Figurehead Environmental Campaigner Dave Morris Wins Top Mountain Award

Organisers of The Fort William Mountain Festival are pleased to announce that Scottish environmental campaigner Dave Morris (pictured, picture by Dave MacLeod) is the thirteenth recipient of the Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture, sponsored by JAHAMA Highland Estates.

Nominated by the public and his peers as a mountain hero who celebrates achievement, accomplishment and the spirit of adventure, Dave joins previous esteemed winners including Colin Prior, Andy Nisbet, Dr Adam Watson, Jimmy Marshall, Myrtle Simpson, Ian Sykes, and Dr Hamish MacInnes in the Excellence in Mountain Culture Hall of Fame.

Dave Morris has devoted most of his life to protecting and promoting access to the wild landscapes of Scotland.

From the Lurchers Gully enquiry in the 1980’s to masterminding the whole campaign for access in Scotland prior to the publication of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, he has been a stalwart figurehead environmental campaigner. 

Without his painstaking work over many years, the country would not enjoy the world leading access legislation that so many take benefit from today.

As a director of Ramblers Scotland for many years he made great use of the media to persuade politicians, landowners and the general public to see the enormous benefit our wild landscapes give us.

On his retirement from this post in 2014, well known outdoor writer Cameron McNeish [winner of Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture 2018] described Dave Morris as the ‘closest thing we have to a John Muir figure …, a wild-country champion who could lift up the eyes of an uncaring public and show them that in wildness lies the hope of the world’.

JAHAMA Highland Estates’ Chief Operating Officer, Julia Stoddart said:

“We are delighted once again to show our support for the Festival by sponsoring the Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture and congratulate this year’s winner Dave Morris, an outstanding recipient.

“A tireless campaigner for public access rights and for the environment, Dave is a seminal figure in the Scottish outdoor access world, and it is right that his dedication and commitment are recognised through the award.

“JAHAMA Highland Estates is an inspiring landscape that attracts access-takers of all kinds, and we fully support the right to responsible access as enshrined in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC), which owes so much to Dave’s work.

“The benefits of SOAC to the public have never been clearer than during the pandemic.

“Outdoor exercise has taken a central role in many people’s wellbeing during the past year, and JAHAMA continues to work with local stakeholders to ensure that recreation forms a key part of ‘building back better’ from Covid-19.”

Dave Morris also represented the interests of Scotland on a world stage as the President of the Mountain Protection Commission of the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) for eight years.

He is a lifelong climber, skier and hillwalker. 

He has been an incredible source of inspiration in the last few years having battled with a Laryngectomy operation, due to throat cancer.

Now breathing through a small hole in his throat, Dave has defiantly managed to climb to 20,000ft in the Himalayas, ski mountaineer in Alaska and climb alpine rock routes in Norway.