Mountain – The Angel of Camusunary – The Podcast really enjoyable worth a look and maybe supporting?

Podcast 5 – Skye, late September 1981. A young woman sits in a dark bothy, staring into a fire. A pair of flimsy shoes are propped next to her, drying in the heat, and a kettle comes to the boil. Who was the Angel of Camasunary and where did she go?

Hillwalker and photographer Duncan McCallum tells the story. It is a great tale listen to the podcast and enjoy!

Mountain is a show about adventure in wild places — stories of climbers, explorers and those who go to the hills to go home.

It’s hosted and produced by Christopher Sleight, a radio producer, journalist and climber living in Scotland. You can follow him on Twitter.

Mountain is independent and supported by listener donations.

Find out how to subscribe or get in touch.

The bothy

The bothy

Posted in Enviroment, Friends, Mountaineering, Recomended books and Guides, Views Mountaineering | Leave a comment

Sad news – thoughts are with the families and those involved. Two bodies, of a man and a woman, have been found on Ben Nevis.

“BBC News”

Lochaber MRT.

Lochaber MRT.

Mountain rescuers have been searching for two climbers who have been missing on Ben Nevis since February.

Rachel Slater, 24, and Tim Newton, 27, from Bradford, failed to return from an outing on the mountain. Hazardous weather hampered initial efforts to find them.

Police Scotland said the families of the two climbers had been told of the development.

The couple were reported missing on 15 February after failing to return from an outing on Britain’s highest mountain.

A number of searches by rescue teams have been carried out with efforts frequently hampered by hazardous weather and avalanche risks.

From Lochaber Facebook page – Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team recovered the bodies of two people from Ben Nevis last night. While formal identification has still to take place, we expect them to be confirmed as Rachel and Tim who have been missing since 13th February

I am sure that everyone will join us in offering our thoughts and sincere condolences to the families and friends of Rachel and Tim. They were well known, experienced and respected climbers and their plight has touched so many people over the last few weeks.

We have been overwhelmed by the help and support we have received over the last few weeks as we tried to get some clues to where Rachel and Tim may have been going on the day they went missing. We would like to thank the whole climbing community for engaging and assisting, even when it was only to eliminate some of the small clues we thought we had obtained.

Thanks also to Police Scotland, and in particular the local staff who have been able to take some of the pressure off of us arising from the immense media interest the rescue has generated, and continues. We have been supported by several other MR teams and SARDA dogs, and it speaks volumes for all the people in the MR community who give up so much of their time on a voluntary basis to assist others.

Finally, but not least, well done to all the members of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team. The effort which has gone into this rescue has been immense in some of the most challenging conditions you could expect to experience. To quote one of the climbers who we talked to last night at the CIC hut after the recovery, “can I shake your hand as you are all heroes”.

The bodies were found in separate, but nearby, locations in Observatory Gully and mountain rescuers said early indications suggested that there had been an avalanche in the area.

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team told BBC Scotland rucksacks found had ropes and gear inside.

‘Struck before climb’

Team member Miller Harris said that it would appear that the climbers were struck by a large avalanche before they started their climb.

On Wednesday, a climber found Ms Slater’s body at the base of the gully, Police Scotland said.

About 20 members of Lochaber MRT went to the scene of the discovery to recover the body. Later, at about 18:15, team members found Mr Newton’s body nearby.

The families of the two climbers were told of the development.



mage copyrightLochaber Mountain Rescue Team

It was believed the couple had been camping in a green tent behind the Charles Inglis Clark (CIC) memorial hut on the north side of the mountain.

Seasoned climber Ms Slater was a graduate of Manchester University and employed as an environmental consultant near Bradford.

She spent some time living and climbing in Canada, where her parents are still based.

Mr Newton, originally from Leicester, studied physics at Manchester and Leeds universities.

He joined Hinckley Mountaineering Club in Leicestershire in 2010 before he moved away to university, with fellow climbers there calling him a natural.

Their families have previously praised the overwhelming response from members of the public and the climbing community in helping to search for them.

Posted in Avalanche info, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, SAR, Scottish winter climbing., Views Mountaineering | Leave a comment

A difficult few days but great family love and care. Never take it for granted! 

