Yesterday I did a wee bit of filming with Dave and Claire McLeod. The weather held for us and we got a few shots and a wee video done.The drive down was okay apart from Inverness which seems to have its own climate and heavy snow.
I went down the night before due to the weather forecast and stayed in Onich. The hills when they cleared had plenty of snow and I stopped a few times.
Yesterday we met for coffee and headed up the Glen. Dave was with his wife Claire and they make a formidable team.All went well the light changing and views of the Mamores and Waterslide ever changing.
We were above Scimitar buttress the ground frozen an a few groups of kids on Outdoor bound courses were about. Good to see them out and about. We had a good chat got the filming done before the weather broke. I have in the past done a few searches on this area and you forget how huge it is. Steep and craggy not the place to slip.
Dave did not remember but we were both spoke at the Dundee Film Festival in 2008 alongside Rheinold Messner. Thomas Humar and a few others. Hallowed company .
Dave had his drone up at the end and we heard the helicopter flying there was a few Rescues on today in Glencoe and Ben Nevis.I have some great memories of rock climbing at Polldubh in early summer before the midges come. Dave has done several extreme projects over the years he is a world class athlete with no ego.
The forecast was for wild weather so I hard back about 1400 stoping to see friend’s in Newtonmore. There was lots of snow high on the hills but the roads were clear. I did not stay long as a weather warning came in and headed home. The roads were okay but I got battered on the last few miles home. It was a long day I think Claire was worried about my cough but it was okay and great to meet them again.
It’s great to met such folk easy to chat to both with immense knowledge of scotland and the Uk. Just to get out among such god folk is a tonic and I met Donald Watt ex Team Leader of Lochaber MRT and Norah his lovely wife. Sadly I had little time to catch up but will be back . Thanks Dave and Claire for a fun morning.
From Daves website:
“ I am a professional all-round climber based in the highlands of Scotland. I’ve been climbing for 27 years and have climbed 8C boulders, 9a sport climbs, E11 trad, XII,12 mixed and 8b+ free solo. I’m best known for my first ascents of routes such as Rhapsody, the world’s first E11 trad route, Anubis VII,12 one of the world’s hardest mixed climbs and Echo Wall on Ben Nevis. As well as my FAs in Scotland, I’ve climbed numerous hard big walls around the world such as Project Fear (400m 8c) on the north face of Cima Ovest, Paciencia (900m 8a) Eiger North Face, Disco 2000 (400m 8a+, Blamman, Norway).
I’m also known for my writing on training and improvement in climbing. I hold an undergraduate degree in Sports Science and Physiology, an MSc in Sport and Exercise Science and an MSc in Human Nutrition. I’ve been blogging and vlogging for 15 years and my two books 9 out of 10 climbers make the same mistakes and Make or break are among the best selling titles worldwide on training and injury prevention in climbing. When I’m not climbing I spend my time studying and writing about sports science and nutrition, or with my wife Claire and daughter Freida. I occasionally make mountain films as well.
To keep up with what I’m writing or climbing, please do follow me on social media and subscribe to my newsletter in which I discuss interesting new science in climbing, training ideas and upcoming events.”
I know you are a busy man. I have taken ages to find this account of my first and only experience of a helicopter rescue. Jeebsy is a nickname and alter ego that has followed me like a collie dug since my schooldays. If you have ten minutes have a laugh. Keep your tongue in your cheek. All the best.
THE DANGEROUS BROTHERS. A CHRONICLE OF THE STEWARTON YOUNG TEAM Jeebsy and Andy sat on the new summer seats at Stewarton cross contemplating going to the police station to get the keys for the box that held the big draughts pieces and the poles. They both sat staring at the chequered squares of paving slabs each waiting for the other to say something profound. “Andy”, Jeebsy said, “can I just say a couple of words here”. “carry on”, was Andy’s reply “A couple of words here”, Said Jeebsy with a seriously stern expression on his face. “Aye right”, was the disgruntled response from his pal as he fidgeted on the bench to get a more comfortable position. “We could get big Neal tae get his Faithers motor and run us up tae Loudoun Hill”, said Andy. “Get in a wee bit mair rock climbing before the holidays are over”. “d’ye think his faither would gie us his motor for that”, Jeebsy enquired. He wasn’t so sure the motor car would be loaned to two who by the cut of their clothes expressed such defiance to authority. “Aye his da’ is awright wi him takin the motor”, was the answer. “Aye but no’ If he knows that we are getting’ in it,” said Jeebsy Just at that wee Mackie came round the corner from the cellars off license with a litre bottle of Merrydown cider. “Ditch that cider wee man Andy ordered, we are goin’ tae loudoun hill in big Hunters caur”. Mackie was a punk rocker. A punk rocker that happened to be a prospectively brilliant rock climber and had accompanied Jim and Andy on a couple of bouldering trips to Neilston quarry. Big Neil parked the car by the Drumclog sand quarry entrance and the four made their way to the east neck face of the hill, just below a route named the pulpit arête. The route to be attempted on this evening was a wee V diff called greenhouse gully, so called because it was a natural drainpipe for the water leakage from Loudoun Hill summit and