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Figurehead environmental campaigner, Dave Morris, wins top mountain award

Organisers of The Fort William Mountain Festival are pleased to announce that Scottish environmental campaigner Dave Morris is the thirteenth recipient of the Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture, sponsored by JAHAMA Highland Estates.

Nominated by the public and his peers as a mountain hero who celebrates achievement, accomplishment and the spirit of adventure, Dave joins previous esteemed winners including Colin Prior, Andy Nisbet, Dr Adam Watson, Jimmy Marshall, Myrtle Simpson, Ian Sykes, and Dr Hamish MacInnes in the Excellence in Mountain Culture Hall of Fame.

Dave Morris has devoted most of his life to protecting and promoting access to the wild landscapes of Scotland. From the Lurchers Gully enquiry in the 1980’s to masterminding the whole campaign for access in Scotland prior to the publication of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, he has been a stalwart figurehead environmental campaigner.  Without his painstaking work over many years, the country would not enjoy the world leading access legislation that so many take benefit from today.

As a director of Ramblers Scotland for many years he made great use of the media to persuade politicians, landowners and the general public to see the enormous benefit our wild landscapes give us. On his retirement from this post in 2014, well known outdoor writer Cameron McNeish [winner of Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture 2018] described Dave Morris as the ‘closest thing we have to a John Muir figure …, a wild-country champion who could lift up the eyes of an uncaring public and show them that in wildness lies the hope of the world’.

Dave Morris said: “I am delighted to accept this award, especially as it comes from one of the most prestigious outdoor activity film festivals in the world. At a time when environmental issues are centre stage for everyone, from individual citizens to politicians, it is really important that festivals like this are promoting public enjoyment of the outdoors and raising awareness of climate change and biodiversity challenges.

“This award also reflects the enormous contribution that many other people have made, in governments, voluntary organisations, and the private sector, as well as my own family, as we have worked on issues of concern. None of this would have been possible without some very broad shoulders to stand on and I am grateful for such steadfast support over many years.

“There is still much to do, as pressures on the earth’s environment are intense and increasing all the time. I look forward to helping the Fort William Mountain Festival on this arduous but rewarding journey. And I thank JAHAMA Highland Estates for their continuing sponsorship of this award and also Dave MacLeod for his skill and perseverance in producing an excellent film to accompany my award.” 

Dave Morris also represented the interests of Scotland on a world stage as the President of the Mountain Protection Commission of the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) for eight years.

He is a lifelong climber, skier, and hillwalker.  He has been an incredible source of inspiration in the last few years having battled with a Laryngectomy operation, due to throat cancer. Now breathing through a small hole in his throat, Dave has defiantly managed to climb to 20,000ft in the Himalayas, ski mountaineer in Alaska, and climb alpine rock routes in Norway.

JAHAMA Highland Estates’ Chief Operating Officer, Julia Stoddart said: “We are delighted once again to show our support for the Festival by sponsoring the Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture and congratulate this year’s winner Dave Morris, an outstanding recipient.

“A tireless campaigner for public access rights and for the environment, Dave is a seminal figure in the Scottish outdoor access world, and it is right that his dedication and commitment are recognised through the award. JAHAMA Highland Estates is an inspiring landscape that attracts access-takers of all kinds, and we fully support the right to responsible access as enshrined in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC), which owes so much to Dave’s work.

“The benefits of SOAC to the public have never been clearer than during the pandemic. Outdoor exercise has taken a central role in many people’s wellbeing during the past year, and JAHAMA continues to work with local stakeholders to ensure that recreation forms a key part of ‘building back better’ from Covid-19.”


Media Contacts:

Paddy Cuthbert | Littlehouse Media | E: [email protected]

M: +44 (0)7913 951717

Images attached: Dave Morris – Please credit Dave MacLeod

For hi res downloadable images go to

Please credit Dave MacLeod

Notes to Editors:

The Fort William Mountain Festival on digital:

Festival programme –

Festival Showreel 2021 –

Website –

Scottish Mountain Culture Awards –

Facebook –

Instagram –

Vimeo –

Hashtag – #fwmf2021

The Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture

The prestigious Scottish Awards for Excellence in Mountain Culture recognise the achievements and accomplishments of inspiring individuals and their outstanding contributions to Scotland’s outdoor culture, encompassing sport, theatre, art, photography, film and literature.