My sisters Jenifer’s funeral went well a lovely farewell surrounded by family friends and lots of love  and kindness . It was a celebration of a kind loving persons life and a great turn out! Jenifer my sister was a caring Christian person and she would have loved the kind words spoken but that was not her way, she was always in the background. We all grieve in different ways but it was a short powerful ceremony that was just perfect the family.  The family was all there and special mention must go to Mia the lovely granddaughter who was such a lovely wee soul on such a day and filled our hearts with joy. The music was powerful Matt Munro  “Autumn Leave” who Jen loved and it is amazing how much peace you get out of music at times.
After the funeral we all met together and had a lovely tea and again it was great company of family, neighbours,relations and friends. Jenifer was well-loved and it was exactly what she would have wanted, no fuss and lovely food.. Caroline her daughter and Derrick her husband . Stuart her son , Lisa and Mia are in my thoughts as are my sisters Eleanor and Rosemary and Michael my brother in Bermuda who was in Church in Bermuda to celebrate Jen’s life at the time of the ceremony.
When I was down I managed to see my Brother in law Fergus who is very ill in hospital in Ayr. Again it was special to see the love and care my sister Eleanor and her family give him and how appreciative he is for all the love he gets from them at this difficult time. I am blessed with my family, we all have our differences but we are a close bunch and there is a lot of love there from us all which is so appreciated.
I was supposed to be down with the grand children over Easter but will not manage it as I am still not feeling great and the drive back and the last few days have taken their toll. I drove back with my niece via Inverurie and it was good to have company and the journey went well. I hope we both supported each other on the long journey home.
It is a wet day but I will catch up at home and get out for a walk and let this hard week sink in. Life can be very short live every day and always tell those you love how much you care, Give the children a great Easter and be there for each other and those you love.
Thanks for all the support care and love.  Your all specail!
Posted in Friends, Music & Cinema, Weather | Leave a comment

Tom Taylor MBE A MAN OF MANY TALENTS – “The Machine” Retires

Tom Taylor MBE A MAN OF MANY TALENTS – Retires



Unfortunately I will not be able to say farewell to Tom Taylor as I head South for my sisters funeral as Tom retires this week after a lifetime of Service to SAR.

To so many within The Mountain Rescue/SAR family not only in Scotland but all over the UK the name Tom Taylor is treated with great respect. Tom has been part of this system since he joined the RAF and the Mountain Rescue in the late 60’s. He has served at Valley, St Athan, Leuchars and been the Team Leader at St Athans and RAF Kinloss and is a stalwart supporter of the RAF teams. When Tom left the RAF joined the ARCC and became a huge part of the Mission Control Centre.  He also served on many of the UK SAR Committee’s fighting Mountain Rescues corner always.   His knowledge of SAR within the UK is second to none due to his incredible knowledge and front line experience of it.

I met Tom when I was a young lad when he was with his great mate Pete McGowan on the Big walks across Scotland  that were then part of the RAF Mountain Rescue Team Leaders Course. Tom was an extremely powerful mountaineer with the biggest calves in the world and one of the kindest men in Mountain Rescue.

1988 tom taylor on ben with Dan Carrol with the Milton Mountaineers, the Blind group!

1988 Tom Taylor on Ben Nevis with Dan Carrol with the Milton Mountaineers, the Blind mountaineering group!

Tom was a machine on the mountains and along with Pete ran all on the Course ragged. Huge hill days very day competitive and I was supporting the course by Meeting them for a few nights in remote bothies and cooking for them. After the day was over Tom always had time for me and ensured we were well looked after. On the hills he is so powerful, knowledgable and loves the Scottish Mountains.

He is one of the real characters of Mountain Rescue but so laid back and never chased the limelight and trying to get a photo of him is not easy. As a Team Leader he was exceptional leader and all round mountaineer and always looked after his team. I took over from Tom as the RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team Leader and inherited a highly trained, hugely experienced team and superb bunch of people.

