Even as a small boy in Leicestershire, England l was fascinated by mountains. I think it was destined that one day I would live in the Scottish Highlands. When I was 50, I achieved my ambition and bought a traditional highland croft in North West Scotland with my wife Janet. It had always been my intention to climb the Munros but l found the unique atmosphere of my local mountains in Wester Ross so magnetic that I rarely went further afield. I therefore never did climb them all.
Buying the croft also enabled me to pursue my other passions: gardening and being self-sufficient.
Janet was a primary school teacher until we moved north. Whereas she wasn’t a mountaineer she loved walking in wild places and encouraging wildlife. She, too, was a passionate gardener.
Her health began to deteriorate in 2002 with osteoporosis but despite having spontaneous spinal fractures she persisted in doing her share in the garden. Then, in 2018 came the devastating news that she had Alzheimer’s Disease as well as Vascular Dementia.
Many people have described Janet as being the most gentle and compassionate person they have ever met. She has been the most wonderful and caring wife, mother and grandmother possible and I am eternally grateful that l fell in love with her.
When Janet and I met we instantly realised that we had the same outlook and many common interests. It wasn’t long before we fell deeply in love and so we made a perfect couple.
We often talked about how lucky we were to have met. There was never any doubt in our minds that our relationship was eternal.
We had both been married before and had 4 children between us. We both wanted to live a similar lifestyle, so when the children left home, we moved up from suburbia to the 10-acre croft. The land was mainly moorland but with an acre of good soil and the area was devoid of trees.
We wanted to create a woodland on the croft and cultivate the good soil for fruit, vegetables and flowers. We were quickly able to be almost self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables but establishing the woodland took much longer. It was not easy, but by working together we witnessed the moorland gradually blossom into a mature woodland, at times even with a temperate rainforest atmosphere.
We were able to ‘live the dream’ for 30 loving years.