1976 was a busy year for Kinloss MRT and me.Completion of the Munro’s first round. First visit to the Alps.

1976 Kinloss Stats.

This was a busy period 3 call-outs stand out. The incident in May on Abrahams Route on Sgurr Alaister was another big lower. Yet we had learned from the one the year before and this time we had helicopter assistance what a difference that makes. As always especially on Skye the danger of loose rocks is so relevant. Over the years I was to climb this route a long 1000 foot climb not hard in grass as a difficult climb but it’s position above the Great Stone Shute makes it interesting. As in any long route be careful with route finding ?

There was also a big search for 2 climbers on the Glen Doll area a sad event both were located dead after a few days search. It has been the location of another tragedy.

The Black Cloud a sombre read.

The 1958 Tragedy – Glen Doll and Jock’s Road were in the headlines again in early 1959, when five members of the Glasgow-based Universal Hiking Club perished in appalling weather conditions on the plateau near Tom Bhuidhe. Although this group was experienced and well-equipped, they apparently set out rather late in the day to make the traverse, and in the darkness were overwhelmed by the sheer ferocity of the wind-chill and consequent hypothermia. Over the next few weeks, their bodies were found partially or completely buried in the snow, spaced out on a compass bearing heading for the descent into Glen Doll and safety. A tragic incident. Well written about over the years. These incidents got me researching into accidents and how to prevent them.

Cape Wrath – Also a big search for a bird watcher up the far North at Cape Wrath was a difficult area to search. The remoteness meant we had to get ferried across and sadly we did not locate the missing bird watcher. A big logistical incident and the huge cliffs made the searching fairly serious. I was to go back years later to work with the Coastguard and Lifeboat on these cliffs.

The Cruachan incident we were called out from Torridon as I was attempting the Big 3 on Torridon we had completed, Beinn Eighe and Liathach when we were called of the hill. It was then a long 6 hour drive through the night to the base at Dalmally stayed ng st the auction yard. It was an exhausting few days sadly the casualty was not located on the search but found years later on the back end of the mountain.

As you can see the team were involved in Call outs on Ben Nevis, Glencoe, Skye, Arran and Ben Cruachan.

There was an increasing number of climbing incidents in winter Winter climbing was becoming more popular due to improved Guide books and big changes in equipment. We were often involved in assisting.climbers as we were climbing a lot more often now. It was a start of many in the RAF Rescue improving their winter and summer climbing levels. Gear was changing all the time and with it came much more climbers on the cliffs. We knew many of this era and a few became great friend’s over the years.

In 1976 I completed my Munro’s

We all have great memories of the Munros I will never for get the day I finished and my pal Tom Mac Donald finished on the same day on Beinn a Chaorainn (Glen Eye) on 13 November 1976. The Munros have always meant a lot to me and a great way of enjoying and getting to know the Scottish hills. I have had so many great days with so many folk to mention but thank you all.

1976 My last Munro .

This was on the picture that my Team Leader Pete McGowan gave me and Tom all these years ago. It was also signed by the late Ben Humble of the SMC that made my day.

“Dear Heavy

On behalf of all the members of RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team may I congratulate you on a really fine achievement in ascending An Socach 3097 feet in Braemar on 13 November 1976.  You completed a unique double with Tom Mc Donald to join a small band of climbers who have ascended all the 280 “Munro Mountains” in Scotland.

Many thanks for your hard work with the team, for you can be rightly and justifiably proud of your efforts. Well done and best wishes for many happy and enjoyable days in the mountains.” Pete NcGowan I doubt he knows what that wee presentation did for me it was very humbling.

My area knowledge was improving of the climbing areas and we were getting to know this areas that were opening up like the North West these were interesting times.

It became so important to get to know Scotland as we were called in by many local teams to assist especially on big searches. My boss at work was great at letting me go as he knew I would work harder than others when needed. You were learning all the time new life skills from the team that you would never forget.

The mountaineering took over my life and I went on a first trip with Tom MacDonald my pal. We learned some good skills on the bigger mountains. Summoning Mt Blanc before it got busy. Again we met many of the new wave of climbers who were pushing climbing in the Alps. There were many accidents to one as we were on the Forbes Arête where three climbers fell together on the arête. That was an awful day and hard to keep your head when you have to get off the mountain safely. You learn so quickly and I found I was dealing with tragedies like they were normal occurrences.Which of course they were not.

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 Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, People, Recomended books and Guides, Rock Climbing, Views Mountaineering, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 1976 was a busy year for Kinloss MRT and me.Completion of the Munro’s first round. First visit to the Alps.

  1. Chris Hall says:

    Hi Heavy
    Have you any further information on job 10/76 on Skye.
    The climber was my father. He was 80 this year and for the first time mentioned the fall.
    Chris Hall (ex Saints)

    Liked by 1 person

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