BILL BROOKER - An Appreciation

Bill Brooker passed away last November, aged 79. His place in Scottish mountaineering will be well known to many readers of Mountain Views.

Born in Culcutta, he came to Aberdeen as a boy and discovered the Scottish hills as a teenager. Whilst he climbed new routes in Skye, on the Ben and elsewhere, it was in the Cairngorms that he left his greatest mark. At the end of the war, the Cairngorms were under-developed as a climbing playground and Bill became one of the prime movers of that great wave of exploration in the 1950s. Whilst he pushed summer standards with routes such as Waterkelpie Wall on the Dubh Loch, it was his winter ascents of Eagle Ridge, Parallel Buttress, Mitre Ridge and the like which put him at the forefront of pioneering in Scotland.

Educated at Aberdeen University, a career in teaching followed national service and an early spell in mining. He eventually became tutor-organiser in extra mural studies at Aberdeen University.

He took up ski-touring and continued to climb but, as the years passed, he began to contribute more and more to the wider well-being of mountaineering in Scotland. He was president of the Scottish Mountaineering Club from 1972 to 1974 and later became Honorary President. He was the editor of the SMC Journal for almost a decade and edited A Century of Mountaineering: An Anthology from the Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal. A member of the Etchachan Club and Honorary Member of the Cairngorm Club, he contributed to mountain leadership training.

A long time supporter of NEMT, Bill was Chair in the early 1990s. Despite developing motor neurone disease, which led to his becoming wheel chair bound, he continued to take a keen interest in all things mountaineering and the wider outdoors and was a regular attender at NEMT lectures. Bill’s immense contribution to the world of mountaineering was recognised when he was awarded an Honorary Degree by Aberdeen University in 1996.

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