Memorials – On the Mountains “Lest We Forget” The Nimrod Memorial looking tatty in Forres – sad to see!

Nimrod Memorial in Forres in need of care. How short are our memories?

Nimrod Memorial in Forres in need of care. How short are our memories?

I was in Forres with a friend and saw for the first time the Nimrod Memorial at the Veterans Cottages in Orchard Road in the town. It was looking very tatty and saddens me greatly. I am filled with sadness to see this and how short people’s memories are.  The cottages are owned/ maintained by the council would have thought this should be maintained by the council too . It is amazing how many of the great and good turn up on Remembrance Day and think that is it. Remembrance is every day and maybe someone needs a kick to sort this out  and make the memorial  look as it should again we owe it to those who gave their lives for us! Maybe a few flowers, the grass cut and things that are easy to maintain would not be to difficult or expensive to sort out? The aircraft crashed less than 10 years ago and lives of the families were changed for ever!  I was working in the ARCC the day the crash happened and it was a tragic day as we got the news very quickly.

From the MOD at the time “It is with very great sadness and regret that the Ministry of Defence has confirmed the names of the fourteen British personnel killed following the crash of a Nimrod MR2 aircraft in Afghanistan on Saturday 2 September 2006. All on board died

  • Flight Lieutenant Steven Johnson, aged 38, from Collingham, Notts
  • Flight Lieutenant Leigh Anthony Mitchelmore, aged 28 from Bournemouth
  • Flight Lieutenant Gareth Rodney Nicholas, aged 40 from Newquay, Cornwall
  • Flight Lieutenant Allan James Squires , aged 39, from Clatterbridge
  • Flight Lieutenant Steven Swarbrick, aged 28, from Liverpool
  • Flight Sergeant Gary Wayne Andrews, aged 48 from Tankerton in Kent
  • Flight Sergeant Stephen Beattie, aged 42 from Dundee
  • Flight Sergeant Gerard Martin Bell, aged 48, was from Ely, Cambridgeshire
  • Flight Sergeant Adrian Davies, aged 49 from Amersham, Bucks
  • Sergeant Benjamin James Knight aged 25 from Bridgwater
  • Sergeant John Joseph Langton, aged 29 from Liverpool
  • Sergeant Gary Paul Quilliam, aged 42 from Manchester
  • Corporal Oliver Simon Dicketts, the Parachute Regiment, aged 27
  • Marine Joseph David Windall, Royal Marines, aged 22

Nimrod Mem 2

How quickly they forget! Any comments welcome ?

I have spent a lot of time in the past though visiting remote Memorials though I am not really for Memorials specifically in wild places. Many of the Aircraft Crash sites I visit in the mountains are where the crews died. I worked hard with a few others on a famous Memorial In Assynt to the crew of an Anson that crashed high in the mountains and were buried on site when they were found 6 weeks later. The Memorial was looking awful and in a poor state and with the crew buried below something needed to be done.


The old Memorial at Assynt  the end the War Graves Commission took it on and after 10 visits to the remote crash site have resulted in a new Memorial that needs very limited  maintenance.     (see this blog for more details)

Lots of work by all to a remote site 3 hour walk in to 2000 feet and worth all the effort to ensure that a simple easy to maintain memorial is now in place. A huge effort but worth it.  On the 13th April 1941 an Anson aircraft from RAF Kinloss on a cross-country training flight crashed near Ben More Assynt in the North West Highlands at Inchnadampth above Ullapool. The aircraft had taken off from Kinloss in less than ideal weather to follow a route via Oban, Stornoway and Cape Wrath before returning to Kinloss.

“Here are commemorated the crew of an aircraft crash on Ben More Assynt on the 13 Th. of April 1941, whose bodies rest where they fell”

Flying Officer JH Steyn DFC.  Pilot

Pilot Officer WE Drew.             Observer/ Instructor

Sergeant J Emery.                      Wireless operator gunner

Flight Sergeant T R Kenny.       Wireless Operator

Sergeant CM Mitchell.              Observer Pupil

Sergeant HA Tompsett. .           Wireless operator gunner.

The new Memorial at Assynt with the local ATCadets who helped with the renovation.

