Mountaineering scientist dies in clifftop plunge

ONE of Scotland's most distinguished scientists and mountaineers has died after plunging from a clifftop in the Highlands.

Professor Malcolm Slesser, 82, was killed while walking on the Ardnish Peninsula at Loch Ailort on Tuesday evening.

Prof Slesser, who lived in Edinburgh and was a regular contributor to the letters page of The Scotsman, was walking with a woman companion when the accident happened.

John Fowler, of the Scottish Mountaineering Club, said: "He had a remarkable mountaineering career and his death is the end of an era. Although he was 82, he was extremely spry and there were many people aged less than 60 who were less fit than he was - he was active right to the end."

Prof Slesser worked in the oil, synthetic fibres and nuclear industries before becoming Professor of Energy Studies at Strathclyde University.

The Edinburgh University graduate began climbing as a youngster and took part in a gruelling expedition to the Arctic in the 1950s. He wrote widely on his academic discipline and on mountaineering.

His best known book, Red Peak, was an account of the 1962 international expedition to the Pamir mountains in Central Asia, which claimed the lives of two of the climbers.

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