A last walk with Tom MacDonald RIP.

I had a kind day yesterday as I was helping my old pals sister with his ashes. She had decided to leave them amongst the hills crags and flowers he loved. Tom MAcDonald had joined the RAF Kinloss MRT with me on 1972 he was already a strong hill man at 17 and taught me so much. Later on he became a great climber but his love of botany took him into a world of wild Corries all over Scotland doing surveys on rare plants.

Toms sister Janice and Kalie who along with her sister winter Wendy climbed with Tom when he was guiding on the Ben.

We stayed overnight in Killin at the Coorie Hotel dog friendly and superb. I picked Kalie up from Inverness and we left the madness of the A9 for the Queens view and stunning Perthshire a wonderful journey . Everything is so green and the weather stunning. We stopped at Kenmore then on to Killin. A place I have great memories of in my spell at RAF Leuchars MRT. We had a wander in Killin after booking in then a super meal.

At the Falls at Killin.

I called an old pal Billy Stitt who was the ex Team leader of the Killin Team and he met us after the meal. We had a great catch Billy is such a kind man and we have a huge bond after the Helicopter crash on Ben More many years ago. That is a sad tale where the then Killin Team Leader was killed and Billy and the rest of the Killin team were heroes that night. We met Janice at the Car park next day for Ben Lawyers it was wet and midgy. I carried Toms ashes up the hill they were heavy and we had a laugh as he was always stronger than me. This is where Toms Dad dropped us early 41 years before when we did the Lawyers Munro’s and Meal na Tarmagan we ran round them all the years ago.

It would be a slow day of changeable weather I have never seen so many flowers about. Tom would have been in his element using the Latin names and giving us such detailed explanations. Alice Janice’s dog are Blaeberries all day! We smelt the Heather when the sun came out and even lost the midges as we gained height. Kalie and Janice chatted I kept low key worried that my voice would go.

Stunning flowers all day.

We decided to take the skulkers path up to the Beleach which gains height slowly. The cloud was down a mizzle of rain was down and the grasses had beads of raindrops on the add to that the cobwebs it was a lovely sight. Janice was stoic and kept going and we got to about 900 metres.

She told us that Tom loved this place for the views of Glen Lyon and the Corries around. This was the place Tom would want there was no one about the clouds were down and the wee cliffs dripping wet and yet so many misses and plants.

A wee break

We stopped here found some flowers a solitary harebell was the place among the rocks to put Toms ashes. From here he could see the place he loved Perthshire and it’s mountains wild animals and flora. We said a few words then built a small cairn by the cliff. I have put a grid reference for these pals who may want to pay their respects in the future. The clouds cleared we could see Glen Lyon then slowly the mist came back.

The grid reference for where we stopped.

We had lunch the rain came in we told a few stories and the rain got heavy. Hat, gloves and over trousers were now on as we walked down into the wind.

Kalie and Wendy

After half an hour the rain was gone and back in the sun. We met Kalies sister Wendy who arrived up as we descended. We all had a good catch up.

On the way back.

We were soon down at the car and I had to head home with Islay as Kalie was heading of to Glasgow. I stopped to see Elma in Crianlarich looking well and Sue in Onich. The A82 was so busy with another bad crash at Glencoe. The helicopter was at the scene and traffic very slow. It was a long drive home.

Kalie and Janice.

I forgot to mention that on the way off we met Helen from National Trust Scotland repairing the path. She knew Tom and Janice recognised her we had a chat and that was a fitting end of the day.

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 Friends, Health, Hill running and huge days!, Mountaineering, Munros, Views Mountaineering, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

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