Born in 1856, John Mackenzie, of Sconser on the Isle of Skye loved to explore from an early age, first climbing Sgurr nan Gillean aged just ten. He went on to be the first ever native Scot to work as a professional guide and was hugely significant in early ascents of the Cuillin.
Professor Norman Collie, a renowned climber, was a frequent visitor to Sligachan. He and John Mackenzie became firm friends and working together they established routes across the Cuillin range which have become recognised as so familiar today.
The Collie Mackenzie Heritage Group, in looking to commemorate the achievements of both men, raised funds to enable a bronze sculpture of both figures to be erected at Sligachan.
Our aim has always been to gain public appreciation of their pioneering climbs of the Cuillin and to celebrate their connection with the place, and their appreciation of the significance of the landscape within Gaelic culture.
The Collie and Mackenzie Heritage Group worked closely with the Sligachan Hotel. Both men based themselves at this historic hotel when planning their pioneering climbs.
Sligachan and the hotel played host to the unveiling of the sculpture in September 2020. A ceremony of special significance, attended by members of both the Mackenzie and the Collie families, the gathering curtailed by the restrictions of Covid-19.
And now you are all welcome to come and view the sculpture!
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photo courtesy of Jamie Bankhead