The new Memorial at Assynt with the local ATCadets who helped with the renovation.

We sorted this out in the wilds of Scotland in Assynt – Surely the Nimrod needs a bit of care and attention?

Any comments welcome?


2 June  – Heavy, I have received a response from Moray Council “Our parks supervisor in Forres, Grant Speed, has been working with the community volunteers and the primary school on a revamp. They plan to use coloured chippings (red, white and blue) under the Nimrod and tidy the bed up. I’ve no time scale but it will be in short order.”
I also spoke to the Buffs in Forres on this and received an update, that should the volunteer approach fail the park will be sorted.
Razzah is correct, funding has been severely cut with volunteers now dealing with the flowerbeds for Britain in Bloom.

D Walker

Posted in Aircraft incidents, Enviroment, Local area and events to see, Views Mountaineering, Views political, Weather, Wildlife | 7 Comments

Munro Adventure Day 8 – Graeme and Penny Old favorites – Beinn Tulaichean Cruach Ardrain Ben More Stob Binnein


The Munro Adventure  with Graeme and Penny his dog who are hoping to do the Munros is 100 days a low key fun adventure and they have allowed me to copy his blog and share it. May is a wonderful time to be on the hills – 4 seasons in one day and the wild life and plants after a long winter will be outstanding, I envy you and Penny and enjoy the daily  journey.
2015 DAY 8 ( 8th MAY )


Another Munro which one?

Another Munro which one?

Beinn Tulaichean  Cruach Ardrain Ben More Stob Binnein

Got parked last night up past Loch Voil at Inverlochlarig ,head down early big day to come. Woke at 6.30 it was +3 inside the van and 0 outside but the sun was shining and looked good. Set off at 7.25 and headed towards the farm through the gate and headed for the broad SW ridge eventually picking up a path , got my daily snow shower from about 400m and lasted till just short of Beinn Tulaichean , the ground was frozen solid and gave me a speedy descent down to the col on perfect neve, up onto Cruach Ardrain and had a bite to eat drink and a look at the map, started to descend steeply NE towards Stob Garbh and soon found my way barred by huge steep snow slopes, with lots of zig zagging up down left right I eventually reached the col below ( that was the worst of the trip so far) skirted round to the right and down to the high point below Ben More. (It is worth remembering that there is still plenty of hard snow?neve about at this time of year Heavy)  

Ben More Hills Map

Made a rising NE traverse to the 862m bealach ,on the way up I came across a ewe with very young lamb the ewe ran off and the lamb obviously adopted me , coming right up rubbing itself against my legs and penny , I gave it a few pats and set off again with youngster following ,eventually it responded to its mums bleats. Up onto Ben More spying 2 pairs of snow buntings on the way about 50m short of the summit , about turned and headed down with some great glissading to the bealach . It was firm snow almost all the way up the ridge onto Stob Binnein , had a break to refuel and take in the surroundings then the undulating extremely steep final 600m knee trembling descent Bach to the van.job done just.

Today’s totals
6hrs 20Pagesmin
21 Munros to date – GREAT GOING WELL DONE BOTH OF YOU Was Ben More Penny’s last Munro first round?

It is worth noting that these are big unsung hills and I have had my share of adventures on them. I was at RAF Leuchars for many years with the RAF MR team we shared many great days on these hard hills. The Big day was the seven Munros in a big day and as hard as it gets on the mountains . These mountains also have a share of big call -outs and the local Killin and Lomond Teams do a great job. I have had some wild carry -off with casualties in these rough hills. They catch many out with at times tragic circumstances as the great snow fields hold snow for long parts of the Spring! The early mornings and the frost freeze the snow and it is well worth carrying and ice axe with you? I also was involved in two tragic air crashes on Ben More one in  my early years when a Viscount crashed in winter 1973 killing all the crew and the Wessex Crash in winter 1987 that killed Harry the Killin MR Team Leader, days I will never forget.

1987 Wessex Crash Ben More

1987 Wessex Crash Ben More

We spent 7 days in winter on the hill with the Crash Investigation I also had great joy at the end of a huge days with the views and these great unsung hills and heading down to Aunty Elma in Crainlarich ( a great friend of the RAF MR) for her famous tea and cakes .  Ben More is never an easy hill going up or down it is so steep and never seems to end as I know so well.

