Myrtle Simpson wins mountain excellence award
There was huge praise for the decision to present Scottish skiing and guiding pioneer Myrtle Simpson with the Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture this week. The accolade is part of The Fort William Mountain Festival, which takes place at the heart of the self-proclaimed Outdoor Capital of the UK, this month. Myrtle, now in her eighties, has long been an outdoors inspiration in Scotland. She is credited with being a key motivator in the setting up of Glencoe, Cairngorm and Nevis Range Ski centres. The author and lecturer is also a former member of the Scottish Sports Council and former chair of the Scottish National Ski Council. She is now the sixth recipient of The Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture. As a climber, skier, canoeist, explorer and adventurer, Myrtle has travelled all over the world to pursue her passion, from New Zealand, Peru and China to Greenland and the high Arctic. Mike Pescod, chairman of the Highland Mountain Culture Association, which organises the Fort William Mountain Festival, said: “With the mindset of a true adventurer and explorer and the enthusiasm, dedication and devotion to climbing, skiing and outdoor culture, Myrtle Simpson is truly inspiring. She is the perfect ambassador for mountain culture.” He added: “To some people, like Myrtle Simpson, the draw of the mountains is so strong that they devote their entire life to them and make a massive contribution to the culture surrounding them in doing so. “Recognition of their talent and commitment is rarely sought or given and this award is one opportunity to do so.” The 2011 award winner, Ian Sykes, MBE, said: I can’t imagine anyone more deserving for this award. There are very few men or women who have done as much in the mountains as Myrtle. She is a true ambassador for women climbers.’ He added: “She has got loads of gumption and is still going strong. She is an inspiration.” The Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture annually recognises and celebrates the achievements and accomplishments of one inspiring individual and their outstanding contributions to Scotland’s mountains, encompassing sport, theatre, art, photography, film and literature. It was set up in 2008 by the Highland Mountain Culture Association Ltd, organisers of the Fort William Mountain Festival, and is sponsored by Rio Tinto Alcan through Foundation Scotland. Previous winners include: Dr. Adam Watson (2012), Ian Sykes (2011), Jimmy Marshall (2010), Richard Else (2009) and Dr Hamish MacInnes (2008). For further details of the award and to see the programme of events for the Fort William Mountain Festival, from February 21 to 24 see Mountain Festival.
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