/ Alison Fox missing in Ochils RIP

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Wingeing Old Git - on 02 Mar 2018

Just heard that Alison Fox has been missing in Ochils since yesterday afternoon. Apparently went up from Menstrie. I'm sure she is well known to many people on this forum. 

skog on 02 Mar 2018
In reply to Wingeing Old Git:


I hope she's found sheltering somewhere. We were having 'mountain weather' at near sea level in Bannockburn yesterday; it was not a good night to have been out. And the snow is really dry and poorly-bonded, with a lot of drifting and other movement in the wind.

Insp Jim Young said: "The adverse weather on the hills makes us very concerned for Alison's welfare and we are keen to trace her as soon as possible.

"I must stress that I do not want members of the public to come out and assist with the search due to the weather conditions.

"But if you have any relevant information that can help us establish Alison's whereabouts please contact the ?police immediately. "

girlymonkey - on 02 Mar 2018
In reply to Wingeing Old Git:

Indeed, I know her from the wall. Hope she's ok. 

richprideaux - on 02 Mar 2018
Deadeye - on 02 Mar 2018
In reply to Wingeing Old Git:

Ah shit.  Sorry Alison.

fmck - on 03 Mar 2018
In reply to Wingeing Old Git:

This is really sad news I awoke to this morning. I first met Alison when a group of us got together to charter a boat to reach the Bishop isle Marlyns. I realised then of Alison's difficulties and admired her shear determination. Later we took a trip out to the shiant isles and it was this trip that I really got to see her true metal. After disembarking onto the gravel spit between the isles I checked out the direct route up the Northern isle. Although I have many years climbing experience it looked too dodgy with loose rock and turf and decided to find an alternative route. I returned to do the Southern Isle with everyone but Alison was already off chasing her hill. We passed and I stopped to talk with her about finding an alternative route round to the East but she seemed none concerned. When I returned I was shocked to see her half way up the face and shouted up to her. She climbed to the top as if she was on a footpath at the time I just thought she was barking!

I found an easy route round to the East and topped out to find Alison just passing. I shouted to her as she headed back to her route but her hearing wasn't the best and she kept storming across the moor. Talking to her later she was just full of I CAN DO mentality. It was something I found true admiration for and thought this little lady is made of iron.




skog on 03 Mar 2018
In reply to fmck:

It's very sad news.

I walked with Alison many times, but have not seen her for several years now.

She loved the hills, and yes, she had a number of difficulties but was not one to let anything stop her getting out and doing what she loved.

That determination has now cost her life, but it also drove her to achieve so much, and enriched her life greatly.

girlymonkey - on 03 Mar 2018
In reply to Wingeing Old Git:

RIP Alison. She died doing what she loved.

Trangia on 03 Mar 2018
In reply to Wingeing Old Git:

How very sad.

I didn't know her, was she a contributor to UKC? 

el diablo - on 03 Mar 2018
In reply to girlymonkey: I remember one Hogmanay in Glen Lyon with the Ochils club and Alison sitting impatiently in Oor Jean's car waiting for the three of us to get ready. We enjoyed (?!) a truly awful day on Beinn Heasgarnich almost getting to the top in some of the worst weather I've ever been in. That day seemed to epitomise Alison's approach to hill life, a driven wee soul who undoubtedly attacked her challenges more than most.

RIP Alison



fmck - on 03 Mar 2018
In reply to Trangia:

Yes. Under her own name.


Stuart en Écosse - on 03 Mar 2018
In reply to el diablo & skog

My heartfelt condolences to you both and any f her other friends and family who visit this site. This is such sad news. I didn’t know her but she sounds like one of the guid yins and a real enthusiast.


fmck - on 03 Mar 2018
In reply to Wingeing Old Git:

Looking at the walkhighlands website it appears she did go with hypothermia rather than a underlying medical condition. I thought with her experience and where she was found it would be the former. It appears that due to weather conditions and her visual impairment she did become disorientated even though it was a minor hill she climbed regularly. A call appears to have been made for assistance but unfortunately she was off to sleep before anyone was able to locate her. 

Its hard to understand her decision that day considering the forecast. But everyone that knew Alison will know she just seen that as a added bonus challenge. I'm reluctant to say it but with all things considered Alison made a big mistake!

RIP wee iron yin

skog on 04 Mar 2018

OK. I want to say something, and I hope it's OK to post this; it isn't the usual painting everything perfect, and it isn't meant to be.

Alison was a very honest person, and she deserves to be remembered honestly. She was not a close friend, but she was a friend, and I'm going to pay her that respect.

I got to know her when we were both members of the Ochils Mountaineering Club, based in Stirling. She was a regular on club meets and other events, always looking to team up for a day on the hills, and I shared many of those with her.

She was also not afraid to go out on her own, when that was what she needed to do to get to her objective, and she clocked up a huge number of solo hill days. She was also not afraid of suffering to get to her goal, and would happily head out in the most miserable of weather, or return from a peaty hill soaking and covered in mud.

She was not someone who formed social connections easily, and could sometimes be difficult company, but her obvious love of what she was doing, and her desire to share her enthusiasm for it, often made her pleasant company on the hill. Whilst awkward in person, she had something of a gift for writing, and that's how she best communicated her joy and love of the outdoors.

I think the thing is, it was not so much that she wanted to get out to the hills, or to tick off the hill lists, as that she had a burning need to do so.

