Jimmy Marshall – The Maister” King of The Ben.

I met Jimmy Marshall on a few occasions and he was already called “the Maisters” we I am sure we had a great night in Fort William after his presentation of the Mountain Culture Award in Fort William. Looking back I wished I had taped his words about the routes, characters and tales of some of his classic routes. In Feb 1960 on the Ben with Robin Smith was his famous cache of new high class routes on Ben Nevis including the Orion Face . We are so lucky that with his partner Robin Smith both of them were also good writers who detailed their climbs and the adventures they both had when putting them up. They have become classics of mountain literature and were first put in the SMC Journals and re published and are a must read for all winter climbers. Below is one of the tributes to Jimmy from the Fort William Mountain Festival. There is a link below that is worth watching.

Jimmy Marshall

The very sad news about Jimmy Marshall Passing away is another loss to Mountaineering. What an incredible mountaineer in the Golden Age of Mountaineering. An icon and one whose legacy of breakthrough routes especially on Ben Nevis pushed Scottish winter climbing to a new level. He was held awe by the many small climbing groups who were pushing the standards of the time. What he did with the equipment of that period was incredible. In these days a fall meant serious injury or death. His legacy is in his routes and writing. Another wonderful mountaineer gone . I doubt we will see his likes again?

A tribute from the Fort William mountain Festival.

“Having heard the sad news of the passing of Jimmy Marshall, everyone connected with the Fort William Mountain Festival would like to send their heartfelt condolences to Jimmy’s family, friends and loved ones.

Jimmy won our 2010 Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture for his incredible achievements in Scottish and UK mountaineering.

You can watch his award film here:”


A cracking poem by Bobby Motherwell.

A tribute by Bobby Motherwell “

“Saddened to hear of the passing of “The Maister” Jimmy Marshall. A true legend in the Scottish Climbing community, a trailblazer and one of the greatest climbers of his generation. I never met him, but felt that I knew him somehow as we shared a love of, and climbed in the same cathedral that is the Buachaille.

Over the years, I watched on repeat The Edge video which celebrated 100 Years of Scottish Mountaineering. In his early 60’s he revisited a classic rock climb he established on Slime Wall called Bludgers Revelation with his old climbing partner John McLean. I was in awe of these “old guys” climbing this hard classic route. I always wanted to climb it. Never did.

Now in my 60’s, I can reflect and be in greater awe of just how easy the pair made that climb look, and I am filled with an even greater respect for the man they called The Maister.

I wrote a poem called Old Boots a few years back which mentions Jimmy and other legends. I posted it on a climbing site and his daughter contacted me to say that she loved it. As you can imagine, that was quite something for me.

I’ll think of you Jimmy as I always do, next time I lay hands on that red rhyolite in Glen Coe.” Thank you Bobby

As Bobby says if you can have a look at the Edge on UTube or video it’s classic with a climb by Jimmy Marshall and his friend John McLean.

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 Articles, Books, Mountaineering, People, Recomended books and Guides, Scottish winter climbing., SMC/SMT, Views Mountaineering. Bookmark the permalink.

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