Jake was a black Labrador and we climbed An Caisteal, our first Munro together on a bitterly cold day in early April 2015, it was so cold that Jake had a thick coating of frost all over him. We went on to complete together on Sgurr Fiona on a beautiful summer’s day in July 2019. The day will be forever in my memory as I did not know then that Jake would be gone just 10 weeks later. He was 12 years old when he completed.
We climbed all the Munros solo apart from three on Skye where my son came along to help us. The Cuillin Munros were the only time I had Jake on a harness and rope, I down climbed and my son lowered him down to me. We also climbed the Aonach Eagach Munros separately and did not traverse the ridge.
My favourite day on the hill was a traverse of the seven Munros on the South Glen Shiel ridge and then onwards to The Saddle and Sgurr an Sgine with Jake and his brother Brin. I was proud of us all managing to the route complete in 28oc heat. Brin managed 168 Munros before surgery on his foot put paid to any more.
Jake and I also had a frightening near miss. We were climbing the Ring of Steall and I had headed up the wrong side of the gorge, realising my mistake, instead of going back as I should’ve done, I decided to cross as it looked OK to do so. The river disappeared under huge boulders and I saw Jake was hanging on to one of them on the verge of being swept under the rocks. I did not hesitate and went back to grab him and despite being a Labrador, after that day he did not like going into the water.
Jake was a special companion, he had 100% unbridled trust for me and I rarely had to correct him on the mountains as his obedience was perfect. I have to admit that I was prouder of Jake’s Munro completion than I was of my own!
He coped with whatever the weather threw at him and extremes of weather didn’t bother him in the least. I always carried Jake’s food and water allowing him to run free on the hill
We only camped once whilst traversing the Fannaichs in the middle of the deer rut which was an entertaining experience.
I bred Jake myself and bottle fed him from birth and as a result we developed a special bond, he took everything in his stride. The only time I did not take Jake with me on the hill was the day he died and even then, he was jumping around me to come along.