It’s so difficult to look back on the last two days. We lost two incredible people to the mountains Andy Nisbet and Steve Perry on the remote Ben Hope in the far North of Scotland.
The recovery by the Mountain Rescue Teams the Police and the SAR helicopters of Andy and Steve was a hard one.
I know many who were involved and thank them all for their efforts. Only those who have recovered friends from the mountains will understand and their feelings. It is never easy especially in such a remote area. I am forever in your debt.
I spoke to the media a fair bit yesterday folk ask why put yourself through this ? I feel you have to to give some dignity and awareness of what Andy and Steve were doing. What drove them and at least try and enlighten some of the media to why folk climb walk ski in winter.
It is so easy to be misquoted and comments changed but I hope what was said helps the family and friends of both Andy and Steve.
It is hard for the outside world those out of our small intense world of Mountaineering to appreciate who these two icons were.
I have been involved in the Mountain
Rescue for over 40 years and so glad I have retired you never get used to recovering your own.
Especially friends sadly I have done this over the years. These tragedies being the thoughts back to so many others over many years.
Martin Moran the Mountain Guide wrote a powerful eulogy on Andy and Steve in his blog it describes Andy and who he was. It is one of the most powerful pieces I have ever read. I recommend it to you. Thank you Martin these words will mean a lot to so many.
After a tragedy Mountaineers always get asked why do we climb ? Why do we love those wild places? Why do we go out in winter ?
Read Martins blog it will take you into another world where only a few venture and folk like me and many others can only dream of.
It showed the drive and personality of these two characters and a bit of who they were.
I will like many go out in the hills soon and refresh the body and mind. I will take time to think and the wild places are a place of healing for me and many others.
There is no where else to celebrate these two lives lost.
The weather looks wild for the weekend but many will be out getting their fix. There will be among those out
be many of Andy’s and Steve’s friends with heavy hearts remembering them. Yet life will continue many of the Mountain Guides/ instructors will be taking new folk out to experience the winter.
Ben Hope is a wild place especially in winter from its summit there is this totally wild area it’s pretty unique up this far North.
The lochs and tiny road below and the sea are visible from the summit. I have been here many times twice at the beginning and end of Big Walks across Scotland. It is a place of solitude and solace it will always be a special place even more so now.
Many rush up Ben More but I always enjoyed my walk along the cliff top and seeing these neglected cliffs that Andy and Steve were exploring and climbing on.
This mountain will never be the same for me but I will revisit soon.
My friends in the RAF Rescue Team stayed overnight in the same Hostel that Andy and Steve had stayed in the night before their accident. There is little other accommodation open in the winter up there. Their names had booked in the Hostel book.
It makes you think how short life can be and a simple slip can change everything.
Andy and Steve did fill every day with adventures and a love of the wild.
Thanks for all the wonderful comments and thoughts.