The hills are still alive for John at grand age of 85

John receives his lifetime achievement award from Polmont Hillwalking Club secretary John Speakman (left) and chairman Andy Govan
John receives his lifetime achievement award from Polmont Hillwalking Club secretary John Speakman (left) and chairman Andy Govan

Bagging 100 Munros a year is a good number for any avid hill walker, but when you’re in your eighties you’d be forgiven for hanging up your boots.

John Wyllie, the former Co-op grocer in Airth, however, is still going strong on the country’s peaks at the grand old age of 85 and has no intention of stopping one of his life’s loves after nearly 50 years exploring the slopes.

He’s topped every Munro, Corbett, Graham and hill of note there is in Scotland notching up a total of 3008 summits since he started hill walking after being invited to go on an expedition by his neighbour in 1976.

John first completed all the Munros (mountains over 3000ft) in 1980 and since then has scaled Ben Nevis - Britain’s biggest mountain - six times, Ben Chonzie 77 times and Ben Vorlich 62 times.

His last climb, Beinn na Lap, a 3067ft Munro, was last Friday, but it’s the very first one he did that holds a special place in his heart.

“My first climb was the Munro Stuc a Chroin near Loch Earn,” said John. “I’ve climbed that one 61 times over the years. It’s one of my favourites.

“I’ve kept a detailed diary of all the hills I’ve done and count up how many I do at the end of every year. I did 103 Munros last year. It might not be in the hundreds this year because I’m getting on a bit, but I’ll keep on going.

“I love the exercise you get and obviously the scenery.”

His adventures on the hills have also seen him being transported off Beinn Sgulaird in a helicopter after a companion fell and was lucky to survive.

Chairman of Polmont Hillwalking Club Andy Govan, who presented John with a lifetime membership for the group, said: “We are all amazed at how John can do this at the age of 85.”