The Cuillin Ridge on the Isle of Skye
My chosen header photo is of the Cuillin Ridge on the Isle of Skye, which is by far my favourite UK mountain range, traversed end-to-end in a day only once in each direction, but all summits have been traversed many times.
This Skye Cuillin Photo Compendium comprises a collection of full-screen-width photos taken by AAC(UK) members during a week on the Isle of Skye in 2018.
The 508 Scottish Three Thousands
Scotland has 508 mountain summits at 3,000 feet or more above mean sea level. There are 282 principal summits, known as Munros after Sir Hugh Munro (1856-1919) who tabulated them in 1891, and there are 226 additional 3,000 foot summits, subsidiary to these Munros, which are known as the Tops. This makes the total 508 Munros and Tops, but when I completed them in June 1999, there were believed to be 511. Three were subsequently downgraded as not being quite high enough. I completed the 511 (48% of them solo) in 110 hill-days during 30 visits to Scotland spread over 26 years. Attached, is a comprehensive Tally of the much-enjoyed challenge.
The 14 Welsh Three Thousands
I organised and coordinated a ramble over the 14 Welsh Three Thousands, which was completed in one day in 2019 by 39 AAC(UK) members, split into several groups. One of these groups wrote this Article which was published in the AAC(UK) Newsletter. For decades it had been one of my favourite day-walks, completed on 19 occasions, 10 of them solo.
I was well on the way to organising a one-day circuit of the Welsh Three Thousands in 2020 as a round trip starting and ending at the Mountain Hut we'd be staying in, to simplify transport, but the Covid Pandemic put a stop to it. The route would have been: Glan Dena > Tryfan > Glyder Fach > Glyder Fawr > Pen-y-Pass > Crib Goch > Crib y-Dysgl > Yr Wyddfa > Nant Peris > Elidir Fawr > Y Garn > West End of Llyn Ogwen > Pen yr Ole Wen > Carnedd Dafydd > Yr Elen > Foel Grach > Foel-fras > Foel Grach > Carnedd Llewelyn > Glan Dena. In case it can be organised in the future, here is the comprehensively documented Meet Sheet for it, which anyone is invited to freely use..
A UK Mountain Odyssey in 2016
I organised and led this Mountain Odyssey undertaken by a party of three in June 2016. We started by climbing all 8 of the 3,000 ft hills in England, then all 11 of the 4,000 ft hills in Scotland, then the National Three Peaks (Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon) in 24 hours, and finally all 15 of the 3,000 ft summits in Wales, taking just 7 days, without ever exceeding road speed limits. I was 73 at the time, and it turned out to be my serious-Mountaineering 'Swan Song.'
Mountaineering Opportunites in the Armed Forces
The opportunities to receive mountaineering training and then to amortise it, all on duty and at no charge and with all expenses paid, are detailed below, aimed at persuading civilians to consider an Armed Forces career:
Mountaineering in the Bolivian Andes with RAFMA
RAFMA Annual Journal is my account of a mountaineering expedition to the Bolivian Andes with the RAF Mountaineering Association in 1992, that was published in the RAFMA Annual Journal.
My Personal Log is an illustrated personal log of what I achieved during that expedition, as a member of the two-man advance party.
Trekking in the Himalayas with RAFMA
Mel and Mary joined a party of RAFMA Old Timers on a Himalayan expedition in 1998. We enjoyed seventeen days trekking, two days river rafting, and five days sightseeing, exploring and relaxing. Here is the Itinerary of our expedition.
The 19 younger more-energetic members of our RAFMA party climbed Ama Dablam at 6,812 metres.
The following five articles are informative and educative, covering safety-related mountaineering issues
My Mountaineering Club Record
I have been an active member of three nationally-based mountaineering clubs through the many decades.
