Many of you will already know that Ted Jackson, the 2012 Mad Bagger, died in a walking accident on Harris on Saturday 15 March 2014. In fact, Ted was actually the top bagger for a second year running. Ted was spending a week on Harris, travelling as ever by public transport, and had already bagged eight Marilyns and recorded them on the Scottish Hills website. He was last seen on the Maraig to Urgha track, heading for Sgaoth Aird. He was reported missing on the Sunday and the police discovered his body on an exposed ledge on the Monday, but it was not recovered until the following day. He had died as a result of injuries sustained in a fall. The weather that weekend was awful and, in what could be an epitaph for any of us, his last known text sent to his sister Lorraine read:
'the weather is bad but I'm going anyway'.
Ted Jackson was born in Preston in 1959 and lived there all his life. He was a keen Preston North End fan, which is as it should be for a northern lad. He worked for most of his life on the railways and retired in March 2013, to spend more time on the hills. He had planned to move to Scotland soon. However, he had a more colourful life than I have described above. We at Marhofn first heard of him in January 2013, when he told us that not only had he reached 600 Marilyns to gain entry to the Hall of Fame, but that he had also done 222 of them during 2012.
Ted's questionnaire answers revealed to our surprise that he had once considered becoming a professional gambler but had decided against going full-time after an unfortunate encounter with Lester Piggott. He did not tell us that he went back to work in the booking office at Virgin Rail in Preston.
He started on the Munros in 2005 and finished them on a solo ascent of Creag Mhor up Glen Lochay in October 2012. His comments on his completion have a sad ring to them now.
'I had in any case done the Munros alone and it seemed fitting that it should finish that way. I had no tales of daring-do to recount. The hills have always been kind to me with a few minor exceptions. I have a firm policy of avoiding 'dirty weather' so nothing much to report on that front either'.
He also mentioned in his questionnaire that he had heard of Marilyns on the Scottish Hills website but it was only after his death that we realised the extent of his popularity and influence in that forum.
He started posting on scottishhills.com in August 2010, and his last post on the day before he died was no. 4704, a prolific output. That last post recounted catching a bus down to the south end of Harris and climbing two Marilyns. In the same way as he appeared out of the blue to Marhofn, so he did on this forum. To quote one of the tributes to Ted:
He seemed to appear on ScottishHills from nowhere and attended meets and integrated well with us with his cheeky personality and dry sense of humour. What always amazed me was his use of trains and public transport to tackle all the hills he'd done, including a round of Munros... A regular at meets and completions, even though he was t-total, he always laughed and joked with other Shillers in the pub afterwards.
An indication of his sense of fun is that he won the Scottish Hills 'Beard of the year' competition at the end of 2013 and he is pictured here with his prize.
He leaves a mother, three sisters and their families and numerous friends who will miss him enormously. It is very sad that he had not yet got around to joining us on our social events and that he will not now be able to collect his Mad Bagger award at Helmsdale.
His ex-colleagues on the railway and his Scottish Hills friends are planning a memorial of some sort to Ted and we will tell you when we have more details.