Media Release: ClimbScotland’s Robert Mackenzie wins Mountain Culture Award

Robert Mackenzie-Award-Credit MacLeod-1

NEVIS Landscape Partnership and the Fort William Mountain Festival are delighted to announce that 25 year old Robert Mackenzie, the new regional development officer (west of Scotland) for ClimbScotland, is the third recipient of The Scottish Youth Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture.

The award, established in 2015, is part of a wider project between the two organisations to celebrate adventurous young people, the landscapes they choose to explore and the outdoor pursuits in which they excel.

Nominated by the public and his peers as a young mountain hero who celebrates achievement, accomplishment and the spirit of adventure, Robert Mackenzie joins Zeki Basan (2015) and Natalie Berry (2016) – as the next Youth Ambassador in the Fort William Mountain Festival Hall of Fame.

Inverness born and bred, Robert Mackenzie has been climbing for 22 years, ever since his first day outdoor climbing at the age of three. Since then, he has had a passion for climbing in all its formats.

At nine years-old, he began entering climbing competitions with great success.

He moved up the ranks winning the British Lead climbing Championships four times and placing 15th in the World Youth Championships and eighth in the European Championships, as part of the GB Junior climbing Youth Team.

At 19, Mackenzie moved to Glasgow for university where he got a job coaching the Glasgow Climbing Youth Squad, becoming head coach four years later. The squad now has 42 young athletes from around Glasgow, two of whom Robert coached to GB team status.

Robert believes that there is nothing better than a good day out in the mountains and he has always been keen to encourage as many people as possible to share that experience.

In 2015, he set up the Glasgow Gorillas Climbing Club in order to introduce his young climbers to outdoor climbing. With the help of a great group of parents, he has been running outdoor climbing trips every month since then. Together, they have introduced around 35 kids to traditional and sport climbing and bouldering.

Robert left the position of head coach of the Glasgow Climbing Centre Youth Squad in October 2016 to take up his new regional development role for the west of Scotland at ClimbScotland.

Robert’s main roles in this position are to increase grass roots participation, develop and support pathways into climbing, encourage better use of indoor climbing facilities and to promote and report on ClimbScotland events and competitions. He is still involved in the coaching at ClimbScotland’s national youth academies.

Mike Pescod, chair of The Highland Mountain Culture Association Limited, organisers of The Fort William Mountain Festival, said: “We can hardly believe that this is the third year of The Scottish Youth Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture.

“Our previous ambassadors have been outstanding young people and with Robert Mackenzie there is no exception to that level of excellence. He represents an exemplar in influencing other young people by showing it is possible to achieve high levels of personal and sporting success through his own passion for climbing and Scotland’s outdoors.”

Robert Mackenzie will be presented with his award in Fort William on Saturday 9 February at the Fort William Mountain Festival; together with Dr Hamish Brown MBE, who has won The Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture in its tenth anniversary year.

This award is presented with support from Corpach Boatbuilding Co. Ltd.

Without this support the award would not have been created or continue to be presented each year. Encouraging young people into active healthy lifestyles in the outdoors goes alongside the graduate placement and apprenticeship work that continues at Corpach Boatbuilding Co.

To download a hi-res images of Robert Mackenzie go to: – please credit Dave MacLeod

To find out more about the full Fort William Mountain Festival programme for 2017, go to:

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Twitter – / #mountainlegends

Image attached of Robert Mackenzie. Please credit Dave MacLeod


Media contact:

Paddy Cuthbert | Littlehouse Media | E:

M: +44 (0)7913 951717

If you are keen to attend the Fort William Mountain Festival for a commissioned travel feature or adventure / activity feature please contact Paddy Cuthbert to discuss a funded press trip to the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’.

Notes to editors:

Scottish Youth Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture

Amongst the criteria for the Scottish Youth Award for Mountain Culture award the young recipient needs to have shown resilience and determination to succeed within their chosen area of expertise (linked to an outdoor theme), shown results through their own efforts and ideas, given back to their community, succeeded in the face of adversity; whilst being thought of as an example of excellence by others.