1987 The RAF Kinloss MRT - Toms boys

1987 The RAF Kinloss MRT – Toms boys

Tom has been some mountaineer with trips to the Alps,Himalayas and New Zealand where he climbed Mount Cook, the Mountaineers Mountain. He rarely spoke of any of his accomplishments that is not the “Tom Taylor” way. This is from Pete McGowan “

 “1972 took both of us on the RAFMA Expedition to the Mount Cook region in New Zealand, where we climbed over 10 major peaks, including the ‘Big Boy’ and managed to avoid being avalanched in the process!

In 1974 we were in Western Nepal for nearly 4 months, with another RAFMA Expedition, attempting to climb the North Face of Dhauligiri 4, 25,064 feet (7,640m) – at that time the highest unclimbed peak in the world! Unfortunately, an early morning ice avalanche between camps 1 and 2 (17.000ft?) caught 8 climbers on fixed ropes in a steep couloir, killing 2 Sherpas and injuring another two Sherpas. Despite the gallant efforts of our doctor, a third Sherpa died during the night.

Had it not been for Tom’s communication skills in making contact with a very remote Police outpost in India, the fourth Sherpa would not have been rescued from camp one by helicopter and evacuated to Kathmandu, where he recovered fully from his injuries.”

1977 tom big walks

1977 tom big walks

I met Tom on many RAF MR Courses and he was always the same 100% for all he did and learnt so much from him. He looked after the new troops and always had time to ensure that they were given that bit of extra help. Tom by trade was a communications experts and his knowledge was incredible. He drove forward huge changes in radio communications over the years and when he left the RAF he was the perfect fit for the ARCC Mission Control Centre.  We had some laughs as he tried to teach me about the complexities of radios and their uses! He was always a step ahead of communications and when he left Mountain Rescue as we all have to do and go back to his trade he was the ideal choice for TSW as a comms expert, a task in which he excelled.  From here he moved to the ARCC at Kinloss


The ARCC embraces the UK Mission Control Centre (UKMCC) which is the UK facility responsible for the detection and notification of emergency distress beacon alerts. The UKMCC operates within the Cospas-Sarsat framework and is able to detect beacon activations world –  wide through a network of satellites. The ARCC carries out its roles using an extensive array of communications and a highly capable IT-based Rescue Co-ordination System. The ARCC is extensively linked with other organisations and interacts closely with numerous emergency response groups and agencies across the UK and internationally. Annually, it receives more than 3600 requests for assistance, deploying assets on more than 2600 occasions and directly assisting over 2100 people.

Tom was the perfect fit in this new job and is without doubt became a World authority on beacons and SAR. I was lucky enough to work with Tom during my last few years in the RAF and he was a great help to me, looking after me like he had done nearly 30 years before. He continued to help the Mountain Rescue by being the ARCC representative at all the committee meetings. Tom was the contact for the teams and the first port of call if a rescue had problem. This is never an easy task and Tom used the Wisdom of Solomon on many occasions keeping everyone happy.      Despite the constant changes in leadership within the ARCC ,Tom was always a constant and guiding figure for even the Bosses, never an easy task.

A rare photo of Tom

A rare photo of Tom

Tom is settled in Forres, recently marries and along with many of us loves the Moray Coast as a local boy it will be great to maybe grab a day with him out in the hills sometime. There will be many words spoken by others as Tom retires but to us in RAF Mountain Rescue Tom is a special man and it has been an honour to have worked and been with you over the years. So many have been Tom Taylor trained a badge they carry with great honour.

Tom has been rightly honoured by the authorities in his long life in SAR.:

“Thomas Alexander Taylor MBE, Higher Executive Officer, Ministry of Defence.
For Services to Search and Rescue Operations.
The Queen’s Birthday Honours list of award recipients was published on Friday 14th June 2013”.

I and many others throughout the UK and around the world (for Tom is widely travelled in the SAR family) would have been absolutely delighted to read of this well-deserved and long overdue award. Tom is without doubt one of our most respected members and has been an outstanding ambassador for the RAF Mountain Rescue Service for many years.

Congratulations too Tom, on your Distinguished Service Award in 2012, from Mountain Rescue England & Wales. Tom is the 66th person to be honoured with this special award since 1958.


These words above have been taken from your great pal and mentor Pete McGowan.

Have a great retirement and live every day, your pals in the local area would love to meet you for that meal we promised you once all the parties calm down. No one has a bad word about Tom, he is that good kind man, yet he will stand up for what he believes in. What a man to have in your corner.


