A CLIMBER from the Inverness area, described as a “gargantuan and inspiring figure,” is being mourned by Scotland’s mountaineering community following a double tragedy.
Steve Perry died with his climbing partner Andrew Nisbet in a horror plunge on the 3014ft Ben Hope in Sutherland.
The pair, both highly experienced mountaineers, were on Scotland’s most northerly Munro when an initial call for help was made about 3.45pm on Tuesday.
Their bodies were recovered on Wednesday following a two- day operation involving nearly 50 members of mountain rescue teams and two coastguard helicopters.
Stunned members of the mountaineering world have paid tribute to Lancashire-born Mr Perry, who moved to the Highlands from Yorkshire, and Aberdeen-born Mr Nisbet, a renowned winter climber.
Mr Perry, an offshore wind farm worker, was a member of the Scottish Mountaineering Club.
On his UK Climbing logbook, he described his best climbing experience as: “Rock climbing on any crag, sea cliff or mountain route in the far north when it’s sunny and new routing in winter Scotland.”
Scottish broadcaster and outdoor enthusiast Cameron McNeish said he was utterly devastated at the news.
“Both were gargantuan and inspiring figures in Scotland’s mountaineering scene,” he tweeted. “A massive loss to us all. “
One friend, Jamie Kirkbride, spoke on social media about Mr Perry’s infectious motivation and knowledge for the sport
Another friend, Daryl Allison, said: “Thoughts are with your family, especially your kids to loose their dad when he was so young. “
A spokesman for Scottish and Southern Energy said Mr Perry was a respected and conscientious member of its Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm team until the end of last year.
“Our thoughts are with Mr Perry’s family at this difficult time.” he said.