Well done Graeme and Penny.

Posted in Aircraft incidents, Enviroment, Friends, Hill running and huge days!, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Munros | Leave a comment

Munro Adventure Day 7! Should we leave the Munros alone ?

A good friend is trying to complete the Munros in 100 days with his dog Penny he has allowed me to copy his blog  so enjoy the great adventure!


The incredible Penny! Photo D. Whitelock

The incredible Penny!
Photo D. Whitelock

MUNRO ADVENTURE Graeme and Penny the Munros is 100 days
2015 DAY 7 ( 7th MAY )
Ben Chonzie Ben Vorlich
Stuc a’ Chroin
After yesterday’s hills I spent the rest of day getting supplies in the local shop in Crianlarich and the owner also kindly allowed me to fill up my fresh water tank in the van,then i headed to the green welly stop in Tyndrum for coffee cake and WIFI. After leaving I headed to Comrie and up Glen Lednock to Coishavachan where I parked up for the night. The morning was sunny and clear and 2 degrees, I altered my plans slightly today due to Fridays weather being better,off at 7.40 past Invergeldie cottages and up the road almost as far as it went then a NNE track to a fence which basically went to the summit , there was a dusting of fresh snow high up and a cold NW wind blowing, didn’t hang about and retraced my route back to the van . Had a early lunch then drove along the quiet south Loch Earn road to Ardvorlich. Boots on again and off up the road as far as the little dam then a good dry track, at 400m the wind got up and the hail started and didn’t stop till just short of the top , quick look at the route ahead to see what the N face of Stuc a’Chroin was like , some small snow patches near the top so decided to give it a go , with a bit of dodging I eventually Made it up the steep face and onto the summit. I met a chap there and both of us went back down the same way to the bealach (much worse going down). Having skirted round the choire before and finding the track boggy I decided to go back over Ben Vorlich and have a dry walk back. Got back to the van at 4 , job done week one over.

Today’s totals

17.78 mls
2256 m
6 hrs 23 mins
17 munros to date. Great going! How is Penny the wonder dog going? 

Should we make changes to the Munros  and tops The latest is Meall Gaineimh (NJ 166 051). This is a summit at the east end of Beinn Avon.( I have done it on several occasions)

The surveying team who have measured a number of peaks of marginal heights in recent years, largely in collaboration with The Munro Society but also with the SMC, are planning to survey Meall Gaineimh (NJ 166 051). This is a summit at the east end of Beinn Avon. They say,

“This has a map height of 912m but this has has been visited by someone who has an Abney level and has estimated the height because of the rock Tor to be nearer 914m. Hence this hill has a good chance of exceeding 3000 feet. OS have already agreed to verify the data if needed.

Should we keep changing the list or leave alone ?


My view is we should leave the original Munors alone – they were Munros list  and I find the whole thing a bit crazy. Is this just my view?

Any comments?

Posted in Enviroment, Friends, Gear, Hill running and huge days!, Mountaineering, Views Mountaineering, Weather | Leave a comment

The Munros in 100 Days “An Adventure with a Dog” Graeme Morrision and wonder dog Penny.

281 Munros to go Graeme and Penny.

281 Munros to go Graeme and Penny.

Most people know I love the Munros and have been lucky enough to do them several times. so many memories and great days. A few slate those who have done them but to me they were a wonderful mountaineering apprenticeship. It also let me know my country better and I did 4 big Walks across Scotland and what a journey they were. My friend Graeme Morrison of the Moray Mountaineering Club a great athlete and person is on a journey of 100 days to complete the Munros with his wonder Dog Penny. They have both done the Munros before so they will be on familiar ground. I have been given permission to use his daily blog and I will add it to mine so more can follow this great journey. How I miss the hills and these great days! I hope I cain the n meet him at some time as my health improves in the meantime enjoy the trip!

The Munros were first listed by Sir Hugh Munro (1856 – 1919) in his ‘Munros Tables’, published in the Journal of the Scottish Mountaineering Club (SMC) in 1891. Sir Hugh divided the summits into 283 seperate mountains (now known as the Munros), whilst 255 further summits over 3000 feet were considered to be only subsidiary ‘Tops’. His list caused quite a stir at the time, as it had previously been thought that there were only around 30 mountains of that height.

