A pair of Ayrshire hillwalkers have joined two exclusive clubs — after climbing all of Scotland’s 282 Munros.
Harry Kirkwood and Wallis Riddell, both of Ayr, managed the feat when they climbed their final Munro of the 4,000ft Aonach Mor, near Fort William, last weekend.
For Wallis, 69, it’s his first complete set of Munros; and for Harry, aged 67, it’s his second.
But the second time around was an especially poignant one for Harry, from Bourtree Park, because he was honoured to scatter the ashes of a dearly departed friend.
Harry, originally from Mauchline, completed the Munros for a second time, having completed a first round in 1993 with his great pal John ‘Big Jock’ Smith.
Jock was a ‘weel kent’ and respected Mauchline man, but he sadly passed away last year after a long period of illness.
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And his family’s wish was for Jock’s ashes to be scattered in the mountains he so loved.
Harry was delighted to oblige and scattered them at the top of Aonach Mor, looking over to Carn Mor Dearg and Ben Nevis.
Harry said: “It was nice to think about Jock and I couldn’t have written it better.
“All in all, it was an unbelievable weekend and for me, doing all these Munros twice; I couldn’t have done it without Wallis.”
Harry and Wallis, formerly of Ashgrove Street, Ayr, were joined by family and friends for the weekend of celebration.
Harry said: “The weather turned out excellent on the day, allowing a pleasant summit party followed by a ceilidh party in the Ben Nevis bunkhouse in the evening.
“Music was provided by the bagpipes, accordion and guitar and thoroughly enjoyed by all!”
Harry retired in 2017 after 40 years working in various engineering design positions with Hyster, a forklift manufacturer, in Irvine.
Former workmates were at the celebration and good pal Jim Cook brought his pipes along to pipe the lads onto the summit.
Co-incidentally, Jim and Harry started climbing together and both completed their first Munro on Ben Lomond back in 1988.
Wallis, originally from Newton Stewart, who is also now retired, was employed for most of his working life in HR and Information Governance with public bodies, both locally and nationally.
The guys got together in 2006 when Wallis thought it would be a good idea to complete all the Munros and who better to guide him than his mate Harry.
Harry joked: “Many a difference of opinion on the best route up a mountain kept the banter lively and when lost, Wallis loves taunting me with “You’ve been here before, how come you don’t know the way?”
Wallis moved to Ballater in 2016 to be closer to his son and two daughters who had moved up to the Aberdeen area.
Harry said: “This gave a bit of a logistical challenge to the Munro bagging project which resulted in us regularly meeting up in Fort William or Aviemore, depending on the location of our chosen mountains.”
But the lads intend to keep walking/climbing together, although Harry admits their 20-mile/6,000 ft climbing days are “probably over.”
He added: “Future challenges will be adjusted to suit fitness levels.”
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