From Assynt Mountain Rescue Team yesterday
“Over 5 and 6 Feb team members were involved in a search and recovery of two persons on Ben Hope. Extremely welcome support from Dundonnell MRT and Lossiemouth MRT. And huge thanks to Police Scotland and both Stornoway And Dalcross based Coastguard helicopters for their outstanding support over the two days. Our sincere condolences and thoughts go out to all the family and friends, many of whom are involved in mountain rescue.”
Yesterday the news came in that two incredible Mountain people had been killed on Ben More – Scotland’s most Northerly Munro! I knew right away that it could be a pal Andy Nisbet and his climbing partner Steve Perry. Unfortunately I hardly knew Steve but he was another powerful climber and one who was one of the strongest climbers in the SMC. (Scottish Mountaineering Club) He had done a unsupported traverse of all Scotland’s Munro’s in the past.
” From BBC news “Steve Perry was also a well-known mountaineer, who had completed an on-foot round of the Munros in the winter of 2005-06 and was a keen climber in both summer and winter, who listed new routing in winter Scotland as one of his favourite climbing experiences.”
I sadly had an awful feeling when I heard that there had been an accident on Ben More. I knew that Andy was up that way climbing as always on new winter routes. Andy was always climbing especially in winter with his many friends many who are some of the best winter climbers in the UK, that was who and what he lived for.
I knew Andy very well he was roughly the same age as me but what an incredible. Mountaineer in every aspect. He was the most active prolific Mountaineer that Scotland has ever produced. He has climbed over 1000 plus new winter routes all over Scotland his enthusiasm was dynamic. Never in the history of Scottish Mountaineering has anyone been so prolific or enthusiastic and introduced so many to the mountains especially in winter
It was in winter that Andy excelled he climbed all over Scotland most crags have a “Nisbet Route” and was “the expert in Scottish winter climbing” I was lucky to know Andy we met often on the hills. At one time he was the youngest to complete the Munro’s at that time at 17 years old. This is where we had a common interest in the hills, especially his marathon hill days with rock climbing added to produce some incredible days.
Though he was such an incredibly talented Mountaineer he always had time to speak and give me and so many others the benefit of his knowledge. He was always interested in what we were up to and if we had found any new crags, on our wanders round Scotland with the RAF Teams.
We met many times but one that stands out was on a wild night in the 80′ in the Hutchison Hut in the Cairngorms . I had fought my way round five Munros in early winter with a young troop, we so glad to find the hut empty. Andy arrived with the young Grahame Livingston after putting up a new route on Coire Sputan Dearg. I thought I was fit and in came Andy and Graham they were plastered in snow, with wild eyes it was very late and had been dark and a blizzard was blowing. It had been one of the worst days ever for me in the mountains yet how they climbed in these conditions I will never know. Yet we had a great night in that freezing bothy sharing our food and stories.
We met often even on a Rescues and at Glenmore Lodge on routes across Scotland and many of my team especially the young ones of an Andy Nisbet story. He was such a good man and his encyclopedic knowledge of Scotland was unsurpassed. He was always been willing to share and help folk and pass on his knowledge. There will be amazing eulogies he climbed with most of Scotland’s great climbers. He started many on the road to the mountains in his guiding and so many will have a tale about Andy and Steve who was also a powerhouse in the mountains. He was so well known through his Guide books and articles and by those who knew him so well.
Yesterday I lost a good pal who was a huge icon in Scottish Mountaineering. Many will miss that wild beard frozen up and his vagueness when chasing new lines on the mountains but what huge enthusiasm on the crag. He was a huge influence on the Scottish Mountaineering Club ( SMC) where he was on many of the Committees and served as President. I knew him for the many meetings we had with the Scottish Mountain Trust and the huge work he did for mountain lovers and the Guide Books that he loved and wrote.
Sadly Andy and Steve are with us no more and we have lost two men who are irreplaceable in this wee country that we love.
Steve and Andy had climbed a lot together they were a formidable partnership and the news is just starting to sink in. Its so hard to take in. We lose so many to the mountains it always so hard to understand why ?
Sadly the pain we leave behind for the families and friends is heartbreaking.
My thoughts are with Andy and Steve’s families and all their pals what an awful tragic day.
The Mountain Rescue Teams of Assynt, Dundonnell and RAF Lossiemouth MRT’s carried out a huge call out along with the SAR Helicopter in such a remote area. My thanks are to them, many in the teams will know Andy and Steve and thanks for all their efforts.
Life can be so hard at times.
My thoughts are with Steve and Andy’s family and friends.
How do we Justify a life – Dave Bathgate.
For Tony, Dougal, Mick. Bugs, Nick, ET AL
How can we justify a life,
Spent sitting at the coal?
Or roaring at the stadium,
Foul ref, off side, goal.
And how do we justify the time
Spent sitting at the set?
Or in the boozer sinking pints,
Or placing one more bet.
And tell us how we justify,
The attitude today?
That even if we shirk the work,
We still expect the pay?
How can we justify a life
Without a plan or vision?
With never a constructive thought
No risks and no ambition?
And yet we sit and criticise
The spirit wild and free
Who climbs the highest mountains
And sails the cruellest seas.
Who plumbs the deepest oceans
Or explores the darkest caves.
Or has the crazy notion
to surf the biggest wave.
Blinded by security
We say they must be fools,
To shoot white water rapids,
Or fight fast whirlpool
But a true appreciation
Of life we will never know,
Till we have pushed our minds and bodies
As far as they can go.
And if death should overtake us.
Then death must have been due,
But there is no sting in death,
No sting for you.
Poem by Dave Bathgate
This is from Ron Walker
It’s hard to take in, I keep hoping I’m having a bad dream. Andy for all his climbing achievements and fame once you met and knew him, you realised he was such a ordinary, humble, kind and genuine person who was always happy to share and chat to everyone whether in the mountains, at the crags or in the supermarket buying snowballs and sugarpuffs! He always that mischievous twinkle in his eye, as if he was a naughty schoolboy doing something he shouldn’t be, such as eating sweet and cake or mixed climbing as in this photo! His mate I didn’t know Steve that well and although outwardly different in character he was another genuine person who lived for his adventures in the mountains with Andy and mates and especially climbing new winter lines. The climbing world will be shocked.
Thank you Ron