The Nevis Landscape Partnership. Ben Nevis and Glen Nevis represent one of Scotland’s most treasured landscapes, yet one that is seriously under-resourced. The Nevis Landscape Partnership, constituting a wide range of stakeholders and communities, is cohered around a shared vision: to protect this unique place for the future; to manage it collectively; to view it holistically; and to give voice to its diversity and many communities –

The Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture

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

The award was set up in 2008 by the Highland Mountain Culture Association Ltd, organisers of the Fort William Mountain Festival, and is sponsored by Rio Tinto Alcan through Foundation Scotland.

Previous recipients of The Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture are:

2016 – Mick Tighe

2015 – Robin Campbell

2014 – Andy Nisbet

2013 – Myrtle Simpson

2012 – Dr Adam Watson

2011 – Ian Sykes

2010 – Jimmy Marshall

2009 – Richard Else

2008 – Dr Hamish MacInnes

Previous recipients of The Scottish Youth Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture are:

2015 – Zeki Basan

2016 – Natalie Berry

The Fort William Mountain Festival is presented by Jöttnar, technical clothing for mountaineering, winter climbing and all-mountain skiing –

The Fort William Mountain Festival wish to thank the following sponsors and supporters – Jöttnar, Three Wise Monkey’s Climbing, Rare Breed Productions, The Alexandra Hotel, The Outdoor Capital of the UK, Ellis Brigham, Rio Tinto Alcan, Corpach Boat Building Co. Ltd, The Nevis Landscape Partnership, The Heritage Lottery Fund, Nevis Range Mountain Resort, John Muir Trust, Printsmith, Lamont Design, Allround Signs, Abacus Mountain Guides, The Granite House, Bill Scott Architects.

Jöttnar – The Fort William Mountain Festival is presented by Jöttnar, technical clothing for mountaineering, winter climbing and all-mountain skiing. Said a spokesperson: “We were in the Norwegian mountains during a fierce Arctic winter when inspiration took hold: the development of a technical outdoor clothing range that would protect against the raging brutality around us, but also capture the purity and elegance of the Scandinavian landscape.

“As mountaineers, as well as former Royal Marines, we knew the importance of creating our products with the most savage conditions in mind. Our clothing has since withstood the demands of the most exacting users in the most ferocious conditions.”

3 Wise Monkey’s Climbing – Three Wise Monkeys Climbing is an awesome new Indoor Climbing Centre in Fort William. No more nothing to do on a rainy day, no more nothing to do on the dark winter evenings. 3 Wise Monkeys happened because we believe the UK climbing community deserves better – and we’re pushing ourselves all the time to make that happen – want to sign up for the ride? Well, why are you reading this? You should be here climbing!

The Outdoor Capital of the UK – Formed in 2003, the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’ is a community-focused not for profit membership company with a volunteer board of directors and a salaried staff of three. Through a range of collaborative marketing initiatives and activities the organisation promotes Fort William and Lochaber as the best place in the UK for everyone to experience the outdoors; with a view to developing local jobs and wealth and encouraging sustainable economic growth. Lochaber Chamber of Commerce –  Outdoor Capital of the UK –

The organisation currently has over 110 member businesses which range from accommodation, food and drink and activity providers to non-tourism focused businesses which support the aims of the Outdoor Capital and acknowledge that tourism is crucial to the local economy. Many of these businesses are SMEs and by pulling resources and working as a team the Outdoor Capital achieves the positive results that individually the members couldn’t otherwise reach.

Visitors interested in the outdoors are increasingly important to economy and community of Lochaber. There are over 65 different activities to choose from in an amazing landscape that encompasses the small isles to Ben Nevis with white water rivers, sea, lochs, beaches, forest, glens, cliffs and mountains in between.

The Highland Mountain Culture Association Limited, is a not-for-profit organisation, whose aim is to promote the understanding and appreciation of the world’s mountain places and people, by creating opportunities for people of all ages to share their mountain experiences, ideas and visions. To showcase these ideals, it stages annually a programme of events within the Lochaber area, called The Fort William Mountain Festival.

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