Noel Williams, inspirational high school teacher, author of respected mountain guides, a founding member of the Lochaber Geopark, a retired member of Lochaber Mountain Rescue and accomplished hill runner, has won the prestigious Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture in 2019 – sponsored by Liberty British Aluminium.
Nominated by the public and his peers as a mountain hero who celebrates achievement, accomplishment and the spirit of adventure, Noel Williams, from Torlundy, near Fort William, joins the Fort William Mountain Festival Hall of Fame as the 2019 recipient of The Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture in its 12th year. He joins previous esteemed winners that include Cameron McNeish, Dr Adam Watson, Jimmy Marshall, Myrtle Simpson and Ian Sykes.
As a well-known and respected member of the Lochaber community, having moved to the area for the climbing in 1974, Noel Williams said: “I feel very lucky to live in such a wonderful part of the country and I’m amazed to be given an award for doing activities I enjoy so much. I’m passionate about helping people appreciate some of the astonishing events that have shaped the local landscape. I hope that, despite the difficult economic climate, Lochaber Geopark will continue to spread this message.”
Rod Pashley, chair of The Highland Mountain Culture Association which runs the Fort William Mountain Festival, said: “This award recognises a lifetime of inspiring others and sharing knowledge and passion for this spectacular area we live in. Noel is quiet and unassuming, hiding his great contribution to mountain culture. We are delighted to be able to recognise Noel’s hard work, dedication and passion by presenting him with this well-deserved award.”
The award is sponsored by leading Highland employer, Liberty British Aluminium, whose smelter is located at the foot of Ben Nevis just outside Fort William.
Kerry McDonald, general manager of the Liberty British Aluminium Smelter at Fort William, said: “As an employer whose home is at the foot of Scotland’s tallest mountain and right at the heart of the Highlands, we are very proud to be associated with an award which promotes the rich and distinctive culture we enjoy here. Noel has done a huge amount over the years to highlight our unique environment and way of life and we applaud him for his work that richly deserves this special honour.”