Those who knew her fairly well will know that, in addition to having fairly severe visual impairment, she was also prone to mishap, and would routinely allow her need to get to her objective to overrule what might be the more sensible course of action. This led her to get into situations where she required assistance, more than once.

It would be easy to say that she had poor judgement, but I think it may simply have been that, by her own internal risk/benefit analysis, these were simply things that she needed to do, as she -had- to get out, to get up that hill, and it wasn't always easy.

I don't know, but it may be that Alison had asked someone to accompany her on Dumyat on Thursday, and that person is now feeling very guilty.

If so, please don't be hard on yourself. We all have to make judgements on the safety, or desirability, of days on the hill. If you thought it unsafe to head out, you were right; if you just didn't want to do it, that was entirely reasonable. Alison was going to do what Alison was going to do, and you couldn't always be there.

I once had to tell Alison that she couldn't come with me and another companion, on a winter's day, in extreme weather. I had a plan, knew our abilities, and was ready to turn back if required (which, as it happened, it was). On our return, we discovered that Alison had headed out on her own instead, and had needed rescued.

She asked me afterwards, "who will walk with me now?"

I told her that of course I was still happy to walk with her, just on the right hill and the right day, and promised to do so soon. I haven't seen her since, and we won't be having that walk, now.

Here's to you, Alison. You were a tough, determined wee thing who knew what you loved, and took every chance to do it.

I hope it was worth it; I think it probably was.

damomcgovern - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to skog:

Very sad news. A delicate and tragic topic, but well a written piece skog. RIP. 

IanMcC - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to skog:

I was one of those who went out to "rescue" Alison on the occasion Skog mentions. I was so angry with her I could not trust myself to  speak calmly to her for some time after. 

She could be infuriating, selfish, insensitive and thrawn beyond belief. Despite that, her enthusiasm and love for the hills enriched the lives of all who knew her. She will be sorely missed. RIP.

Hyphin - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to Wingeing Old Git:

Heartening to see well balanced tributes celebrating Alison's character and humanity. RIP

Dave Hewitt - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to skog:

A very sad turn of events. I knew Alison a little, almost entirely through quite a lot of chance encounters on the Ochils - she had a spell a few years ago of going up Ben Cleuch every Sunday and we would quite often meet somewhere up top (eg five times within five months in 2011, from looking back at my notes). I don't think I'd seen her since Boxing Day 2012 however - it might have been that she shifted her main local focus from the higher Ochils to Dumyat (where I never met her) around that time.

Thanks very much skog for your very thoughtful comment upthread - and to Ian McC too. I'm similar to Alison in some ways - Ochils-based in the main, a creature of habit and routine, and with a similar "burning need" to get out - and in the past few days more than one friend has asked me what I think about Alison's death and also would I have gone out in those conditions given that I've been out in a lot of properly bad stuff over the years (as having local familiar hills sort of allows you to do).

I'll possibly write something about this, and about my own encounters with Alison, in due course (probably elsewhere if so but I'd flag it up here), but it feels too early for me at least and I want to let a bit of time pass for various reasons. She was certainly one of a kind and an amazing (if sometimes infuriating) character in terms of what she achieved on the hill. The Ochils will without doubt feel emptier without there now being the chance of suddenly having her loom out of the cloud and rain and launch into some long and detailed account of where she'd been the previous weekend.

So perhaps more in due course, I dunno. But one question for now if I may, for those who knew Alison and her habits better than me. I've been puzzling as to how she got to Dumyat on Thursday. She seems to have started uphill from Menstrie, and she lived in Alloa. She didn't drive, the buses were off, and the roads were absolutely terrible anyway (we were already properly snowed in along at Cambuskenneth by that stage). It sounds like she must have walked to the hill - which in good conditions would probably have taken her the best part of an hour (and she was a strong walker); but in Thursday's weather it could have taken her at least twice as long as that, and she'd have used up a lot of energy even before reaching the foot of Dumyat. I'm not wanting to speculate about stuff generally - again now's not the time - but on that one specific question does anyone know?

Dave Hewitt - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to Wingeing Old Git:

There are some nice quotes about Alison in a piece in her local paper:

Wingeing Old Git - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to Dave Hewitt:


Dave Hewitt - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to Wingeing Old Git:

Some more nice comments on the Clacks HWC Facebook page:

and a fundraiser for Ochils MRT:

The Lemming - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to Wingeing Old Git:

I am so sorry to hear the news and I wish to offer my condolences to Alison's family.

I never met Alison but I thoroughly enjoyed chewing the cud with her on these forums.


Dave Hewitt - on 11 Mar 2018
In reply to Wingeing Old Git:

Funeral arrangements, from the Clackmannanshire Hill Walking Club Facebook page.

Both myself and Roxanne have spoken to Alison’s brother who has confirmed that the funeral will be on Thursday 22 March at 2.30 at Falkirk crematorium. He is happy for me to share this information, and would like to see as many of Alison’s friends and colleagues there as possible, from all then different interests she had. The ceremony will be a celebration of Alison’s life.

I have an address for him if anyone would like to send cards to the family, PM me of you would like this. Hoping to see many of you there on the day.

As you know we are trying to raise money for Ochils Mountain Rescue Team and the donations page is below. Coincidentally, Alison’s brother is also involved with his local mountain rescue team where he lives.


mighty_mouse - on 14 Mar 2018
In reply to skog:

A well considered and honest tribute to someone who sounds like she added much to the rich tapestry of life. I'd like to have known her. RIP 

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