Tributes paid as hillwalker’s body found in Highland gully

Jimmy Baillie was 'exceptionally fit for his age'
Jimmy Baillie was 'exceptionally fit for his age'
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THE family of an experienced hillwalker from the Capital whose body was discovered in a Highland ravine have paid tribute to his life of adventure.

Jimmy Baillie was found on Friday after failing to return from a hike on Stob Dubh in the Glen Etive area.

The 74-year-old, who had climbed in the area regularly since a teenager, was found at the base of a gully, by search and rescue teams alerted by his family the previous day.

Police are attempting to determine how Mr Baillie, described as strong and exceptionally fit for his age and with a detailed knowledge of the area, came to fall.

The retired insurance clerk, from Balerno, climbed frequently and usually alone. He arrived in the Glen Etive area on Tuesday and was last heard from when he phoned his wife Rosemary, 70, that night.

Today the Baillie family spoke of their sadness at his death, describing a much-loved member of the community and active member of Balerno 
Parish Church.

Mrs Baillie, who lived with her husband in the Balerno area for the past 36 years, said the family hoped to find out exactly what happened in the days to come.

She told the Evening News: “Jimmy has climbed since he was 16 or 17 and he was in the right gear so we don’t know exactly what happened yet.

“He fell down the mountain and into a gully, but we don’t know how he fell, if he might have had a heart attack perhaps. He was so experienced.

“He left Edinburgh on Tuesday afternoon, after lunch, and I spoke to him when he phoned to say he’d got there okay on Tuesday night.

“When he didn’t get in touch on Wednesday night as he should have I knew there was something not quite right.”

Mrs Baillie contacted the police who found his car nearby. She and her sons travelled to the area after his body was found in an attempt to discover the cause of his death.

David Baillie, 45, said his father Jimmy was a much-loved member of the local community and a proud father to his other sons Iain and Derek, daughter Janet, and nine grandchildren.

Originally from Melrose in the Borders, Jimmy Baillie was an avid fan of Scottish rugby and also supported Currie Rugby Club.

He said: “My dad was a very popular guy from Balerno, loved by so many people. Everybody that ever met me said how nice my dad was, ‘what a lovely bloke’ they would say.

“He’d been climbing all his life and he knew the area very well indeed. He had a love of the outdoors, of adventure. He’d jump in his car and drive up there and either stay in a hostel or even sleep in the car.

“He was also a very loving dad and grandfather to nine grandchildren. We will miss him dearly.”

A post-mortem is to be held this week followed by his funeral.

The Baillie family thanked Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team, Oban Mountain Rescue Team, RAF Mountain Rescue Team, the crew of the Rescue 177 helicopter and SARDA dogs for their involvement in the search.

rory.reynolds@edinburghnews.com