The award was set up in 2008 by the Highland Mountain Culture Association Ltd, organisers of the Fort William Mountain Festival.  The 2021 Award is sponsored by JAHAMA Highland Estates. The Youth Award, established in 2015, is sponsored by West Highland College UHI (School of Adventure Studies).

Previous Recipients of The Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture are:

2020 – Colin Prior

2019 – Noel Williams

2018 – Cameron McNeish

2017 – Dr Hamish Brown MBE

2016 – Mick Tighe

2015 – Robin Campbell

2014 – Andy Nisbet

2013 – Myrtle Simpson

2012 – Dr Adam Watson

2011 – Ian Sykes

2010 – Jimmy Marshall

2009 – Richard Else

2008 – Dr Hamish MacInnes

Previous Recipients of The Scottish Youth Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture are:

2020 – Tim Miller

2019 – Rob Cochrane

2018 – Shauna Coxsey

2017 – Robert Mackenzie

2016 – Natalie Berry

2015 – Zeki Basan

The Fort William Mountain Festival 2021 runs on-line from Wednesday 19 to Sunday 25 February 2021 –

Ticket pricing and viewing terms and conditions:

Ticket Prices

£10 per selected film category

£60 – Full Festival Pass: Includes all categories except for the BANFF Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour

£10 – BANFF Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour

Online Viewing terms and conditions

Tickets on sale, (on-line), from 0.00hrs (GMT) 19 February to 24.00hrs (GMT) 25 February 2021

Viewing period for selections, except BANFF Mountain Film Festival World Tour, is 30 days from time of purchase

BANFF Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour is NOT included in the Festival Pass

BANFF Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour conditions:

Tickets for sale (on-line) from 19th February to 25th February 2021

Viewing Period for BANFF Mountain Film Festival World Tour – 48 hours from time of purchase

Sponsors and supporters

The Fort William Mountain Festival 2021 programme is sponsored by Ellis Brigham, Patagonia, University of the Highlands and Islands, Lochaber Chamber of Commerce, JAHAMA Highland Estates and The John Muir Trust.

The Festival is also supported by the Nevis Landscape Partnership, The Outdoor Capital UK, the Highland Council. Rare Breed Productions, Abacus Mountain Guides, Nevis Range, Lamont Design, The Highland Cinema and the Highland Bookshop

The Highland Mountain Culture Association Limited

Festival organisers, The Highland Mountain Culture Association Limited, is a not-for-profit organisation, whose aim is to promote the understanding and appreciation of the world’s mountain places and people, by creating opportunities for people of all ages to share their mountain experiences, ideas and visions. To showcase these ideals, it stages annually a programme of events within the Lochaber area, called The Fort William Mountain Festival.

The Outdoor Capital of the UK

The Outdoor Capital of the UK is Lochaber Chamber of Commerce’s tourism brand, promoting adventure for all!  The Chamber publicises, sponsors, and promotes Fort William and Lochaber as the best place in the UK for everyone to experience the outdoors; with a view to developing local jobs and wealth and encouraging sustainable economic growth. This is done through a range of collaborative marketing initiatives and activities.  The organisation currently has a wide range of member businesses ranging from accommodation, food, drink, and activity providers to non-tourism focused businesses who support the aims of the Lochaber Chamber of Commerce and acknowledge that tourism is crucial to the local economy. Many of these businesses are SMEs and by pulling resources and working as a team the Lochaber Chamber of Commerce achieves the positive results that individually the members couldn’t otherwise reach. The Chamber also produces the Outdoor Capital of the UK website, the go-to site for local events, outdoor activities, and visitor accommodation in the area. /

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