Happy New Year all. What’s your best New Year climb or walk?

It’s that time again and I am lucky enough to be on the West coast. The weather has not been great with a big thaw on plus some heavy rain. Yet it’s a great place to be.

The hills have lost a lot of snow but winter will be back of that I am sure. It happens most seasons so we just have to be patient.

What’s your best memory of a winter day? One of mine was a traverse of the Arran ridges in the late 70’s. Arran holds a special place in my heart as it was one of my first experiences of mountaineering as a very young lad. Previously I had been in the Galloway hills which can be wild in winter but Arran was another level. The ridge in true winter conditions was not supposed to be in often. I could see the hills from my home town in Ayr where I was on leave. I was lucky and had a superb day with a pal. When I got back to Kinloss few appreciated my efforts. They had been looking for a plane that went missing in Mull. The Great Mull Air Mystery is the name given by the media to the disappearance of pilot Peter Gibbs on 24 December 1975 after he took an unscheduled solo night flight from Glenforsa Airfield on the Isle of Mull in Argyll and Bute, Scotland, United Kingdom.

The Arran ridge in places is Alpine and we roped up in a few places. I found it very tricky even though I knew the ridge well. We camped in Glen Rosa and left well before daylight. It was a long day, we were fit but so glad to get back to our tent, exhausted physically and mentally.

Other notable New Year days include a few Call outs in Cairngorms, New Year’s Eve in Glencoe Stob Coire an Lochan and on Ben Nevis that old nightmare place 5 Finger Gully. It used to be a common occurrence for mountaineers to end up there!

I did have a great day with Yvette on Ben Wyvis many years ago. We saw no one and had a blue sky day. I even put her on a wee rope descending the snow was so hard. She will kill me for this photo but it’s one I love.

Yvette on Rinnes – sorry Yvette!

Over the years there were more incidents for “ vulnerable people” old and young going missing. For many especially nowadays life is so hard so look after those you love. It was another aspect of the job and one rarely spoken about.

It’s strange to me that we spend so much time training and on Call outs for folk we do not know? Yet how often do we look after our own, keep our eyes open for any signs that the “black dog”’( depression is there) no matter how strong we think we are.

Finally a huge thanks to all the Emergency Services and Agencies who are there for us. Many give up family time and it took me many years to appreciate their sacrifices. Time with a young family is something you will never get back.

Families worry about us and few talk about it. It’s a bit better nowadays but never forget those you leave behind at home.

Thank you all for what you all do. In this world that seems to be falling apart the good well out way those who make so called “news” nowadays.

Stay safe, stay well and look after those precious to you.

Happy New year all.

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 when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Articles, Corbetts, Friends, Health, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Scottish winter climbing., Views Mountaineering, Weather, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Happy New Year all. What’s your best New Year climb or walk?

  1. stevedsmart says:

    And a Happy New Year to you too, Heavy! (when we get there) – let’s hope it’s a good one!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Terry McDevitt says:

    This blog reminded me of the best winter day I ever had.
    I was 19 at the time and the Leuchars team was at THE FORT for the weekend. After the pub, Spoons asked me if I fancied walking in to the CIC hut that night and doing a couple of routes on the Saturday. I couldn’t believe that THE Spoons Blythe wanted me to go on the hill with him!!!!!!!!!!!
    We walked in to the hut and the folk in there didn’t want us inside because we weren’t members!!!!
    I remember Spoons saying something along the lines of “We’re RAF mountain rescue FFS”
    Anyway, we had a tent so it wasn’t a complete disaster.
    We were up at daft o’clock on the Saturday and walked in to the foot of Castle Gully where we had a brew and waited for reasonable light.
    We did the three Castle routes then went to the summit of The Ben.
    Whilst there, Spoons produced a quarter bottle of Whisky from which we had a tot in both coffees (which he also provided!) and then he just chatted. One thing I really remember is that he said something like “just think Terry, all those people on Argyle street in Glasgow or Princes Street in Edinburgh pushing against each other and we’re here. He pointed out all of the summits and explained to me just how privileged we are to be natives of our beautiful country.
    Remember, I was a mere youth who, at the time, was only ever interested in sex and bevvy. I don’t mind admitting that I cried and I didn’t know why.
    God bless you and all your readers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My best winter hill day was New Year’s Eve, 1978. Terry Moore led 8 of us for a “pied Piper” walk up Slioch; very cold day, brilliantly clear and I got a couple of great photos. Just decided to post one on my Facebook, 43 years later.


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