Sir Hugh never managed to complete the ascent of all the summits on his list, and it was left to the Revd A E Robertson to complete the first round of the Munros in 1901. Since then, attempting to ascend all the peaks (‘Munro-bagging’) has become a popular pursuit among British walkers and mountaineers.

Sir Hugh had been planning to revise his list of Munros, and after his death the SMC took over the job of keeping the list upto date. The first revised edition was publised in 1921, and several further changes were made – the most recent revision being in 2012. There are currently 282 Munros and 227 Tops.

Sir Hugh Munro himself never did complete all the ascents; at the time of his death he had omitted Carn an Fhidhleir and Carn Cloich-mhuillin (which was demoted in 1981 and which he was saving until last as it was nearest to his home). He never climbed the Inaccessible Pinnacle (“In Pinn”) on Skye but this was not regarded as a Munro on his original list – being omitted in favour of the lower summit of Sgurr Dearg from which it protrudes.

Instead, the Reverend A. E. Robertson became the first to complete the summits, in 1901. The final mountain reached was Meall Dearg (on the Aonach Eagach) – where the Revd famously kissed first the cairn, and then his wife. Recently some doubt has been cast as to whether Robertson was truly the first to complete the round as some researchers believe he may have missed the summit of Ben Wyvis. In 1923 another Reverend, Ronald Burn, became the second Munroist as well as the first person to climb all the subsidiary Tops.

The real explosion in the popularity of Munro-bagging came in the late 1980s and today the numbers are huge. Those who climb all the summits are, following old SMC tradition, known as ‘compleaters’.

The Munro Adventure with Graeme and Penny

2015. DAY 1 (1st MAY).
Ben More (mull)
Beinn Sgulaird
Started the day with a hearty fried breakfast before setting of at 7.40 with (TWD)and Alan Duncan weather couldn’t better blue skies and perfect grippy neve snow from about 650m, summited at 10am with stunning views . A quick descent lunch at the van and off to catch the 13.10 ferry back to the mainland ,said good by to Alan then headed down the Oban road for my next objective , parked at Elleric and set off at 3.30 , did a route change as there looked like a log of snow up high and this was a steep ascent, got to the summit at 5 20 and there was a few light hail showers on the way so didn’t hang about , went down a different route (mistake ) there was even more snow and all soft and wet but got down eventually in one piece. Drove to Oban and had fish and chips , now off to find my parking spot at the start of tomorrow’s hills.
13.38 mls
1945 m ascent

2015 DAY 2 ( 2nd MAY )
Beinn Eunaich to Ben Cruachan
Got parked up last night at the bridge on the B8077 for today’s hills,the morning was sunny with light clouds , it was 6 degrees a bit warmer than yesterday’s 1 degree, set off at 8 heading up the land rover track then took to open hillside to gain the steep south ridge , at about 500m I got a hail shower and a very cold wind picked up, hit the snow line at 700m all the way to the first summit, turned west and followed the snowy ridge to my second hill, took the SW ridge down to the Lairg Noe and up very steep snow covered ridge onto the Sron an Isean and onto Stob Diamh it was hard neve all the way Ben Cruachan,( it’s still full on winter conditions up here) down the south ridge then east to hit the end of the dam . My van was still quite a bit away so my plan was to go over the Corbett Beinn a’ Bhuiridh and follow the E ridge all the way back to the van , job done day 2 over.
Today’s totals
15.44 mls
2477m ascent

2015 DAY 3 ( 3rd MAY )

Due to the non stop rain and strong winds I decided to have a rest day today no point in being hell bent on following the plan there’s always tomorrow . Took (TWD) out for a short walk early afternoon and a longer one when the rain stopped later . Just chilled out in ma 🚐 listening to . .And now having a . Weather looks better tomorrow and hopefully crack on again.

