People ask me about tips for the hills I say learn to navigate ,get fit and take photos from day 1. In my early days it was a costly thing to do taking photos but nowadays it is so easy with phones and digital cameras. My other tip is to mark who and where they were taken with a date etc well worth it as the memory fades.I got some great photos from an old pal who is a professional photographer and was in the RAF many years ago of my dog Teallach who was a huge part of my life in the mountains. Thanks Pete Boardman you made my day.
Teallach made several outstanding walks including two complete traverses of Scotland, a North to South and an East to West, one hundred and forty five Munros in seven weeks – very hard on the paws! His apprenticeship was spent in Wales where he completed the fourteen Peaks when still just a pup. He did this hill route on many occasions, learning his basic skills on many of the Welsh classics, besides doing several winter routes here and in the Lakes. During my exile in North Wales, the lesser hills proved good training for Scotland and every six weeks or so we would take a trip to the big hills in the North, this being where he excelled. I have been a member of RAF Mountain Rescue Teams at Kinloss and Leuchars and many days were spent on big hill days with the young team members. Teallach’s logbook included, the Skye Ridge in two days. Eleven full traverses of the South Clunnie (including The Saddle), six complete traverses of the North Clunnie, nine full Traverses of the Mamores, seven full traverses of the Fannichs, three ascents of the Shenavall Six and three ascents all of the Affric Munros. In addition, he completed “The Tranter Traverses” in Kintail and Lochaber and was a regular user of the CIC hut, until he was banned by the members.
As he got older he would enjoy walking up to the crag and watching our epics on the classics routes, occasionally pinching any food that was left in open rucksacks. Even after a long climbing day he would still be there after 12 hours, waiting for you to come down. He would even know where the descent gully was and meet you. Later on he developed a love for Sea Stacks and would enjoy the day whilst we climbed on Am Buaichaille or Storr, swimming around the stack, watching what was going on. Every hill loch would involve a swim whatever the weather or season.
After a hill-day and back in the bothy, he would always find the new lad’s sleeping bag and make himself comfortable, he would be in their bag and fast asleep. Few were brave enough to move the huge Alsatian and many a novice had a cold night curled up on the floor (good training for the Greater Ranges}
Teallach was an exceptional dog, well behaved on the hill, no problem with sheep or any of the wild life and most of all a great companion. The ultimate Party Leader, always looking after his party, regularly rounding up any stragglers. He was not a just a Munro bagger but an all round “Scottish Mountaineer”. He used to be able to jump and climb deer fences when in his prime. Unfortunately he nearly hung himself when his karabiner caught in the top wire, much to the consternation of my 5 year old stepson who was very worried. I managed to sort it out and Teallach became very aware that his screw gate karabiner should be locked closed at all times!
He always wore a screw gate karabiner round his collar and had one terrible habit when he was thirsty, in the middle of the night. He would head for the toilet for a drink. The noise of the karabiner on the toilet bowl woke everyone. Even though he died back in 1992, I sorely miss him, what a friend he was, what a life he had. He kew when we had a bad call – out and would keep out of the way especially on a long stretcher carry off or fatality. He was part of the team and knew when we were upset, some dog.
He was trained for the hills and as a pup never allowed to chase anything, and behaved so well.
Training – That took a lot of work but a dog must be so controlled in the wilds due to sheep and wild life. I hate to see dogs chasing deer and birds on the hills and it sadly happens often!
Taking a dog out in winter or on steep ground you have to be careful. Do not expect your dog to be able to cope with wild weather if you rarely take then out in bad weather.A dog like a human needs trained for the hills. Think when out and ensure your dog is controlled at all times.
Teallach knew when winter was coming as his coat grew thick. He was out every weekend and coped so well with the wild weather of call – outs and rarely showed he was tired. these photos bring back so many memories. If you have any photos of the old dog please look them out.
Any photos of Teallach please send them .
On Blaven – Skye
The young pup at RAF Valley Mountain Rescue Team !
Anymore photos please send them!