Tributes paid to ‘pioneering’ Scottish climber who died on Ben Hope

Andy Nisbet (right) and Steve Perry were described as experienced mountain climbers
Andy Nisbet (right) and Steve Perry were described as experienced mountain climbers
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Tributes have been paid to a well-known Scottish mountaineer and his climbing partner after they were killed in an accident on the slopes of Scotland’s most northerly munro.

The bodies of Andy Nisbet, from Aberdeen, and Inverness-based Steve Perry, were recovered from Ben Hope in Sutherland yesterday.

Mr Nisbet was today hailed for his “boundless enthusiasm” and “pioneering attitude” in helping to establish 1,000 winter climbing routes north of the Border.

Mr Perry, an accomplished hillwalker, was originally from Lancaster and grew up in Yorkshire.

The duo, who were regular climbing partners, are believed to have finished their ascent of Ben Hope on Tuesday afternoon before falling while on the upper slopes of the 927m (3,041ft) mountain.

A major search operation by the Assynt Mountain Rescue Team was launched soon after. The bodies of the two climbers were found by a helicopter crew on the north-west side of the peak early on Wednesday.

Mr Nisbet and Mr Perry were described as highly experienced winter climbers and members of the Scottish Mountaineering Club.

Mr Nisbet, 65, born in Aberdeen, has been described as a climbing “pioneer”. His honours highlighted in a UK Climbing blog include being a former Scottish Mountaineering Club president and receiving the Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture in 2014.

It also said his expertise led to him authoring and editing guidebooks, as well as having a career in climbing instruction and guiding.

“This is such tragic news, Not only did so many of us prize repeating a Nisbet route, but Andy was a talented and well known mountaineering instructor and former aspirant guide who shared with so many people not only his passion for climbing and walking but also his technical skills and his incomparable knowledge of the Highlands,” said John Cousins, CEO of Mountain Training UK.

Tributes have also been paid to Mr Perry, 47, who was described as a “passionate” winter climber who also had many new ascents to his name.

Mr Perry’s brother Lewy posted a message on Facebook in which he said he lost his “very best friend”.

He said: “The worst day of my life today. Lost my very best friend, my big brother and my role model. I can’t bring myself to reply to every message and post just yet but I’d like to thank you all for your kind words, they help and they’re very welcome.”