Media release: Scottish climbing instructor, Tim Miller, wins Youth Mountain Culture Award


WEST Highland College UHI and The Fort William Mountain Festival are delighted to announce that 23 year-old Tim Miller, a fully-qualified mountaineering and climbing instructor, a volunteer climbing coach at The Glasgow Academy, and a graduate of Earth Science (BSc) from The University of Glasgow, is the sixth recipient of The Scottish Youth Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture.

The award, established in 2015, celebrates adventurous young people, the landscapes they choose to explore and the outdoor pursuits in which they excel.

The young recipient needs to have shown resilience and determination to succeed within their chosen area of expertise, shown results through their own efforts and ideas, given back to their community, whilst being thought of as an example of excellence by others.

Tim Miller said: “I am really delighted and humbled to be receiving the Youth Mountain Culture Award this year. It has come as a big surprise and it was a lovely gesture by Rob MacKenzie [2017 youth winner] to nominate me. Well done also to Colin Prior on his Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture.”

From the very first days being coached at the Glasgow Climbing Centre, Tim Miller was instantly hooked, quickly becoming a passionate, strong and competent climber and making a name for himself on the competition scene in the city.

In 2013, in his first foray into competitive dry tooling, he won the Junior Scottish Tooling Series. With very limited ice climbing experience, he placed fourth in the Youth Ice Climbing World Championships in Champany en Vanoise, France, the following year.

However, when Tim made the transition into outdoor climbing, he found his true calling. In a climbing career, spanning less than a decade, he has had many epic alpine and mountaineering adventures; numerous hard traditional and winter ascents and demanding test pieces and first ascents, including grade VIII winter ascents.

He has also undertaken many technical expeditions to the Greater Ranges [the high mountain ranges of Asia] where he has climbed up to 7,000m on new routes and unclimbed peaks.

Tim has not only dedicated time to honing his own skills. From the age of 17, he has dedicated a great deal of time to passing his knowledge on to the next generation of climbers.

Tim went to school at The Glasgow Academy, which has a leading outdoor education programme.

Upon his graduation, he began giving back to the programme, volunteering his own time to work with the young climbers coming through the school. His calm, friendly, polite and deeply knowledgeable personality makes him an excellent instructor, always leaving the kids excited for more climbing.

Through working with the school, and getting a taste for teaching and instructing, Tim Miller has focused his efforts into learning and gaining the experience he needs to make a life out of guiding and climbing instruction.

He has recently passed The Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor Scheme qualification awarded by the Mountain Training UK – the collection of awarding bodies for skills courses and qualifications in walking, climbing and mountaineering in the UK and Ireland.

He is now working towards becoming one of the youngest people ever to be accepted on the British Mountain Guides training scheme. Tim is a member of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors.

Tim now runs a successful guiding and instructing business, Miller Mountain Guides, taking his passion for both teaching and climbing into the mountains.

Rod Pashley, chair of The Highland Mountain Culture Association, organisers of the Fort William Mountain Festival, said: “What is striking about Tim Miller is his countless achievements on such a rapid journey; his development and honing of technical mountaineering skills and abilities and his mountaineering experiences that have taken him to the Greater Ranges.

“What is also striking, and one that would no doubt be expected from a professional mountaineer, is his passion and love of the outdoor environment; the sharing of it; the engagement with others and the understanding of the power of mountain culture and the benefits of engaging with it at whatever level.”

Lydia Rohmer, principal and chief executive, West Highland College UHI, said: “West Highland College UHI is privileged to sponsor The Scottish Youth Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture in this, our tenth anniversary year as an academic partner of the University of the Highlands Islands.

“We are delighted that this year’s recipient clearly epitomises the resilience, entrepreneurial excellence and commitment to the outdoor community that we strive to develop in our own students at the School of Adventure Studies here in Fort William. We wish Tim every success in the future.”


Media contacts:

Paddy Cuthbert | Littlehouse Media | E:

M: +44 (0)7913 951717

Images attached: Tim Miller / For Miller-29.JPG only, please credit Neil Irwin

For hi-res downloadable images go to

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 for editors:

The Fort William Mountain Festival on digital:

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Hashtag – #fwmf2020

The Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture

The prestigious Scottish Awards for Excellence in Mountain Culture recognise the achievements and accomplishments of inspiring individuals and their outstanding contributions to Scotland’s outdoor culture; encompassing sport, theatre, art, photography, film and literature.

In 2019, The Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture was presented to Noel Williams, inspirational high school teacher, author of respected mountain guides, founding member of the Lochaber Geopark, retired member of Lochaber Mountain Rescue and accomplished hill runner; and The Scottish Youth Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture was presented to Rob Cochrane, volunteer Cub and Scout group leader and a Duke of Edinburgh leader, from Inverlochy, Fort William.

The award was set up in 2008 by the Highland Mountain Culture Association Ltd, organisers of the Fort William Mountain Festival. The 2020 Award is sponsored by JAHAMA Highland Estates. The Youth Award, established in 2015, is sponsored by West Highland College UHI (School of Adventure Studies).

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

2019 – Rob Cochrane

2018 – Shauna Coxsey

2017 – Robert Mackenzie

2016 – Natalie Berry

2015 – Zeki Basan

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

2019 – Noel Williams

2018 – Cameron McNeish

2017 – Dr Hamish Brown MBE

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

The Fort William Mountain Festival

The Fort William Mountain Festival 2020 runs from Wednesday 19 to Sunday 23 February 2020 at venues in and around the bustling Highland town of Fort William, at the heart of the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’.

The main presentations and film nights take place in the Nevis Centre and the festival launch night will take place on the Fort William High Street. Venues for workshops and other events can be found on the website.

The Fort William Mountain Festival 2020 programme is presented in association with Nevis Landscape Partnership, The Outdoor Capital, and the Highland Council.

The Fort William Mountain Festival 2020 is sponsored by Rare Breed Productions, Ellis Brigham, University of the Highlands and Islands, Strathmore Hotels, Abacus Mountain Guides, Jahama Estates, Nevis Range, the John Muir Trust,  The Granite House, The Outdoor Capital of the UK, Print Smith, Lamont Design, Caledonian Discovery, Black Isle Brewery, Great Glen Chacuterie.

Festival tickets can sell out in advance particularly for the popular nights.

The festival attracts approaching 1,500 people over the five days and takes place each February in and around the town of Fort William.

The Highland Mountain Culture Association Limited

Festival organisers, 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.

The Outdoor Capital of the UK


The Outdoor Capital of the UK is Lochaber Chamber of Commerce’s tourism brand, promoting adventure for all!  The Chamber publicises, sponsors and 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.

This is done through a range of collaborative marketing initiatives and activities. The organisation currently has a wide range of member businesses ranging from accommodation, food and drink and activity providers to non-tourism focused businesses who support the aims of the Lochaber Chamber of Commerce 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 Lochaber Chamber of Commerce achieves the positive results that individually the members couldn’t otherwise reach.

The Chamber produces official event programmes and guides which showcase all there is to see and do in Fort William and Lochaber. The Outdoor Capital of the UK website is also the go to site for local events, outdoor activities and visitor accommodation in the area.

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