Two Adventurers

Cameron & Elaine skiing in Zermatt

About Cameron

Background. I was born and brought up in Fort William in the Scottish Highlands and have been interested in outdoor pursuits since I was a teenager. I was about 13 when I went on my first hike with a friend, where we walked to a bothy and stayed overnight. It was a freezing February night and I had no sleeping mat and only one of those rectangular, thin polyester sleeping bags that everyone has used at some time in their lives! It wasn’t the most comfortable night, but it couldn’t have been too bad either as 3 decades later I’m still enjoying the great outdoors.

Playing with fire

Sub-aqua. For a number of years in my late teens and during my university days I enjoyed sub-aqua diving. I’m a BSAC and NAUI Advanced Diver and I taught diving in the Red Sea for a summer before going to university. I’ve dived extensively throughout the Scottish West Coast and through the Strathclyde Uni Diving Club was part of the 1993 archaeological diving expedition to survey the wreck of the Wrangelis Palais (1687) lost off the Out Skerries (islands) some 10 miles east of Shetland.

Mountain biking in Abernethy Forest

Climbing. I’m an SPA qualified rock climber (2002) and have been climbing for over 10 years. I’ve climbed in Mallorca, The Alps and extensively in the Italian Dolomites. In 2003, I climbed the Matterhorn with a friend, John Moore, from the Gwent Mountaineering Club (GMC) plus another three 4000’ers around Zermatt. (See The GMC newsletter for an account of the trip – especially the Matterhorn Climb recounted by John.) In the Dolomites Elaine and I have climbed numerous routes, including the Vajolet Towers (made famous in the film Cliffhanger) and the Torre Di Falzarago. Closer to home (in the Midlands) many of my outdoor challenges come from weekends in Snowdonia, Wye Valley (rock climbing) and the Brecon Beacons.

Cameron on Camusdarach Beach

Skiing. I guess that I’m a bit of a latecomer to skiing … but seem to have picked it up reasonably well. I really enjoy straightforward off-piste terrain and am happy to be persuaded to ski (French) black runs. 2008 was the first time I skied in Scotland … the conditions were quite lean, which made it quite challenging. In contrast, 2010 was a bumper ski season for Scotland and I managed a couple of trips to both Aonach Mor (near Fort William in the West) and Cairngorms (near Aviemore).

Non-sport activities. I also enjoy photography, DIY, gardening and am very interested in geology, geography, social history, nature and the environment.

Cameron at Balmoral Castle

Last job role. I have an Electronics degree from Glasgow University, and an MSc and PhD from Strathclyde University. For the last 15+ years I’ve worked for QinetiQ, a major R&D company, initially as a Senior Scientist, but for the last 8 years as a Business Manager. In my Business Management role I had full leadership responsibility and accountability for all aspects of my Business Group’s profit and loss performance, programme (multiple project) delivery, sales and business development, business and technical strategy, staff performance & development. During this period I ran a Business Group of over 135 scientists and engineers conducting R&D in electronic Digital Signal Processing.

After lunch siesta - we're in no hurry

About Elaine

Elaine on Camusdarach Beach

Background. Unlike Cameron I did not really get into the outdoor scene until later in life – actually not until I was at Glasgow University where I met Cameron! He introduced me to the delights of walking and climbing but as I had no proper walking attire I had to borrow his Dad’s walking boots, his Mum’s cagoule and his naff “Nevisport” hat … at least for a while. How he still laughs at those naive days!!!  My first mountaineering exploit was going up the North Face of Ben Nevis. It was a glorious day and I remember thinking how privileged I was to be able to experience the breathtaking views first hand, and not just from photographs. Having my lunch on the summit surrounded by snow was just the best feeling and I have been hooked ever since.

Scrambling on rock

Outdoor history. Since those early beginnings I have done quite a lot of mountaineering and climbing in the UK and some abroad, namely the Dolomites, Chamonix and Majorca.  There have been many memorable moments but the one that just takes the edge (bad pun!) was climbing the middle Vajolet Tower in Italy. It was a long hard climb with every weather condition to accompany us but it was well worth the effort as the views were just spectacular. One of my more scarier moments was abseiling through a 40m waterfall at 11:30pm while descending from the Cioch on Skye – haven’t told the parents about that one! Cameron and I started skiing about 8 years ago and I just love it. We have been to France, Austria, Switzerland and Italy and we skied for the first time in Scotland in 2008, at Aonach Mor (shame on us for waiting so long). It was the hardest skiing I have done, as the runs were really icy and narrow due to the lean conditions. Still great fun though.