2015 DAY 4. ( 4th MAY )
Beinn Buidhe Beinn Narnain
Beinn Ime
After a lazy day off yesterday due to rubbish weather the forecast for today was much better .10 15 last night got a text
get the kettle on will be with you on 20 min, my son Steven arrived to join me for today’s hills
Could still hear the rain showers even at 6am but it was what the forecast said , up at 6.45 for breakfast got bags packed , bikes ready and off at 7.20 , cycled to Inverchorachan and then followed the stream past the waterfall to the col then up the wet snowy SE ridge to the summit which had light cloud cover quick bite to eat and retraced the route back to the van at 11.15, cup of tea then drove down past the rest and be thankful about a mile and parked at the small patch of trees. Followed the stream up to the Bealach a’ Mhaim and the SE ridge on Narnain , it was clear views now as MWIS said they do get it right sometimes, back down the ridge and onto Ime in no time, had a look at the map and decided to descend NW to the col at go over the Corbett Beinn Luibhean and back to the van. Not much wildlife about but saw Ptarmigan on both outings, a bit far south for them I thought. Job done again and many thanks to Steven for the company.
Today’s totals

Day 5 – MUNRO ADVENTURE – 2015 DAY 5 (5th MAY)

Ben Vane Ben Vorlich
Got parked up at Inveruglas last night with a stunning view down the loch of the sun setting over Ben Lomand and it’s very snowy ptarmigan ridge , the MWIS said heavy rain setting in mid morning so I got up at 5.45 got organised and off by 6.30 , summits were just covered in cloud, made my way up the loch sloy dam road as far as coiregrogain and took the road SW as far as the first bridge and then up the SE ridge of Ben Vane winding in and out of-the crags , hit the cloud level about 720m and continued up through several large snow patches to the summit where it was blowing a absolute hooly , quick about turn and reversed the ascent route back to the road heading for the dam,walked up it a half mile to the path start and put on waterproofs as it had started to rain lightly onwards and upwards to hit the col and along the NNW ridge to the trigpoint where again there was a howling wind , forward 300m to the summit where strangely it was almost calm???,bite to eat and a drink and again reversed the route , the rain was steadily getting heavier but not that bad , back at the van by 12,clothes hung up to dry , by 1 it was hammering down and has been since , wise choice me thinks getting away early , tomorrow looks s— again so see what happens . Job done again.

Today’s totals
1776m ascent
5hrs 24 min

20 15 DAY 6. ( 6th MAY ) -An Caisteal Beinn a’Chroin Beinn Chabhar

Parked up the van last night at the falls of falloch picnic area ,there showed what looked like a bridge on the map so went to have a look, the river was absolutely raging with all the heavy rain all afternoon ,found the bridge which was a 8ft long x 2ft wide pallet on an angle sideways sitting on a rock either side with the torrent of water flowing between (I don’t think so)
With the MWIS saying very strong NW winds increasing as the day went on another early start was called for , drove up the road and parked opposite derrydarroch , boots on and off at 7 down past the house and open ground till I got onto the NW ridge of An Caisteal , cloud level was reached at 750m by which time it had started snowing, there was fresh wet snow down to 800m from last night and by the time I got to the summit there was about 3 inches of fresh , it continued snowing all the way down the SE ridge and onto Beinn a’Chroin , there was not a breath of wind ,the sun came out and it still snowed .Bite to eat and retrace my steps to col and descended bealach below Beinn Chanhar ,the sun came out and the ground was steaming , picked a route up the NE face to the summit which was clear , down the NW snow covered ridge to about 600m and dropped down into the corrie at picked up the new road for the hydro scheme and back along the WHW path to the van. Job done day 6 over.
Today’s totals
1470m ascent
5hrs 8mins

To be continued with photos I hope?


Posted in Enviroment, Friends, Gear, Hill running and huge days!, Mountaineering, Munros, Views Mountaineering, Weather, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Home at last – Great fun with the Grand kids. Flying Fortress crash and the Ben Nuis Chimney in Arran.

I got home late last night after a great few days down South visiting Lexi and Ellie Skye a birthday and a double baptism and meeting so many kind people. The weather held and even the weather held for all the important things and the kids enjoyed the party. 35 kids having fun and without a care in the world a great sight.  My health held out and though really tired it all went well and 6 weeks after my operation I am slowly getting better. These kids give me such joy and the innocence of young kids is incredible and the love they give is heartwarming it will be so hard for me to get back to normal!

