The Angry Corrie 7: May-June 1992

Reminiscences: Nancy Smith

TAC5 made mention of the death of Nancy Smith of the Fasgadh hostel at Fersit, and also appealed for readers' reminiscences of this unsung champion of the Scottish hills. Readers like Ernst Sondheimer...

Hamish Brown had often spoken to me of Nancy Smith, but I first met her in Morocco, in March 1987, when we were both members of one of Hamish's parties. We climbed Ras n'Ouanoukrim, one of the Atlas 4000ers, on a day of brilliant sun and hard pure snow. Next day most of the party set out for Toubkal, the big one, but the weather was breaking and the Neltner hut where we were staying compared unfavourably with the grottiest of Scottish bothies, so Nancy and I decided to walk together down to Imlil - the rain catching us halfway. On the way we discussed mountains and other things (if any) that matter in life, and she told me the story of the trip she had just made to Israel with her son. I distinctly remember her telling how, on the way home, when she had missed transport, and accommodation and money were a bit short, she had spent the night in a men's loo somewhere. She was ready for anything - her simple friendliness, dry humour, and interest in everything and everybody were utterly inspiring. Since then I've visited her twice at Fasgadh and was given a cordial welcome each time. I can't bear to think that I shall not see her again.

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