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Andy Nisbet – Tribute

A tribute to Scottish Mountaineer, Andy Nisbet, written by his good friend and climbing partner, Walter Taylor

Andy Nisbet my Friend 1953 – 2019

Much has already been written about Andy Nisbet the climber and adventurer and much more will be written in the days ahead as we all come to terms with his passing. So I just wanted to say a few words about Andy the man.

My earliest recollection of Andy was when I moved to Aberdeen in 1978. We had met before then at crags and although I didn’t climb with him very often in those days we used to meet up regularly every Tuesday and Thursday evening at Butchards Recreation Centre within the Aberdeen University complex to do what was called then ‘‘Fitness Training’. An hour and a half of pure torture and we loved it. I was 26 and Andy was a young 25 years of age. At that time he was completely free from injuries and from metal body part replacements and he was as fit as a fiddle. He used to ‘outdo and outlast the young athletes all dressed in their fancy tracksuits and gear and it was amusing to watch them all as they could only look in awe at this awkward looking, skinny, ginger-haired bearded figure in scruffy clothes out running and outdoing them at everything the instructor put us all through. But It was his attitude to it all that struck me most because although he was very competitive and enthusiastic towards the training he was also so full of fun and laughter. Always smiling and laughing out loud even when completely gasping for breath. I think that that, most of all, was what the other more serious looking athletes in the class just couldn’t understand. He wasn’t appearing to be taking it seriously. He was just there for a laugh they must have thought and yet he was out-doing them and outlasting them at every exercise. Yet he told me that he was hopeless at P.E and sports at school. I really enjoyed those classes with Andy and I still go to those classes to this day in Aberdeen and I often think back fondly to those sessions with Andy when I do. I certainly will from now on. I will find it impossible to go to any class without having a small fond memory of Andy

It was only after I retired from work that I started climbing a lot wth Andy. We were both retired by then so we were able to make ourselves available to one another more often. Andy had always been in a completely different  climbing league to me in any case and it was only time, age and injuries that had brought his rock climbing level down to a level closer to mine. It was a privilege to climb with him and to help him with his Guidebook work which, thankfully, he completed before his passing.

 He once went off for a few days leaving his house completely open for me with the heating left fully on when I asked him if I could stay at his place while over in the Aviemore area. Only last summer he kindly left two near new 60 meter climbing ropes and a handful of large cams out in his unlocked shed for me to enable me and my friends to climb the Old Man of Hoy. Just two examples of his kindness and generosity. When my wife Suzanne passed away with cancer in very similar circumstances to his own wife Gill, he was a real friend to me. So I will remember Andy as much, if not more, for his humanity, his kindness and his generosity. You could not ask for a better friend in the world to have. I will miss him badly.

Walter Taylor

February 2019

Photo: Sandy Allan