Everest photo R Bale.

Everest photo R Bale.

I have a game of golf this morning and then hope to sort out some gear to send through the Kinloss Barracks to Nepal the tragedy continues and the need is great it every day it gets worse and brings you down to earth with a huge bump.

I was asked to give some information on the Aircraft Crash on Ben Nuis is Arran

This is from a great web site = Aircraft Crash sites in Scotland.

This particular B-17G was attached to the 388th Bombardment Group (H), 560th Bombardment Sqn 136 of the USAAF (United States Army Air Forces).

USAAF Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress / 42-97286

Aircraft Type Nickname: “Flying Fortress”;

At the time of the accident, the aircraft was on a non-operational NAVEX and familiarisation flight for a new crew. The B-17 was en-route from its base at Knettishall Airfield in Surrey to RAF Ayr / Heathfield (Prestwick) on the west coast of Scotland.

According to the official Report, weather conditions at the time of the accident were, “Light rain and snow. Visibility 4-6 miles. Ceiling variable, nine-tenths at 2,000ft to ten-tenths at 1,500ft. Some low cloud present. Wind east 13-18 miles per hour.”

As the aircraft turned to begin its final approach to Prestwick, it came in too low over the high peaks of Arran. Subsequently, and while in full flight, the B-17 struck a rocky cliff at the east face of Beinn Nuis, not far from Goatfell on the Isle of Arran.


Despite intensive searching, however, the crash site was not discovered until 3 March 1945—almost 4 months after the accident had occurred. The cause of the accident was recorded as “Unknown.”


  • Captain John N. Littlejohn Jr., USAAF, (Captain / Pilot Instructor)
  • 2nd Lt Robert N. Stoaks, USAAF, (Co-Pilot)
  • 2nd Lt William J. Frey, USAAF, (Navigator)
  • 2nd Lt. Leonard W. Bond, USAAF, (Bombardier)
  • 2nd Lt Jack D. Merkley (passenger)
  • 1st Lt Richard William (Billy) Rosebasky, (Navigator Instructor)
  • Cpl Joseph A. Payne, (Engineer)
  • Cpl Albert E. Thomas (passenger)
  • Major James R. Bell, (MO / passenger)
  • M/Sgt Charles S. Brown, (groundcrew / passenger)
  • S/Sgt Wade D. Kriner (passenger)


The aircarft is all over the Coire and the Nuis Chimney  holds some wreckage  – A grand, steep, vegetated face best in winter. The Strand (V,6) is a fine exposed climb across a slabby buttress. The Ben Nuis Chimney is a classic VS with full body tweed essential. In winter it freezes and is superb (V, 6) –  “After slipping and sliding on the first pitch, which was probably the most difficult, we carried on, through leading to the top of the chimney, and then on jubilantly to the summit. An USAF Liberator had crashed into the face in 1944, and there were still bits of the plane jammed in the chimney here and there. I notice the chimney is now graded VS.”

I had a fun attempt with the late Al MacLeod and had a bit of an epic in the wet and ruined all out waterproofs on the rough granite.





Posted in Enviroment, Expeditions - Alaska - Himalayas etc, Family, Friends, Himalayas/ Everest, Views Mountaineering | 5 Comments

Bothies – a memory quiz ? Nepal update. 

Name that bothy - photo T MacDonald

Name that bothy – photo T MacDonald

I am down South at the Grandchildren a their baptism and Lexi birthday party. It has been a happy time with those we love  and it is hard to be happy when there is so much sadness in Nepal. They are having a collection at Kinloss Barracks for Nepal so I will be sorting out sleeping bags to send away more on this when I get home’!

I had my first big adventures in the Galloway Hills as  a 12 year old skinny wee lad making up the numbers of the Duke of Edinburgh Award – Huge bags and wild days 50 miles in 3 days is a winter storm. We stayed in Back Hill of the Bush a Mountain bothy now closed due to vandals. It was  a place of refuge then and I will never forget as I got that huge bag off and got the fire going with steam rising of my gear. I caught the bug bothying and have loved it ever since!


