear and at times a rope!
It never ceases to amaze me every time I speak to Joss and his pal how wild the weather was. It is great that Torridon has a great civilian Mountain Rescue Team the Kinlochewe and Torridon Team that cover this wild area. They are some people and rarely hit the headlines yet many of the Rescues are of high quality this is an area of huge complex mountains. I gave Ryan one of the Team a drawing of Beinn Eighe from Wendy Hughes that was given to him on his retirement. Eric passed away a few years ago and Eric was the Officer in charge of the team and he loved the area and the mountain. He helped find the memorial a home at RAF Kinloss and built the base when it arrived.
The picture has gone to a new home as the Team at Torridon are trying to build a new Base for Rescues and to store there gear. It will be a much-needed resource for the team. If you wish to donate please go to their fundraising page. Joss gave Geoff a donation to give to the team and to help the Team in its fundraising. He gave Geoff it when he visited them on his way up via Fort William, what a lovely though from a great and kind man.
Things moved on after this call – out and many lessons were learned and the RAF teams went from strength to strength led by some incredible leaders. A memorial in the form of one of the propellers was taken in the 80’s by my pal Tom Jones a PTI at Grantown on Spey and airlifted to RAF Kinloss where it stayed till the team was disbanded and moved to RAF Lossiemouth. ( I would love a photo of its new position?)
It was a lovely day later on and we stopped at Anne and Mark at Black Bridge for a coffee what a lovely place to live and in the sun it was a great start to the day. Ullapool was looking great very busy and we had lunch and a wander round. The view of the harbour and Beinn Dearg in the background and the hills was superb. Then it was off to Ardmair and its incredible views of the summer Islands and a wander along the beach were we saw an Oyster catcher and its chicks on the beach.
The campsite and caravan park at Ardmair is in some situation and in the sun it was magnificent, there were lots of people enjoying the day and what a huge sky above giving a huge feeling of space. We sat and enjoyed the situation and then it was time to back to the hospital with Sue and for me to get home. What a lovely day and in lovely weather.
I was tired but it had been a busy few days and dropped of Sue at the hospital she was tired but happy with the day. It was then time for home at last a busy two days but great to be with such magic people. Its great to be out and about.
As the great Mohammed said “Don’t count the days, make the days count”