Regards to Tom “ The machine” from Heavy who tried to follow a little in your wake! See you soon!

Some of the words from the troops well deserved#

Tom Taylor

Dan Carrol – Well said Heavy! Heartfelt words from one kind and generous Troop to another. Tom was a mentor and inspiration to me in my early years in RAF MRT and, throughout my career, he continued to offer sound advice, diplomatic guidance and always made time to share his wisdom and knowledge. Cheers Tom, wishing you a happy retirement smile emoticon.

What a man! Ditto to Heavy and Dan’s comments. Here’s to you Tom – a great friend.

Damon Powell Best wishes Tom

Jim Fraser My friend Tom was there on my first callout in 1989 and I am still asking his advice today.

Kim Ash Great words as always Heavy. When you see Tom next, give him my best wishes for the future.

Bill Rose A great friend to all in Mountain Rescue. Best wishes Tom.

Kev Mitchell All the best Tom – a better advocate and supporter of Scottish MR would be hard to find.

Bob Sharp Well done Tom. A great friend, a superb listener (to all my crap) and just a really, really nice person. Remember those late evening stories with John HInde? The whiskey bottles were emptied and all was well with the world.

Michael Gibson Heavy, please pass on my best wishes to Tom who, as others say above, was a great friend and advisor during my time in MR.

Kenny Tait Best wishes to a great guy ! Happy retirement Tom.

Mike Rodgers Privileged to work with Tom for 4 yrs in the ARCC. A man of many wise words.

Peter Kirkpatrick Here’s to many future happy days to come Tom. Great memories of many past ones with you.

Well said Heavy & ‘job well done’ & happy retirement to Tom who I served with on the Leuchars team in the early 70’s when he was our WOp .

Clive G. Swombow Have a great retirement Tom.

Stephen Atkins Lovely tribute piece to a top man. I last bumped into Tom as I flew from near the top of a route at Shepherds Crag. In typical Tom fashion his comment was along the lines of ‘well, that was impressive’

Jim Groark All the very best Tom. See you at the reunion mate. Cheers, Jim

David Mitchell Great tribute Heavy. Tom ‘tuned’ a generation of WOps – his sigs truck was always the one to which we aspired.

Jason Taylor Tom Taylor… top man! All the best for the future!

Eric Hollister Good man!!

Martin Garnett All the best in your retirement Tom.
I was a novice on the winter course in the 80’s Tom and I spent the night in a snow hole. He give me a good right up because I taken a wee dram and had the Dubliners on my walk man.
Thanks Tom what you taught me about avalanche awareness and snow pack. That saved my sorry arse a few times over the years.

Huw Birrell All the best Tom, hope retirement is everything you dreamed of Huw

David Barrett All the best Tom, may you have a long and happy retirement.

Eric Joyce – Good write up Heavy. Those calves are legendary

Woody Woodyatt What a man, great write up
Happy reirement Tom.

Terry McDevitt Aye. Good write up indeed. He won’t remember me or this incident but he failed me on my practical climbing on my winter course then, because we had time, took me back up castle ridge filled with the knowledge he had given me. A long, long day on the hi…See More

Richard Foster Have a long and happy one Tom. Great memories of you looking after me on the hill.

Neil McNeil Aye – WOP in Valley team when I was there – Cheers min



Posted in Friends, Hill running and huge days!, Mountain rescue, Mountaineering, SAR, Scottish winter climbing. | 6 Comments

Great days in the sun, early starts and searches continue for the missing climbers. Great efforts by all.

The boys had a special day on An Teallach yesterday poor Pete now a Munro bagger after all these years as a climber. This classic ridge gave them everything from snow, ice, dry rock and even the crampons on in places! It was as Pete says an incredible day for both of them. Pete was with “Big smiling Al Barnyard” ( Alba ) it sound magnificent and the views and fun they had made me so jealous! Lucky guys!

The wonder of the Mountains Photo

The wonder of the Mountains Photo Pete Greening.

