Top honour for Adam

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Dr Adam Watson - biologist, ecologist, mountaineer, author, defender of the environment, is to be presented with a top honour .

The Crathes based octogenarian - known as ‘Mr Cairngorms’ - is only the fifth recipient of the Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture.

This annual award recognizes and celebrates the achievements and accomplishments of one inspiring individual and their contributions to Scotland’s mountains, encompassing sport, theatre, art, photography, film and literature.

Dr Adam Watson has spent his life in scientific study of the Cairngorm mountains and in celebrating and defending them.

He has contributed an impressive amount to the understanding of mountain landscapes and ecology.

It is said that few people know more about snow and the animals that live on it than Dr Watson.

Born and educated in Turriff, he gained a 1st class honours in Pure Science (Zoology) at the University of Aberdeen. In the same year (1952), he won the MacGillivray Prize, Department of Natural History at Aberdeen University.

He gained his PhD in 1956, again at Aberdeen University, for his thesis on the “Annual Cycle of Rock Ptarmigan”, a bird that has fascinated Watson all of his adult life.

He has combined a lifetime’s wide-ranging scientific study in the Cairngorms with a devotion to the hills, their wildlife and their people.

His writings over the last 58 years include 23 books and many hundreds of scientific and other publications.

He also served on the Countryside Commission for Scotland and the Cairngorms Partnership, but has always remained independent in campaigning for the conservation of the Cairngorms, to him ‘the most wonderful place on earth’. As a mountaineer and ski-mountaineer since boyhood, he experienced Scotland, Iceland, mainland Canada and Baffin Island on foot and ski, and climbed in Norway, Swedish Lapland, Newfoundland, Finland, Switzerland, Italy, Vancouver Island and Alaska.

In 1954 he seconded Tom Patey when they climbed most of the rock routes in the Cairngorms during checks for the Scottish Mountaineering Club’s first climbers’ guide there.

Later in 1954 he became a member of the SMC and since 1968 author of the Club’s District Guide to the Cairngorms.

Dr Watson’s award will be made at the Fort William Mountain Festival on Saturday, February 18.