hosted no small amount of fauna. Jeebsy roped up and lead the single pitch to fix a belay on the edge of the crag. Neil by his own admission was rather too big in stature for efficient rock climbing and therefore took a route up by a path around the back of the arête to take a seat on a flat boulder waiting for Jeebsy to climb to the top. “On belay”, came the command from the top “climb when you’re ready”. “climbing”, came the reply as Andy began his ascent. Neil watched in muted interest as Mackie made his way running from the top of the footpath along the edge of the crags. This climbing lark was not Neil’s scene as he was not the most athletic of people but he thought it would be a good idea to take his buddies out for the evening to watch them climb. Big Neil was in no way prepared for what drama was about to unfold as wee Mackie flitted like a wee elf along the edge of the crags to join the two at the top. The East Ayrshire air was suspended in animation as Mackie crouched to catch a glimpse of Andy making the last push for the top. He made no sound as the soles of his pound stretchers baseball boots almost silently, skidded on the dry rock. The thud of his bum cheeks gave Jeebsy and Neil a delayed realisation that he was now flying gracefully through the air, the only sound he made was the fluttering of his Denis the Menace jumper in his slipstream. The thud that Mackie made as he hit the rough terraced grass below the crags was crushing to the nerves as it reverberated around the deep valley below the hill. As he finally came to rest there was a pause as Jeebsy turned around to look at big Neil. Neil only pouted his lips and shrugged his shoulder as if to say don’t ask me Jeebsy and Neil sat as if waiting for some kind of higher power to tell them that what they had seen hadn’t really happened until the voice of Andy bellowed out in what seemed like an eternity. “Jeebsy, Mackie just fell! ” The shout came from Andy in the hope that he had somehow been imagining Mackie shooting past him in a vain attempt at free flight. “A Know that,” said Jeebsy in the hope that they were somehow in some kind of parallel universe and that Mackie would stand up and say got yez there eh and then it would all suddenly rewind to Mackie sitting on the top with them. Neil ran with all the grace that his large frame could muster dancing like a (very large) fairy over the loose scree and boulders before taking the car to make a 999 call from the nearby Loudoun Hill Inn. Mackie required stabilising on the steep hill side as Jeebsy reassured him that the big hole he felt in his pelvis was most likely the result of a very large bowel movement. Neil eventually returned about a half hour later stating that they were going to send a helicopter from HMS Gannet to lift Mackie from the hill. “Ya stupid big lump.” Andy’s voice had some degree of bombast as he roared out his displeasure at Neil’s inability to simply phone for an ambulance. “Whit the hell are ye doing phoning for a helicopter ya eejit, has nae body telt ye that ye have tae pay for a helicopter. It’s twenty bloody thousand pound just tae get one o’ they things aff the ground.” Mackie was oblivious to Andy’s ranting as he kept looking for Jeebsy’s re assurance about the big hole in his pelvis. Before long there was a man, with the sleeves of his crisp white shirt rolled to his elbows, clambering toward them. He had a medical bag and introduced himself as a police surgeon. He was followed by two very overweight uniformed police officers who had the unique talent of swearing between every syllable, in time with their breathing that sounded more akin to a death rattle. “Can you loonies no stay in Glencoe where ye belong,” exclaimed the first big fat policeman to arrive. “Nasty,” said the surgeon, “Broken radial, broken scapula and Humorous, aye broken as well. Ooooh dislocated shoulder, ouch all down the left side. I’ll get on the blower to Gannet get the Sea King up. “whit aboot the big hole in my pelvis.” Said Mackie. “We’ll no’ need a helicopter” said Andy “Me and my pal Jeebsy here are members of the local mountain rescue team we are trained in rigging up a harness. We can lower him onto that track below us and he can walk tae the ambulance.” several (??????????) sifted through my head as I unconsciously questioned when Stewarton ever had a mountain rescue team. “I am going to have to administer pain relief to this man,” said the surgeon preparing a syringe, “and he’ll be in no fit state to walk after this.” Andy’s protestations at the need for a helicopter continued as Mackie demanded that he shut the fuck up and let the man jag him. We were fortunate enough to get into the pre op room at Crosshouse A&E to see Mackie on a trolley with a grin from ear to ear. “Jeebsy, I am Right oot ma heed was his parting words as he was wheeled into theatre. From that day on the route on the east neck face of Loudon Hill known as greenhouse gully was renamed Ezras Dreep. The dangerous brothers went from strength to strength making the first ascent of the west wall of the old Corsehill Castle and Mackie never looked at a picture of a mountain again never mind climbed one. They have all taken a different commonplace expression life but the four will always be united in the dreadful night when Mackie went flying on Loudon hill. Maybe one day they will reunite for one last drink and enjoy the memory who knows maybe even get out the climbing gear and try a route once again on the hill up bye Darvel. More than likely they will just relax on the couch with a nice whisky and a laptop and let their fingers do the climbing on the key board.
Jim Higgins “27th January
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