Hamish leaves the Glen for a final time.

The start of the journey

Most folk will know I was down in Glencoe saying farewell to Hamish. The morning started with pouring rain and awful weather. I visited my sick friend then headed over to Glencoe were I met many old pals. SARDA Lochaber, Glencoe and many of Hamish’s pals and locals were gathered in the bitter cold. There would be no helicopter today due to the weather Hamish would laugh at that. I was there early layered up for the cold and safely distanced due to Covid met many of the “old and bold” As the time drew near Hamish’s hearse drew near. There was a spontaneous clap as it passed. On top of the coffin was two of his ice axes and a lovely simple piece of Heather. It was so simple and so special.

Hamish leaves the Glen – photo Dougie Borthwick.

It was all gone very quickly but poignantly. We shared some tales and the hearse moved on through the village and past the Glencoe MRT Base down the Glen past Hamish’s house and down the A82. Friends and locals braved the weather all with there special memories. Other Mountain Rescue teams were by the road as the hearse travelled on his way to a private family service in Glasgow. The hills were white with snow the weather had cleared as the “great man “ left his stage for his final journey.

I left quickly heading over to the West the rain was incessant but at one point it cleared. I stopped on the high road looking towards Kintail. It was full on winter now the wind was so cold and I had a few minutes.

A herd of deer passed the road into the wild I thought of Hamish free from pain and the life he had lead . What he had done, who he was and the effect on those he met and helped.

I am staying with a friend near Applecross you need friends and family just now. I have had some lovely calls and messages that are so appreciated . We should not be sad on Hamish’s passing.

What a life, what a man, what a journey.

This sums up the man,

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Articles, Family, Friends, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Munros, Recomended books and Guides, Views Mountaineering, Weather, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Hamish leaves the Glen for a final time.

  1. Jeanette Bryan says:

    Lovely words which brought some tears. A life well lived in the most beautiful surroundings. X

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pete Kay says:

    Articulated the day and the spirit of this sad occasion with compassion and feeling Hev’s. Always a tough day for some, and no doubt a deep sense of loss for the greater Scottish mountaineering community. Stay safe fella.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cameron McNeish says:

    A deep sense of loss indeed. Hamish encapsulated so much about Scottish mountaineering in those heady days of discovery. New routes, new techniques, new gear – all things that were passed on to the mountaineering world at large, things that encouraged the great and the good from all corners of the planet. I remember Yvon Chouinard telling me off his appreciation of Hamish and how he liked to visit Scotland just to be in Hamish’s company and “recharge his ethical batteries.” I think Hamish had that kind of effect on people. I remember when I was young I became desperate to move to Glen Coe and get an Alsatian dog just like Hamish’s Rangi… A bit of a loner, a complex character in some ways, but a genius nevertheless. We’ll not see his likes again.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. John Radburn says:

    Think i met him once, a long time ago, early 80s when i was just starting mountaineering. We were up there as a group from Bolton M.R.T. and there was a shout, we volunteered. Only one word really required. RESPECT

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Eddie Pratt says:

    Hi Heavy
    You did Hamish proud, great job on Radio 4 last word

    Sent from my iPad


  6. Robert Barber says:

    A life well lived. I have so many books telling the stories of climbing in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. They were all riveting and quenched a thirst I had for tales of adventure. Hamish was one of those I followed. Rest in peace kind sir…


  7. I’m sad to say I don’t know Hamish, but from what you’ve said, he sounds like a remarkable man who will be sorely missed by all those whose hearts he touched. A beautiful tribute. My condolences to all who knew him.


  8. Thank you for this Heavy.
    I could not be there with you sadly, due to Covid restrictions, but in spirit I was with Hamish and all his friends, as he moved through the village and the Glen.
    I know that latterly he was surrounded with the most loving care and close friends, with a view his beloved mountains.
    He quietly made a difference to the world at large.
    His was truly a life well lived and will continue to be celebrated.
    I will miss him dearly.
    Patricia, his niece.

    Liked by 2 people

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