Down at the Fort William Mountain Festival.

Yesterday was a wild day terrible winds all night battered my village on the North East coast. I had to travel after giving blood in Elgin in the early afternoon. There were many trees down but as I drove West the weather improved. I was heading to the Mountain Festival in Fort William to listen to the author Mike Dixon and John Cleare give a talk on the wonderful new book on Tom Patey. The talk was hosted by Deziree Wilson who edited this incredible book. What a wonderful insight a legend in Scottish Mountaineering. It was a Brilliant hour thank you all. Patey what a man and not just as a climber, doctor, musician and also his character and a very honest account of some of his failings as we all have.

One Man’s Legacy chronicles the brief but brilliant life of Dr Tom Patey: bard, musician, and one of Scotland’s foremost climbers and mountaineers. His story is one of pioneering ascents and boundless enthusiasm, and his spontaneity, carefree approach and ability to burn the candle at both ends remain legendary, several decades after his untimely death.

Meticulously researched over several years, this definitive biography covers every aspect of Patey?s life in rich detail. Youthful endeavours with the Scouts and early forays on the Aberdeen sea cliffs were the foundation for Patey’s university years, where he established – often solo – many classic summer and winter lines in the Cairngorms, cementing his reputation as a tough, fearless mountaineer with exceptional endurance. A stalwart of 1950s bothy culture, his natural gifts as a musician and raconteur garnered him friends far and wide, and enabled him to transcend social and cultural boundaries with ease. Later, as a Royal Marine and then a highly respected GP, he maintained an insatiable appetite for exploring new terrain both in his native Scotland and further afield, in the Alps, Norway and the Karakoram.

By drawing on Patey’s essays and verses, published collectively in the celebrated One Man’s Mountains, the narrative is imbued with dry wit and gentle satire, and brought to life by unseen images from renowned photographer John Cleare and the Patey family archive. Supported by a foreword from Mick Fowler and first-hand insights from some of the leading climbers of the last century, including Sir Chris Bonington, Joe Brown and Paul Nunn, One Man’s Legacy celebrates a complex, larger-than-life character who rightly deserves his place in mountaineering history.

INSPIRE / RESPECT / PROTECT. The Fort William Mountain Festival welcomes you to the Outdoor Capital of the UK. We hope you find inspiration in our programme and our mountains. We hope you endeavour to love, respect and protect our environment as much as we do

Thank you!

We would like to say a big thank you to our Festival Patron, Dave “Cubby” Cuthbertson, for the use of his stunning photographic images across this website – you can see a lot more of what he has been up to recently at Cubby Images.

Every year we need a team of people to help out on the weekend of the festival, so if you would like to volunteer please drop us an email at

It was a great night the exhibition area is so interesting I am looking forward to going back tomorrow to see more. I met so many friends it was heartwarming. It was great to see SARDA Scotland there with their dogs and so many others.

Old guy and SARDA

Thanks to Tina and all the organisers volunteers for a great night it was wonderful to meet folk again after these dark COVID days. See you all today for round 2 .

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 Books, Mountaineering, Munro Society, Munros, People, Scottish winter climbing., SMC/SMT, Views Mountaineering, Weather, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Down at the Fort William Mountain Festival.

  1. Fiona Wild says:

    Congratulations on your award, Heavy. Well deserved.
    Hope to catch you over the weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

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