Cycling Ballachulish Bridge

We both have mountain bikes, which have provided us with immense pleasure as we have been to places and seen views not easily accessible by car. I always remind myself, however, that although it is great fun cycling down a hill there will undoubtedly be pain going back up! Our bikes have panniers, which come in handy when we cycle to the supermarkets for our provisions and they will be used for carrying our small tent and equipment when we visit the islands with our bikes. We have participated in the charity cycle “Pedal for Scotland” for the past three years – 51 miles from Glasgow to Edinburgh – and I usually bake loads of cakes and sell them at work with the proceeds going to the nominated charities.

I have also tried sea kayaking around Arisaig on the Scottish West Coast. We were fortunate with the weather and the silhouette of Cameron’s kayak in the sunset was so picturesque. Seeing the seals bobbing their heads above the water close to our kayaks was particularly special. I remember that my shoulders ached for a few days after so I think a bit more practice to improve my technique would help!

On top of Goatfell on Arran

Non-sport activities. I also enjoy photography, gardening, baking and shopping days with the girls!

Last job role. For the last 14 years I’ve worked for QinetiQ, a major R&D company, initially as a Technical Marketing Manager but for the last 5 years as a Senior Commercial Manager responsible for writing and negotiating the terms and conditions on multi-million pound contracts.

Thigh deep in snow

5 Responses to Two Adventurers

  1. Hamish Sayer says:

    Good Luck to you both on your mission to cover all the munro’s.
    It was nice to meet you and share a ‘dram’ at Braemar Information (‘Snug Bar’) Room
    last night. Great website – will keep checking/watching your progress on your challenge.

    Hamish Sayer (Fat ugly one) that’s me!

    • Cameron says:

      Hi Hamish,

      It was a real pleasure meeting you and the rest of your companions on Saturday evening. I thought that your idea for a “dads and your lads” weekend camping trip was great – pity that your lads were all at University and in the middle of their exams. When I get back to Fort William in a week or so time I’ll be taking my dad for a wee road trip in our ‘van – probably staying a couple of nights at Arisaig near Mallaig. May even manage a trip out to Knoydart on Bruce Watt’s postal ferry.

      Very best regards,

      Cameron and Elaine

  2. Greta Fraser says:

    Just read your update and ‘one of the intrepid ladies’ feels obliged to comment! We were equally entertained by our exchanges and impressed by your spirit of adventure as well as your sanguine approach to the many challenges. I hope the Fisherfield and Knoydart hills embrace you with the same warmth I experience there. Shame on you, as skiers to be such latecomers to Cairngorms which has been my ski playground for decades despite numerous trips to France, Switzerland, Dolomites etc. I hope the remainder of your adventure goes to plan and that you have a wonderful day on Braeriach (you may wish you had your skis there on the 1st!)

  3. Richard & Rhona Hoskins says:

    Hi both.
    Hope you have had a wonderful time on your munro bagging quest. I’ve been following your site throughout your trip when time allowed – we have been on our own travels having taken a 6 month sabbatical from work. We spent 6 weeks in Scotland and bagged our first (and last!) munro – Ben More, on a glorious sunny day. Apparently two days before a climber had completed this as his last munro and was celebrating with the bagpipes. I think this would have been wonderful to see and perhaps shed a small tear, what an achievement.

    I am sorry I didn’t notice sooner that 1st October was your last climb as I think we would have liked to come up and see you (we could have waited at the bottom with Alaisdair and Agnes). I really hope we can perhaps meet up when you get back home and hear more about your travels.

    What a lovely idea to raise money for charity as well, will get on the site and make a donation.

    Love to you both and well done.
    R & R
    x

    • Hi both,

      Well, that’s the adventure over – accompanied by a few friends, and with family waiting for us at the bottom, we summited our 283rd and final Munro on Saturday in cloudy and wet conditions. Despite the inclement weather we had a brilliant time. We now have lots of blog writing to catch up with.

      Elaine will email you separately so that we can hopefully arrange to catch up when we get back down to the Midlands and share stories of our adventures.

      Take care until then.

      Yours,

      Cameron

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