The Mountain Bothies Association is a charity which maintains about 100 shelters in some of the remoter parts of the UK.

With the permission and support of the owners, these shelters are unlocked and are available for anyone to use. All of our maintenance activities are carried out by volunteers. We welcome new members who want to support our work, either by attending work parties or by contributing financially through subscriptions and donations.

Most of the MBA bothies are in Scotland with others in England and Wales.

Easy one?

Easy one?



Early days in Galloway

1973 – Early days in Galloway

Mountain Bothies – Celebrating 50 Years of the MBA

The MBA is 50 years old in 2015 and to mark the occasion, we have compiled an anniversary book. It tells the story of how Bernard Heath formed the Association 50 years ago. It recalls how some of the buildings which are today’s bothies were found. It includes tales of work parties, some of which have found their way into MBA folklore, and shows that although materials and methods of working may have changed, the enthusiasm of volunteers has not. Illustrated by photographs, line drawings and cartoons, it is a celebration of 50 years of activity by our volunteers who take delight in maintaining simple shelters in remote country for the use and benefit of all who love wild and lonely places.
The book costs £10 per copy including postage and packaging. All profits from its sale will go towards furthering the work of the Association.

West Caost

West Caost – Photo KK.

No longer with us

No longer with us



Want to stay in a bothy? Please note that many bothies are in remote locations. You should be proficient in map and compass if you intend to visit and able to get yourself out of any difficult situation that might arise. Have a look at our FAQ’s for further information.



Want to join a work party? See the Workparty Diary for a full list and details of our planned work parties over the coming months.  We welcome all volunteers and you do not need to be a member of the MBA to join in.

Please leave clean take all your rubbish with you!

Please leave clean take all your rubbish with you!

Join the MBA – give something back?

Oban Bothy



Far North?

Far North?



Long gone

Long gone

Far North New Yrar

Far North New Year

I love this place!

I love this place!

The Bothy

Simple shelter in the wild

Free to use

Not to abuse

Great days

Long days, easy days

Young  and old

A place to stay

Away from the crowds

A fire a meal

A brew, a dram

Twinkling stars

Rattling wind

The friendly mouse


Simple things

The bothy

Fire on Primeval

Fire on Primeval


A great read how many of us have used the bothies yet never donated please do !


Posted in Books, Bothies, Enviroment, Friends | 2 Comments

Looking after your body – I wish someone had told me that? 50 years of wear and tear on the hills!

Wish someone had told me that? 50 years of wear and tear on the hills!

As my body falls apart at 62 I have had some time after 3 recent operations (though these are not mountain related) to pass on a few tips on how to keep the body going! By looking after it!

Feet – how little we look after them, they get battered after years of misuse especially in winter crampons and bad fitting boots and socks over the years took their toll. Make sure you have a pair of boots that fit and good insoles are important.

simple gear the famous Curlies.

simple gear the famous Curlies. My boots for about 10 years !!!!

For years I wore rubbish socks RAF issue and they were huge causing blisters and all kinds of snags. Get the best socks you can afford and if you like them stick with them. Boots make sure they fit and can be used in most conditions. If you find a pair that suits and are a great fit buy another pair as a spare as by next season they may not be made. Dry the feet and wash regularly change socks daily and look after them and they will look after you. I would advise to use trainers for long approaches “light is right” in the correct conditions.  Try whenever possible to let your feet air and dry properly look after blisters and other foot issues. Is it worth thinking do you really need extremely tight rock boots for that route – they can wreck your feet? Is it worth thinking that if you climb E4 tight rock boots are the thing but for that 500 foot mountain severe? Get a comfortable rock shoe for the classic routes!

When selecting gear, spare no expense when it comes to footwear. You’ll rely more heavily on your feet when climbing than on any other part of your body, and blistered feet can ruin a long trip. Climbers renting plastic boots or adjusting to a new pair of g boots should give themselves plenty of time to break them in. Before going on any long walks, get your feet used to the added wear and tear by taking shorter hikes earlier in the season on all sorts of terrain. Experiment with sock layering. Some climbers swear that wearing only 1 pair of socks works for them; others say 2 ultra-thin liners and a pair of mid-weight wool socks do it for them. I’ve even heard of people placing corn pads, moleskin, or duct tape on heels or balls of feet before they start because they know those areas are trouble! Finally, if you feel a “hot spot” developing on your feet, stop and take care of the new blisters so they don’t get worse.

