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Published: 24 Jan 2023

Wild Moment: John Bevan

Long-standing Member John Bevan recalls how his love of wild places started early, resulted in a lasting legacy for a good friend who loved the Scottish hills, and continues to this day.

The first mountain I walked up was in Switzerland – as a teenage Scout camping in Kandersteg. And the first mountain I walked up at night – to see the sunrise from the summit - was also there. I think you can fairly call that night’s walk a Wild Moment. It was so long ago that my passport had had to be altered by hand to say that it was issued in the name of Her Majesty.

Much later, when I was working in London, a friend asked me if I would act as an executor to his will. He was single, with no close living relatives and he asked me - at least partly - because he knew that I went to the hills from time to time, and supported others in doing so. In turn, I knew that he too spent much time in the Scottish hills.

Alec Grant died early and unexpectedly, and in his memory his executors were able to make a contribution to the Trust’s purchase of Blà Bheinn in 1994. So a second memorable occasion for me, was somewhat later walking along the track from Kilmarie to Camasunary, looking up, and thinking "Alec helped to save that hill for the future".

But my personal wildest Wild Moment came on the other side of the globe, when in 2006 I was able to disembark, with a few others, from a Russian icebreaker sailing out of Russia, but held stationary to the north of the Bering Strait. We went walking on the frozen Arctic Ocean in the area called the Chukchi Sea.

The ship was frozen in, completely immovable, for a week before we broke out and went on our way to complete the first ever crossing of the most southerly variant of the North West Passage by a single vessel - the Kapitan Klebnikoff

John Bevan - walking on the Arctic Ocean - July 2006Photograph by John Bevan shows his group walking on the Chukchi Sea in the Arctic Ocean.

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