Clive Dennier climbing safety campaign launched

Clive Dennier died after a fall in the Highlands. Picture: PA
Clive Dennier died after a fall in the Highlands. Picture: PA
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A CAMPAIGN to save the lives of climbers and hillwalkers by urging them to pass on details of their destination has been launched in memory of a Highland journalist who died after a fall on the hills.

A massive search was launched when reporter Clive Dennier, who had worked for the Press and Journal and a number of local papers in the north, went missing in March, but his body was only discovered in May in a river at Knoydart.

The CLIVE campaign - Climbers Location and Identification Verification Envelope - encourages those taking to the hills to write details of their excursion and then leave them in an envelope with a responsible person.

Labour MSPs Rhoda Grant and David Stewart, who Mr Dennier worked for as a press officer for 18 months, are behind the initiative, which is supported by his grieving family.

On Friday, 22 March, he had left work for the weekend and had been talking to colleagues about going hill walking over the coming two days.

Three days later he failed to turn up at work with the Strathspey and Badenoch Herald in Grantown On Spey and the police were contacted and informed.

Mr Dennier’s disappearance was a shock to all who knew him and in the following weeks a massive search was mounted.

Eventually his car was traced near Loch Hourn in the Knoydart area of the West Highlands.

Despite extensive searches for Clive, involving the emergency services, no trace could be found of him.

Some two months later his body was found in a river that leads into Loch Hourn. He had a gash on his head and in all the circumstances it appeared as though he were trying to cross a fast flowing river, slipped, banged his head and subsequently died.

He had failed to inform anyone of his destination and, while it may not have saved his life in this case, the initiative to inform people of where they are heading may save lives, the campaigners believe.

The MSPs and their staff decided that they wanted to do something to remember Clive and they came up with the idea of the CLIVE Campaign.

It comprises a A4 form on which all the required details should be completed. There are instructions on how to fold this document into a normal envelope size and the person completing the form should then leave it with a responsible person to whom it is addressed.

Mrs Grant said “ Clive was an excellent Journalist and Press Officer, he was a loveable individual who would do anything for anyone and I am delighted for all concerned that we can launch this campaign in his memory”

Mr Stewart said “ Clive was a friend as well as a valuable member of our team. We were all devastated when he went missing and our shock was also shared with many in the community as he seemed to have touched everyone. It is a great pleasure to be in a position to launch this campaign in his memory.

Heather Morning of the Mountaineering Council said ““I would encourage anyone, but particularly those who head out into the hills alone, to use ‘Clive’ and complete one each time they head out.

“No one thinks that they will have problems in the hills, but sometimes the unexpected happens.

“Taking a few minutes to complete the ‘Clive form’ could prove to be the most important thing you have ever done.

“A simple note could also save our valuable emergency services time and a huge amount of money.”

Dave Whalley, Former Mountain Rescue Team Leader also supported the campaign.

He said: “I often go on the hills alone and enjoy the solitude this brings.

“We never expect to have a problem but unfortunately this can happen. Please leave a note and when you complete the “Clive” it allows your family and friends to know where you are going.

“This may save your life one day and for a few minutes work it is so simple. It will also give the Rescue Services a far better chance to find you saving a huge amount time and resources. It makes so much sense.”

Helen Webster of Walking Highlands said “The agonising wait for Clive’s family and friends following his disappearance really brought it home to many hill walkers the need to let others know of their plans. This initiative makes it fairly easy to do so and should be part of planning an enjoyable trip.”

The initiative is supported by Mr Dennier’s family, some of whom travelled north to launch the campaign and then attend a special memorial in Inverness to celebrate his life.

His sister Judy said “ I am delighted to be here launching this awareness campaign. Clive was a very good friend as well as a brother and we as a family are all missing him greatly.

“He was always happy, sociable, interested in people and a great friend to many.

“He had a free spirit and was always keen to be off on his adventures. Unfortunately on this occasion he did not come back and we as a family would not want any other family to experience what we had to over these past few months.

“I really, really hope that those venturing out into the hills choose to fill out a CLIVE form and leave with someone responsible advising what route they are taking and when they are due back.”