Pete is heading back to Cornwall after a great few weeks and he has had some great weather and days. He has plans to get back in the summer so hopefully I will be fit by then! Thanks for all the laughs Pete and the lurgy you brought me! Safe trip
Back to the land of hot rock, surf and tourists!! My mate Dan has also been out and away early and has great conditions in the Cairngorms before the sun is up. It is a great time of year but beware of the sun and falling rocks and cornices as the spring sun does its work. He also said that the snow was rock hard on descents and you have to take care.

Take care still hard snow about, descending to Sgur Fiona Photo Al Barnard.

Take care still hard snow about, descending to Sgur Fiona Photo Al Barnard.

I noticed that the Mountain Rescue  teams were out again in the Cairngorms and Ben Nevis still looking for the missing walkers. These are incredible efforts by all the Mountain Rescue Teams and other agencies. My thoughts are with them and of the families of those missing and pray for them being found soon.

I am taking it easy still not great but a bit better than last week and will hopefully manage the long drive to Ayr to my sisters funeral! It will be a difficult week but thanks for all the kindness and support it was greatly appreciated, it amazes me every day.

Posted in Family, Friends, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Munros, Rock Climbing, Scottish winter climbing., Views Mountaineering | 2 Comments

Got my Iphone back now to dry it out any ideas?

I went to Huntly to pick up my lost Iphone which I lost near the summit of Beinn Eighe in February by an incredibly kind gentleman from Huntly who found it. I was taken down by Pete last night to Huntly and we picked it up and left him suitably rewarded.

The Lost phone on Beinn Eighe

The Lost phone on Beinn Eighe – photo taken 2016 Feb.

A great trip and shows that good Karma does exist.  I have some ideas from the web on how to dry it out anD just now is of and sitting in some rice !  We will see what happens. On the way to Huntly there was heavy haar and then it cleared into a sunny beautiful night, Ben Rinnes my local Corbett was looking stunning and Pete was planning his last day in Scotland on An Teallach today. I just sat there still feeling poorly and so fed up at not getting out on the hills and the wonderful weather.

An Teallach 2014 March photo Smiling Al Barnard.

An Teallach 2014 March photo Smiling Al Barnard.

Pete is way early this morning with the man who always smiles Al “The Smile” Barnard and they will have a great day and the photos as always will make me so jealous. An Teallach in any conditions is a wonderful day and I am envious of them but glad they have had such fun. Hopefully my illness is on the way out and things will get better soon. Balance is coming back and I can hear a bit better? I still have the creaky voice though!

I am hoping to be fit enough to  travel down to Ayr on Monday to my sisters funeral and have had so many offers of a lift down by so many good people. I cannot thank you all enough. So much kindness and care it makes the world go round, thank you all. It will not be an easy week but it will be a celebration of a lovely lady my sister Jenifer with my family.

Today I will be bombarded with photos of great mountains and Scotland at its finest, am I jealous no way.

Get out there and fill your boots, LIVE EVERY DAY.

I am looking for photos of Tom Taylor RAF MR Team Leader, ARCC and general Mountain Rescue Legend in his youth can you help?

Tom Taylor - the man the legend.

Tom Taylor – the man the legend.

Posted in Enviroment, Equipment, Mountaineering, Munros, Views Mountaineering | 2 Comments

So many good people. So proud of Mountain Rescues Efforts this winter. A few tips on staying safe!

Since the loss of my Sister on Sunday I have been amazed by the support I have had and cannot thank you all enough. I look around and see what else is happening in this mad world and yet so many care for others and few hear about it. I have had so many texts, cards and flowers in her memory, thank you all.


I am also amazed at the incredible efforts put in by the Mountain Rescue Teams, SARDA and the Rescue Agencies in the searches for missing climbers and walkers recently. There has been some press about the changes going on within Scottish Mountain Rescue but on the huge Searches on Ben Nevis for  the two climbers show how none of it has effected the Teams operationally. It has been a month since Tim Newton, 27, and Rachel Slater, 24, were climbing Britain’s highest peak on Valentine’s weekend.



So many teams organised by Lochaber MRT have searched for so long and given so much and it means so much the families and friends of those missing. These were incredible efforts at times in wild weather.

Jim Robertson

Jim Robertson

It is the same in the Southern Cairngorms where  walker Jim Robertson is still missing.

