Obituary: Archie Hendry, 93

Archie Hendry, poised for action, pipe in mouth
Archie Hendry, poised for action, pipe in mouth
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ARCHIE Hendry, an esteemed language teacher and respected mountaineer, has died at the age of 93.

Archie was born on March 25, 1919, in Morningside, the son of Jessie and Archibald Hendry. Archibald, who had lost an arm during the Gallipoli campaign, was yet to be demobbed at the time of his son’s birth, a few months after the end of the First World War, and was working as a naval dockyard clerk at Leith.

Young Archie spent most of his childhood in the Trinity area, though he did spend a short time in Fife. He began climbing with Edinburgh’s Junior Mountaineering Club of Scotland in the 1930s, eventually becoming secretary. In 1938, he began studying French and German at the University of Edinburgh.

However, his climbing career nearly ended the next April, after he was injured in a fall in Glencoe’s Buachaille Etive Mor. Archie’s leg was badly broken and his kneecap had to be removed. Though he still continued to climb enthusiastically it is believed the fall stopped him from reaching his full potential as a climber.

The injury also rendered Archie unfit for service in the Second World War, and he was able to complete his studies at university in the early 1940s, graduating with an MA. He began teaching at Stirling High in 1943 but still endeavoured to help the war effort by working in a Birmingham munitions factory during the holidays.

In 1944, he joined the Scottish Mountaineering Club (SMC) and soon became a committee member and custodian of the Charles Inglis Clark hut on Ben Nevis.

In September 1945, he married fellow Edinburgh University student Elizabeth in her native Shetland. The couple then settled down in Edinburgh, where she worked as a primary school teacher. In 1948, Archie moved to George Watson’s College, where he became principal teacher of German. He would remain with the establishment for the rest of his teaching career, overcoming his doubts over teaching girls when the school amalgamated with George Watson’s Ladies’ College in the 1970s.

In the 1960s, he was made vice-president of the Scottish Mountaineering Club, becoming president in 1968. He was also general editor of the Climbing Guidebooks.

Archie retired from teaching in the 1980s and continued to live in the capital, caring for his wife, who had suffered a stroke. The couple decided to move to Perthshire in 1990 when a second stroke confined Elizabeth to a wheelchair. He continued to care for her until her death in 2003, with the aid of a respite carer who also looked after him in his later years.

Archie died in Crieff on March 6. Robin Campbell of the SMC paid tribute, saying: “Archie Hendry was a true friend of Scottish mountaineering”.