In the Shadow of Ben Nevis a good read! By Spike Sykes. Lots of tales of the mountains and other story’s.

From my mate Eric Hollister in the States

“Thanks for recommending this book Heavy.. Excellent read.. I was reading how Ian Sykes was a co-founder of Nevisport when I realized that I was using a Nevisport book marker that I had obtained from Nevisport in Fort William back in the 1970’s!


Ben nevis book Spike

For those who live locally – Ian ‘Spike’ Sykes is talking at Eden Ct Theatre on Mon 31 Oct at 1930.

“In 1959, sixteen-year-old Ian ‘Spike’ Sykes left school and, after a short period of work at Leeds University, joined the RAF. Already a keen climber, he signed up on the promise of excitement and adventure and was posted to the remote RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team in the north of Scotland. It was the beginning of a journey which would see him involved in some of the most legendary call-outs in Scottish mountain rescue history, including the 1963 New Year tragedy on the Isle of Skye.

In the Shadow of Ben Nevis tells Spike’s story from growing up in Leeds in the aftermath of the Second World War, to his time with the RAF during the cold war. After leaving the RAF, he remained an active member of the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team and was involved in the first lower down the north face of Ben Nevis – an epic 1,500-foot descent to rescue stricken climbers in the middle of winter.

Following a two-and-a-half-year stint on Antarctica with the British Antarctic Survey, he returned to the Highlands and opened the first Nevisport shop with his close friend Ian ‘Suds’ Sutherland. Together, they brought Sunday trading to Fort William and were one of a small number of shops to revolutionise outdoor retail in the UK. Later, he was a key player in the development of the Nevis Range ski area. Over many years, and against all odds, the project became a reality and a great success.


Recounted within these pages are a great many lively tales of adventures and mishaps, told with immediacy and charm.

With a foreword by legendary Scottish mountaineer Hamish MacInnes, a close friend of Spike’s, In the Shadow of Ben Nevis is a must-read for anyone with an interest in Scottish mountaineering and mountain rescue.”

I am visiting Hamish MacInnes today in Glencoe!

About heavywhalley.MBE

After dinner speaker Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 36 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 4 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Books, Mountain rescue, Mountaineering. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to In the Shadow of Ben Nevis a good read! By Spike Sykes. Lots of tales of the mountains and other story’s.

  1. deshannigan says:

    Hello Heavywhalley; I’m contacting you because while trawling for Culra Bothy items I came across your post of 2014 about the closure of the old place. I could see that you have a deep attachment to the Culra and Ben Alder. Enclosed is a link to a piece on my website that may interest you. I met George Oswald in the early 1990s. He impressed me greatly.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. deshannigan says:

    Glad you like it! Now that I’ve discovered your website I’ll be trekking happily through it.


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