The best tip on feet is to visit a Chiropodist regularly as this gives the feet a service and a bit of pampering. Keep your toenails short as after a day of front pointing/ kicking steps in the mountains they will be in a state!

Simple kit

1972 Simple kit

Ankles/ Knees – If you find your ankles or knees are your weak area, you might try some of the following tips: 1) make sure you have sturdy hiking boots that provide ankle support; 2) use trekking poles to assist you on climbs or descents; 3) learn leg-saving techniques such as glissading, plunge-stepping, and the proper way to go up and down talus, scree, and boulder fields from someone who looks like a graceful stage–learn from the experts; and 4) strengthen legs and ankles, particularly the quadriceps  Carry as little as possible when you can. For years the wear and tear on the knees is crazy, use Trekking poles as they will protect the knees and though they take a bit of getting used to. I used to run down the hills with a heavy bag and the damage was wild. I have had 3 operations on my knees and been using poles since the mid-80s and without a doubt they have saved me from future operations taking a lot of the weight and pounding of my knees.  I damaged my knees on my first big walk  North to South Of Scotland in 1976 and how I continued for 3 weeks I will never knowledge  It was my cartilage that went and still causes problems to this day.  Poles reduce the impact on your legs, knees, ankles, and feet. This is especially true when going downhill. A 1999 study in The Journal of Sports Medicine found that trekking poles can reduce compressive force on the knees by up to 25 percent. Trekking poles help to alleviate some of the weight you carry. For example, if you have a heavy pack on, and you take a short break, leaning on the poles will make you more comfortable.

Poles take a huge weight of your body!

Poles take a huge weight of your body!

Descending – running down hills is great feeling and when fit you are at one with the mountains look where you are going and concentrate all the time?

Back – So important and so easy to damage, in Moun A downhill walk with a heavy backpack is definitely a strenuous task for the knees. Its because anecdotal studies say that while descending with each step that you take, the amount of force exerted on you knees is roughly thrice the normal body weight.

As light as possible

As light as possible

The moment you find your knees hurting on a descend, try and keep a steady and a calm pace, need not to rush downhill, if you are carrying excess weight, make sure that the load is distributed in a well manner and see if your fellows can help you with the heavy backpack. Drink adequate water.

In Mountain Rescue it was part of the job and carrying a stretcher at night is never easy. Be aware what you carry keep your bag as light as possible and look after it.  Buy the gear as light as you can afford “£ spent in the gear can save £’s in the back”.

It is never easy when carrying a load !

It is never easy when carrying a load !

Head, face and eyes – always use sun screen for years I did not and have to watch as especially after over 40 expeditions the skin damage can be a big problem for future years.   It is advisable to carry sun screen at all times and to have sun glasses for the hills.

Use sun screen and glacier gogles

Use sun screen and glacier gogles

Fingers / Hands – watch out for over-training it is easy to over train and damage joints much more is known about this nowadays so there is no excuse.


Drinking / eating properly –  Simple but so important we know a lot more about this now fluid input and correct eating is so important and can make you days in the mountains so much more enjoyable. Ensure you rehydrate after a day out, I always carry a lot of water in the car and rehydrate on the way home so important.

Always drink a lot

Always drink a lot

Muscle pain – A very common complaint indeed, and something nearly everyone experiences at one time or another. However, if you experience severe muscle soreness each spring when you start your climbing season, you may want to pay extra attention NOW to getting in shape, especially training your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and hips (including glutes) and core (abdominals and lower back). Every bit of preparation you do now means more enjoyment on early climbs.

Stretching – Few of us do this – drive to the hills , rush out the car and straight on the hill ?

Keep the weight down and save the knees and back!

Keep the weight down and save the knees and back!

Any ideas for simple stretchers for the hills?

Posted in Enviroment, Equipment, Gear, Hill running and huge days!, Mountain rescue, Mountaineering, mrdical, Rock Climbing, Views Mountaineering | 8 Comments