Thanks to John Harper of The Braeraich for all those years of looking after us in Newtonmore . RIP John

This wee blog is read by many ex RAF Troops all over the World . I use it to pass news good and bad on to others many who live away from Facebook. I picked this up from Joanne through Facebook that her father had passed away.

Joanne Patience “For those that knew the force that was John Harper, he passed away last night and is now at peace with our mum. Love him or hate him he led a varied life and would always help anyone he could as he knew what it was to have nothing. Gone but never forgotten and always loved. My Dad. Xx”

John Harper (photo family) .

The RAF Teams knew her father John well. One great thing about the Teams being all over the Highlands is we stayed in various village Halls, After a day on the hill we would go to the pub and Newtonmore was a special place. The team loved it and the Braeraich Hotel was special to many

I met John not long after he had taken over the pub. He put on chips and soup for us and the pub was busy with lots of locals. We became part of the community using Newtonmore village hall for training and the Navy cottage for many Callouts. We would often come back very late after some of the huge Call outs that occurred John would stay open for us. He was accept that at times we needed to unwind especially after some of the tragic call outs. We all have great memories of John and his family over the many years. Newtonmore or “Hoot and Roar” became a place for the team especially at New Year. The pub was the centre of our world in those days . We attended a team wedding here and had so many cracking nights. You would meet so many other mountaineers and climbers in the pub.

I remember the back bar where I am sure the pool table was. The teams met many local lassies here and most have fond memories. John Harper was firm but fair and if we stepped out of line we were told yet he always looked after us. Being away from home on big searches it was important to switch of at least for a few hours. The Braeraich was a place for that and John knew how we were by our mood after a successful call out or a tragic one.

There is one story where the back boiler blew up just before New Year. John’s son was hurt and taken to hospital. The pub looked like a a bomb site yet that night John had the pub open. These were different days we took much of John’s banter for granted . His late night snacks with salty chips were designed to make you drink more! Which we did!

Many I hope will pass on the sad news of John’s passing think of the good times and the families welcome to us over the years. My condolences to Joanne and the family.

Comments welcome – thanks to Joanne for allowing me to use her photo and words.

Joanne wrote back “

This is a blog written by David Whalley or to those that knew the RAF Mountain Rescue Teams when they used to come to the village Heavy 😊.


Friday night usually meant for me buttering many loaves of bread for the obligatory trays of sandwiches made up for the teams on their arrival and in return they were great customers and always made Christmas and New year a real joy along with the hard work for both mum and dad. They even camped out in the Brae bar and the Chef’s Grill a few times when the village hall or Pine cottage had been double booked. Thankyou David and all the teams.”

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, Bothies, Family, Friends, Local area and events to see, mountain safety, People, Views Mountaineering, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Thanks to John Harper of The Braeraich for all those years of looking after us in Newtonmore . RIP John

  1. georgemc1944 says:

    Thanks for that Heavy. Sad news indeed. Fond memories myself of John and the Braeraich Hotel. He looked after mountaineers and climbers with friendly, firm and steady hand. My condolences to his family and friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Remember John well, as an occasional customer at the Braeriach. Always a character, and his friendly presence made the Braeriach the only choice if we were in the area.

    Like

  3. Al Barnard says:

    RIP John. Thanks for making us welcome. Good times in the Braeriach. Salty BBQ ribs with the heating turned up. Another pint already?! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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