New £117k sculpture will pay tribute to mountaineers

A bronze sculpture paying tribute to two 'pioneering' mountaineers will be erected in Skye after its fundraising target was reached.

New £117k sculpture will pay tribute to mountaineers

A sculpture celebrating two famous mountaineers is to be erected on Skye after a community heritage group reached its £117,000 fundraising target.

The bronze artwork will pay tribute to Professor Norman Collie and John Mackenzie and will be put up at Sligachan against the backdrop of the Cuillin Hills.

The two men are credited with creating many of the routes across the Cuillin range and are considered locally as pioneers.

Collie and Mackenzie Heritage Group group had already successfully raised £200,000 to complete the first stage of the project, which included creating a 21-space car park, information panels and stone seating.

Morag Nicolson, chairwoman of the group, said: “We are so pleased to be able to share this news with everyone that has supported and encouraged us over the last 16 years.

“Our funding target has been reached and we cannot thank every one enough for their donations towards this project.

“The sculpture of Norman Collie and John Mackenzie has now been commissioned.

“We are now making plans for the unveiling of this iconic bronze sculpture at Sligachan in September.”

John Mackenzie was from the crofting village of Sconser and began climbing the Cuillin range at the age of ten, going on to become the first native Scot to become a professional mountain guide.

He met Prof Collie, an internationally renowned scientist and mountain expert, in Skye, and the pair formed a climbing partnership and friendship that spanned more than half a century.

Finance secretary and local MSP Kate Forbes praised the heritage group for its efforts.

She said: “This is an incredible feat of fundraising. It is amazing to see that the Collie Mackenzie Heritage Group have finally fundraised their target to build a monument.

“The project team have never given up, even when the fundraising target seemed far beyond their reach.

“Their persistence has paid off, finally, and this monument will be erected in honour of Professor Norman Collie and John Mackenzie.”

Skye councillor John Finlayson said: “Members of the steering group should be congratulated on their dogged determination to get to this stage and I really appreciate the opportunity I had to be involved in the project at an early stage when I was a head teacher and also to be able to support the group in more recent times.

“I am sure, just like me, all those who have so kindly supported the group over the years cannot wait to see the impressive sculpture in place”

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