A few years ago Tom MacDonald invited me on a botanising trip from Rannoch to Ben Alder. The estate wanted a check on the plants high up in the remote Corries of Garbh Choire Mor and Beag on Ben Alder. They organised a lift and Tom invited me to go. That was a great day Tom was like a deer on the hill he took me places that I never knew existed ! We were on very steep ground and worked our way up to the ridge scary stuff. Tom was as always full of knowledge and so steady on his feet. What a day we had and of course we ticked both Munro’s.
On the way back we chatted about past great hill days. Tom was always a far better mountaineer than me but as he was brought up in hill country Aberfeldy he had a head start. We chased Munro’s in our youth we had no car but did some great days huge walk-ins and out, great Bothies. Learning to climb on Arran great granite routes and many undiscovered crags. Meeting up again in Wales huge rivalries between St Athan and Valley MRT and combining to climb grand routes on the hill and Welsh rock and ice.
When I did my resettlement from the RAF I managed to get Tom and his pal to take me botanising in the Cairngorms. What a couple of days we had I learned so much as did my pal Kenny Kennworthy. My knowledge of the grasses and plants is very limited yet we learned so much.
Myself and Tom completed our Munro’s on separate hills at Ballater on the same day on separate hills. We were Munro numbers 148 & 149 in 1976 that gave us a unique weekend. Later on we climbed in the Alps and Canada in winter Tom always looking after me.
I miss Tom sometimes we fell out but that’s what folks do. Looking back it’s hard to stay friends over the years but I am glad we met and shared so many adventures from the Munros, rock climbing, winter Mountaineering and fun abroad on various peaks. Miss you mate.
In memory of Tom MacDonald.