1975 – Back home and on the hills again. Completing the Munro’s became the main aim.

One of the great things about being away on a 9 month tour to Masirah in the Persian Gulf was I got a months leave as you cannot take leave in Masirah. I had plans hatched with my pal at Kinloss to get lots of Munro’s done. It was still winter (April )when I returned I did the right thing by visiting my family and then heading off to the hills.

We both did not drive so it was hitching, trains and bus travel to Cairngorm. We had planned a bothy out at Corrour after climbing Braeraich Cairntoul and Devils Point. It was a long day in poor conditions and serious navigation. I struggled with the day there is no way I was ready for a long winters day. Yet I got there and we came back via Cairn a Mhain, Ben MacDui and Cairngorm. Then we hitched into Aviemore and the train back to Kinloss.

Munro write up.

My pal Tom MacDonald and I completed our Munros both on separate hills in November 1976. We were both young members of the RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team and were so lucky to have done these great hills before they became so popular. It was a great weekend I finished on An Socach 944 metres and the other two Munros for the rest of the party it was a big day in November. Tom finished on I am sure Beinn Bhreac and we were staying at Braemar with the Team. Most of the hills were done with the team and it was a constant chase to get the summits done with some great characters who taught us lots. I had no car could not drive and on the odd weekend off we hitched to the hills. I learned to navigate and worked hard getting to hills on buses, trains and hitching. It was an all-consuming journey and what a day when Pete McGowan the RAF Kinloss Team Leader and the late Ben Humble a pioneer of Scottish Mountain Rescue presented me and Tom with a photo on our completion. This was the after myself and Tom MacDonald had completed out Munro’s 1976. This was about a year before Ben passed away. It was a great privilege to meet Ben Humble, what a character. We had a great blown up photo of the North Face of Ben Nevis that Ben Humble took and gave to the team.

My last Munro An Sochach ( Braemar)

Myself and Tom had some adventures rock climbing in Arran and Glencoe. Tom was a far better climber than me and we climbed some great classic routes. We got to know the Etive Slabs and seeing the stars who were about at that time. We hitched and camped but all the time taking our weekend off to get some climbing done. Slowly we bought some gear harnesses, ropes and gear. All the time getting to know both the hills and the great cliffs.

Ray Sunshine Sefton and Pete McGowan two MR greats.

Tom became a party leader before me as I had to prove myself to our new Team Leader Pete Mc Gowan what a man he was. He led from the front and changed the team. There was no place to hide in Pete’s team and he pushed you to improve. He also got some great climbers in who became true friends. Jim Morning and Terry Moore from Stafford and Valley. They helped push the standards and we climbed a lot more. Pete took us to some great crags like climbing on Foinaven in the far North we regularly got back to Kinloss after midnight on Sunday night .

Earning the badge.

Pete expected complete commitment to the team. He was hard to please but what an example he was to us all. He lead from the front and was a true mountaineer. He had climbed all over the world and had the team working hard. It was a small team once he had done a clear out but we were so driven. He updated our training sending us on First aid Instructors courses at Halton and gaining civilian mountaineering qualifications like the Mountain Leadership certificates.

You learn from every Team Leader and I was storing their leadership qualities for future use. I had an aim to become a Team Leader it would be a long hard process if I was to achieve this in the future.

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 Family, Friends, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Munros, People, Views Mountaineering, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to 1975 – Back home and on the hills again. Completing the Munro’s became the main aim.

  1. James Higgins says:

    Hello heavy. My business accruement has been rather thin over the years, therefore my rather casual introduction to my email. My apologies for this. My enquiry has sprung somewhat out of the blue here but after many years of searching, the thought came to my mind that you may may be the right man to ask for help. After a lifetime of exploring the Galloway hills I have had became even more attached to the place names and hill names I have just re read a book called The Galloway Highlands by Dane Love. In his book he offers explanations, translations and dips into the etymology of some place names. It is by no account an exhaustive study and has only served to whet my appetite for more. The names in this wonderful place conjure up images of middle earth in my imagination and I am looking to continue my journey into the history and perhaps mysticism that have given these names there roots and origins. To get to the point I was wondering if you could point me to any sources which would assist me in my trivial pursuit. Yours. Jim Higgins.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Chris McQuigg says:

    I was at Ks 72-79 & though I knew about the MRT, I really had no idea how hard you all worked to gain experience & qualifications. TVM.

    Liked by 1 person

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