Friend who loved the outdoors

A sad tale to begin with but I hope you will bear with me whilst I mention the passing of a good friend of mine who loved the outdoors.

The hills, mountains and glens of Scotland attract many people who come to enjoy the peace, solitude and stunning countryside that are available to all who are prepared to make the effort. That definitely applied to a very close friend of mine, Hew McCallum who died recently and was never happier than being at the top of a hill or mountain enjoying the view eating a lemon curd sandwich which was a delicacy of his.

I will very much miss Hew’s company, the many tales of his exploits particularly the ones about the years he was in the frozen north of Canada working for the Hudson Bay Company dealing with the many native fur trappers. Those certainly were pioneering days and some years ago there was a TV programme covering the experiences of those who like Hew, worked for the Hudson Bay Company in the wilds of the Canadian frozen north. My sons and I have climbed a few hills with Hew, listened to him pointing out the best routes, what to look out for and the variety of rocks etc. to be found, and yes when we reached the top we all shared his lemon curd sandwiches.

Hew was also a keen collector of agates and the many rocks to be found in this area. It has been a real pleasure to have known Hew McCallum, to have enjoyed his company and to have considered him a very close friend. May you rest in peace Hew with your memories of all the great experiences you have enjoyed.

One of the great benefits of Scotland is that all the mountains are available to everyone who wishes to explore them. There are also great mountain rescue teams of volunteers who are prepared to risk all to go to the assistance of anyone in trouble, so there are some safeguards. These volunteers appreciate the urge that all mountaineers and hill walkers have, which attracts them to scale the heights and enjoy the pleasures of the open countryside.

However it is incumbent upon all those who venture forth to be aware of the dangers and equip themselves accordingly. Scotland has so many magnificent views which can of course be photographed, but even with all the modern digital equipment to be really appreciated you have to be actually there. Those who live in the countryside often take it all for granted, but live in a city surrounded by high rise buildings, then you will appreciate what Scotland’s countryside has to offer. See you next week.