I joined the CMC in 1964, the year it was founded by The Countrywide Holidays Association, (The CHA), and was elected Secretary at its first AGM. The only other officers at that time were the Chairman, George Richards and the Treasurer, Edward Snelson. (Of the 3 of us, I was the only one [according to Companies House] who has ever been a CHA Director). I was also the de facto Membership Secretary, Meets Planning Secretary, Meets Booking Secretary, Newsletter Editor and Printer, (using a club-owned hand-cranked press at home, with input via Gestetner skins) and Club Librarian (holding 6 guidebooks at home and posting them to members requiring them). I subsequently served as Club Chairman for 3 years, during which time we purchased Marconi Hall in 1975 for £10K to become the Club Hut, (the Chamois Mountaineering Centre), and I was one of those who were created life-members for making significant loans to the club to fund the hut's purchase. I subsequently served as Club President for 3 years and as Club Treasurer for 19 years. The only posts I never filled were Hut Warden and Webmaster, but I was obviously well-qualified for both. I supported two weekend work-meets at the Hut annually for 36 consecutive years, driving over 62,000 miles at my own expense to do so, and as a Chartered Electrical Engineer with domestic wiring experience, I took charge of a week-long meet to completely rewire the Hut, which had originally been wired in fabric-insulated cable; this was replaced with pvc-insulated cable, the fuse boxes were replaced by circuit-breaker boxes, and it was converted from single phase to three phase. On completion, it was thoroughly checked independently by a local electrician and his report together with full documentation and circuit diagrams were filed safely in a folder in the Members' Lounge.
The foregoing gives the positive upbeat account, but regrettably, everything changed when I raised privately with the Committee several examples of their breaking club rules and dictatorially trampling on democracy to suit their own ends. The Chairman, Andrew Jackman, (I discovered much later), had been trying to destroy my reputation for quite a long time, all behind my back. He seized on my criticism of his committee's unconstitutional actions to persuade them to force me out of the Club that had meant so much to me for so many decades. He subjected me to a maliciously vindictive string of lies, which were submitted to his loyal Committee in writing behind my back, and which were published in the committee minutes, which were always published to all members on the members-only section of the club website. To deny me any opportunity to correct his lies whenever I met members, he persuaded his committee to suspend my membership. Since I had no means to overturn his lies, the members believed them. That is a brief overview of the full story, which is documented here.
I joined RAFMA as soon as I took my commission in the RAF in 1974, taking part in numerous mountaineering trips in the UK and the European Alps, as well as expeditions to the Andes and the Himalayas. I served RAFMA as Treasurer for 6 years, taking over handwritten ledgers and computerising the book-keeping. Subsequently, I served as Club Chairman for 3 years. I am still a member, although necessarily inactive; this enables RAFMA to focus its meets programme on the younger more ambitious climbers who are serving in the RAF, and not provide meets for elderly ‘has-beens’ like me. unlike civilian mountaineering clubs such as the CMC and the AAC, (and I am speaking from decades of experience.)
For decades I was one of the overwhelming majority of members who only ever joined the AAC(UK) in those years I was planning an overseas mountaineering expedition, solely for the world-wide mountain rescue, medical and repatriation insurance, without age limit, together with full alpine hut rights, that were all included for no extra charge in the membership package. Eventually, I was persuaded to take a more active interest, and I organised and led Club Meets in the UK and the Alps, introducing an annual week in the Skye Cuillin, an annual one-day traverse of the 14 Welsh Three Thousands and a fortnight in the Italian Dolomites climbing Via Ferratas (Klettersteigs). I also served as Club Webmaster for 6 years, an enthusiasm that has never left me, since I still routinely produce an electronic version of our printed Club Newsletters, my latest being Edition 240, Winter 2023, web-published here 30th November 2023. In addition, I maintain a Club Archive of past newsletter articles, even though they never see the light of day. Only ‘Feature Articles’ are included, since full event information appears elsewhere on the Club Website. I am no longer a particularly regular meet attendee, now that I am in my eighties.
So far, I have given you a very positive side, but there is clear irrefutable evidence that the AAC(UK) has been guilty of Tax Evasion since 1995, which has built up over many years and will undoubtedly result in club bankruptcy and the threat of closure. As a direct result of the Board's inability to challenge the evidence, leading to their unjustified hostility, I have web-published a comprehensive but unsolicited Management Survey Report, which describes, inter alia, the steps the Directors have taken to try to drive me out for blowing the whistle on them.
I was also for many years a member of two other clubs, solely to enjoy staying at their huts for solo midweek rambles, always choosing days with excellent weather. These were:
We designed and built our own large 4-bedroom house on 12.66 acres of farmland in 1988-89 and we lived in it for over 30 years, the building work recorded here
I have maintained this Log of everything (non-domestic) that I have achieved over the decades.