Scottish Mountain Heritage Collection – Highland Archaeology Festival
Most mountaineers are really interested in the history of the sport and the gear used by the old and bold. I love the stories and how much the gear and equipment has moved on. One of my old sparring pals from my Rescue days “Nevis Mick” has collected so much gear over the years he now has a huge collection at his home near Roy Bridge. He is opening it to the public and it will be well worth a look.
A Highland mountain guide and former rescuer has revealed plans to open a museum dedicated to his love of the hills.
Michael Tighe, who was a member of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team for nearly 30 years, has gathered together what is believed to be the largest collection of mountain artefacts, equipment, literature, photographs and other mountain memorabilia in the UK.
The 66-year-old recently donated them to a newly formed charity, the Scottish Mountain Heritage Collection, of which he is a trustee.
The collection, depicting much of the rich history of mountaineering in Scotland and around the world, has been catalogued and photographed and can be viewed in the trust’s virtual museum at http://www.smhc.co.uk
But now it is also to go on show to the public at Glen Roy, Roy Bridge, from October 1 to 16, with a view to opening on a permanent basis in the future.
Items displayed will include hardware, such as shiny karabiners, rusty pitons, brassy stoves and old wooden-shafted ice axes, printed materials, including maps, guide books, journals and magazines, and an archive of old photos, diaries, cuttings, sketch books, paintings and letters.
Mr Tighe, who was presented with the Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture at this year’s Fort William Mountain Festival, explained the origins of the collection.
He said: “Somewhere back in the mists of time, I started collecting mountaineering equipment.
“Most mountaineers can find a place on the wall for an old ice axe, a pair of wooden skis maybe, or perhaps granddad’s old primus stove polished on the mantelpiece.
The Collection is a charitable trust dedicated to collecting old mountaineering and other outdoor gear which started life as Mick Tighe’s personal collection of mountaineering paraphenalia and is housed principally in outbuildings at Mick’s house, 7 Bohuntin, Glen
Roy, Roy Bridge, near Fort William.
The Collection will form a part of the Highland Archaeology Festival 2016, which runs from Saturday 1st to Sunday 16th October 2016, and will be open to viewing by the public, free of charge (though donations, both cash and old kit, will always be welcome!), between 10.00am and 4.00pm on those dates.
The Collection is also viewable online at http://www.smhc.co.uk,
Who is Mick Tighe?
Born in Derbyshire, in 1950, of Irish ancestry, Mick Tighe worked on a farm until the age of seventeen when he joined the Royal Marines. An eighteen month posting to Singapore and a year’s tour to N. Ireland was followed by qualification as a Mountain and Arctic Warfare Instructor and a brief spell with the British Biathlon Team. Seven winters in Arctic Norway and an equal amount of summers in mountainous regions throughout the world were a good apprenticeship to becoming a British and International Mountain Guide in 1979, shortly after completing his ten years service in the Royal Marines. Work as an instructor with The Joint Services Mountain Training Centre at Tulloch, near Fort William, filled the years 1979-1982 and whilst a bad car crash nearly ruined his plans, Mick started his own Mountain Guiding business, Nevis Guides, in May 1982, which has run very successfully to date. (2009)
As a member of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team for nearly thirty years, Mountain Rescue became a ‘forte’ and Mick was the National Training Officer to all of Scotland’s Mountain Rescue Teams for ten years in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Summer Alpine trips have continued throughout the last thirty years and the Canadian Rockies have also become a speciality. Cross country ski trips to Arctic Norway continue each winter, followed year on year by his enduring passion of exploring the wild and unexplored coast of Scotland’s North West Highlands and Islands, where he has completed several hundred first ascents on the sea cliffs and sea stacks.
Having moved to Glen Roy, just north of Fort William, when he left the Marines in 1977, Mick is still there in 2009, happily married to his wife Kathy.