The other day I was up a lovely wee hill An – Ruadh Meallean near Torridon that gave me a great view of the West side of the Torridon Munro Beinn Alligin. I have done several big call outs on this mountain here in my days of mountain Rescue assisting the local Torridon and Kinlochewe MRT and SARDA in the past. These Torridon’s are huge hills with long approaches at times in to remote Corries in poor weather. Alligin is a wonderful hill but few see all sides of it chasing the Munro summits.
Yesterday I could see the West side of Alligin and it was the scene of a tragic avalanche accident in March 1986.
It must be remembered that there was little avalanche information for this area in these days. Weather reports were not as good as nowadays and there were no mobile phones. Big searches in these areas would involve lots of manpower and dogs and local teams would often assist each other in big searches.
In 2014 for the first time, SAIS provide a limited forecast for the Torridon area in the North West Highlands. How things have changed now we have a full report every avalanche season..
This was the Call – out details .
27 March 1986 – West Ridge of Beinn Alligin – Walker killed in 300 metre fall and two companions suffered broken legs and hypothermia. Spotted from the air by a Wessex helicopter and one of the MRT who saw a glove in the snow !
Looking back it was a lucky break that the glove was noticed in the snow. The weather was not great but sadly one climber died but the other two were saved. Looking back they were in a bad way. Finding someone alive in such circumstances was pretty unusual at the time from a major avalanches.
Yet its ok many hills I have so many mixed memories. Beinn Alligin at the end of the Torridon Trilogy with Liathach and Beinn Eighe. At the time in 1980 it was a great day. Coming off Beinn Alligin with my mates Dave Tomkins, Bertie and Teallach was a such an adventure !
As was Liathach and Beinn Eighe in winter classic mountaineering. The Torridon’s have so much to offer. So many great days climbing on Beinn Eighe on the superb Triple Buttresses in summer and winter. Visits to the Lancaster crash and so many ascents of Fuselage Gully in summer and winter. The Northern pinnacles on Liathach a (must) another great day as are some of the great ice routes in the Corries. Meeting friends like Martin Moran often on these hills he loved.
I have great memories of wild adventures coming of in the dark on these great peaks that test you no matter how much you think you know them? Troops trusting you and so glad to reach the safety of the Glen.
In all I have never had a bad day here in any weather hopefully more to come !