A History of Am Binnein – Hugh Fowler
Am Binnein Hillwalking Club was formed around late April or early May 1986. It was the idea of a gentleman called Charlie Grant whose ambition was to form a club with the aim of climbing the Munros, Corbetts, or in fact any hill that seemed interesting. The name Am Binnein was chosen by Charlie and we think it means “The Summit.”
In the early days the club met once a fortnight in Mount Carmel Church Hall where Charlie put the members through a set of eight basic exercises with the idea to get us all very fit. It really worked and after a few weeks you could see your fitness improving.
There was about ten members back then. Hugh Orr (still a club member today) and I decided to join the club in late May after walking the West Highland Way. Our first outing was a weekend trip to Glen Coe. Bidean nam Bian felt, at that time, more like Everest but we made it and caught the Munro bug.
In the next couple of years the club went from strength to strength and we gained a few more members. Our walks were all on Sundays and you looked forward in anticipation to find out which Munro you were going for next.
Sadly, at the end of 1988, our founder Charlie took ill. We discovered he was suffering from asbestosis contracted from serving in the Navy (ship boiler rooms). Sadly Charlie passed away on the 29th of June 1989. He was a true gentleman and is still sadly missed.
Hugh Orr and I visited Charlie just before he died and his last words to us were “will you keep my hillwalking club going?” As you can see the club has more than survived and is now celebrating its 30th anniversary with almost 50 members on the books.
In memory of Charlie, we carried a memorial plaque to the top of Beinn Tarsuinn in Arran and fixed it to a rock on the Kintyre side of the hill, opposite the Old Man of Tarsuinn. This was one of Charlie’s favourite places.