EXPERIENCED walker Jim Robertson, 61, was reported missing in the Cairngorms on March 2, after he failed to return home to Glasgow for his 61st birthday.

The 61-year-old is thought to have stayed in the Bob Scott Bothy, close to Derry Lodge on the Mar Lodge Estate, about eight miles from Braemar, between Tuesday March 1 and the following day.

This is from Jim’s daughter Lynn and if you can help please support.

Lynn Robertson – Supporting Breamar Mountain Rescue Team  in memory of our beloved dad Jim Robertson.

Our family are kindly asking for any donations for Braemar Mountain Rescue because we deeply value all of their incredible work.


An immense amount of work has been done by BMRT to establish the likely circumstances in which our beloved dad, Jim Robertson, went missing. It is likely that he left Bob Scott’s Bothy early on the morning of Wednesday 2nd March 2016, two days before his 61st birthday. It is likely that he headed to the second highest mountain in the UK, Ben Macdui (in the Cairngorms). It is likely that he has had a tragic accident and has succumbed to the elements somewhere on this mountain.

Setting up this page is our way of sharing our deepest heartfelt thanks with the volunteers of BMRT and we would be extremely grateful for any donations, no matter how small they may be. Sadly our dad will not be the last person to need the help of BMRT. We appreciate that our fundraising goal is high however the running cost of BMRT is ‘tens of thousands – every year, year after year’ and all of their work is ‘done on a voluntary basis.’

There are no words to express our feelings of gratitude towards all of those who have been involved in the search thus far. Regardless of the outcome, we are truly overwhelmed by their kindness, compassion and commitment. We are now hoping that BMRT can recover our dad’s body and bring him home to us. Once we have him home, we can say our final goodbyes and return our dearest dad to the hills, where he belongs.

We only wish our dad could see just how much has been done for him… He would be so amazed and deeply moved.

Dad, may only the purest snow ever fall on you x

Anyone wishing to make a donation to Lynn Robertson’s appeal can do so via her justgiving page

These are just two ongoing incidents in the press just now  and it makes me immensely proud of the efforts of all as the teams will continue to look for the missing people until they are found.

What can we do when we go out in the hills to say safe, or if it goes wrong ?

The usual precautions:  always leave an idea where your going with a family friend, or text a pal, if in a bothy stick it in the bothy book. I would have  the emergency text service  on your phone it is free and simple to use.

999 Text Service to Assist Hill Walkers and Climbers

Mobile phone reception in the Highlands can often be intermittent or non-existent. If you are involved in an incident on the hill and need to call assistance but cannot make voice calls, you may now contact the 999 emergency services using a short messaging service (SMS) text from your mobile phone.

The service was originally set up in 2009 for people who are hard of hearing or who have a speech impediment. The service has been successful in helping identify crime and enabling emergency calls to be made when otherwise contact would have been difficult or impossible for the people involved.

The service will now assist those needing emergency assistance in the hills when mobile reception is poor and there is not enough signal to make a voice call. The benefit is that a text message can be composed and sent in a single operation. You should specify ‘Police-Mountain Rescue’ when sending the text, and include information about your location, nature of the incident and those involved.

You will only be able to use this service if you have registered with emergency SMS first.  Register now: don’t wait for an emergency.  To register, text the word ‘register’ to 999.  You will get a reply – then follow the instructions you are sent.  This will only take approx two minutes of your time and could save your life!

Bright is right?

Bright is right?

I also advise wearing some bright clothing, greys, and blacks may environmentally friendly but if you want to be seen if you have a problem then they are like being camouflaged. To me bright is right if your searching for someone?

Remember when we are out enjoying the wild some of our loved ones sit at home and worry, they may bear the brunt if it all goes wrong?

Simple advice, it may save your life and at least give those you love a peace of mind?

My thoughts are with the families of those still missing and for all those who are helping looking for them in all the Rescue Agencies.

Thank you for all for your great efforts, “great things happen when men/women and mountains meet?”

Last night I got a call from Huntly that Calumn Skinner had found my IPhone near the summit of Beinn Eighe yesterday. I lost it several months ago. What a good man and it gives me faith in human nature, reward on the way.

Posted in Friends, Gear, Mountain rescue, Views Mountaineering | Leave a comment