Bonnybridge’s Lorna aims high in mum’s memory

Lorna Johnston at Cowden Hill
Lorna Johnston at Cowden Hill

Climbing a local landmark has helped fulfil a life-long ambition for one Bonnybridge native.

Lorna Johnston wanted to scale the Cowden Hill to honour the memory of her late mother Elsie, who had also shared her daughter’s ambition.

The hill overlooks the village and is a familiar sight to people passing through the area. However, as it is owned privately, few have ever ventured up it.

The 57-year-old finally reached its summit on July 11, accompanied by her sister Hillary and brother Roger.

Lorna contacted local councillor Billy Buchanan for help in arranging her climb, who in turn got in touch with landowners Ronald and Alan Pollock.

She said: “I have arthritis but managed against all the odds to do it.

“I’ve got a fear of heights but I just kept my head down on the way up.

“I feel very humble that Billy and Alan came to the rescue and found a way up the hill.

“I am never going to forget this day.”

Lorna, nee Simpson, is the youngest of eight children and came from a well-known family in Bonnybridge.

She moved to Linlithgow in 1975 but still returns to her home town regularly to visit friends and family.

The day of her hill climb coincided with the 30th anniversary of the death of her mother.

Lorna added: “Last year I joined the Forth Bridges Accordion Band and have since learned many tunes.

“The one my mother used to love my father playing on the piano was ‘My Love is Like a Red Red Rose’.

‘‘I played three tunes on the accordion at the top of Cowden Hill, before placing the flowers.

“My mother always wanted to climb this hill but never achieved her wish.

“I feel honoured that I have fulfilled what my mother was not able to achieve herself and know that she would be watching over us.”