Alistair Milner

Alistair Milner (1945-2014)

Alistair died at the end of November 2014. He had not been in good health for some time. Alistair attended Aireborough Grammar School in West Yorkshire and from there went on to Leeds University. Prior to university he had visited various parts of Scotland with friends to climb some of the most challenging peaks. Thus an enduring bond with the hills was formed. At university he joined the climbing club and the caving club and met Beryl. Alistair was an accomplished climber and he and Beryl completed a thorough survey of all the caves in the Alum Pot area. He also produced a booklet to go with that survey. In the 1960s he ventured to the most remote parts of Mossdale caverns. This was known as the 'Underground Eiger' of British caving, and involved part-crawling over a mile in length and then returning. Alistair recruited Alan Brook when he began climbing Munros and Alan records that most hills were climbed from camps. The Munros were completed in 1988 on Ben More on Mull where his son Guy woke up on the beach in the morning to find a seal looking at him. Alistair recalled this event on numerous occasions. The Corbetts were completed in 2008 on Sgurr a'Bhac Chaolais and most of the summits reached were the result of extended bothy trips. The focus then turned to the Grahams. Alistair had climbed more than three-quarters of the Grahams before his death. He was also a member of the Mountain Bothies Association and was joint maintenance officer for Glenbuck bothy.

Alistair joined the Munro Society in 2006 and in 2011 was appointed to the Executive Committee. Latterly he became heightings co-ordinator. His knowledge of the Scottish hills stood him in good stead for that position. He oversaw the heighting of Knight's Peak and the Basteir Tooth in September 2013. Realising that Alistair was far from well, I joined the team to help with the 'domestics' and together with Beryl we climbed Biod an Athair, a Marilyn in the north of Skye. It was then that I realised just how frail Alistair was.

Alistair worked in the chemical industry and when at Lamson's in Castleford went on many walks with the company's own walking group. He was also a member of the Yoyos, that esteemed walking group based in Stirling. He climbed abroad with Beryl and others in Algeria, Austria, India, Japan, Peru, Nepal and elsewhere. While in Peru he ascended a 6000m peak, the highest point he reached.

Alistair was recognised from afar by his distinctive colourful clothing. I found him modest, loyal, diligent, a good companion on the hills and courageous in his desire to keep climbing when illness took its toll.

His funeral was held at Perth crematorium on 5 December. It was conducted in the Quaker tradition and as such was a quiet yet moving occasion. We will miss Alistair greatly.

Eleanore Hunter
February 2015

(thanks to Alan Brook for information supplied)

Articles by Alistair Milner