Skye climbers statue

SIR CHRIS BONNINGTON 20/2/17 World famous mountaineer, Sir Chris Bonington gave his support to the Collie and MacKenzie Heritage group, where he met committee mambers Hector and Morag Nicolson at the Fort William Mountain Festival. PICTURE IAIN FERGUSON, THE WRITE IMAGE

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A Skye-based heritage group is appealing for donations to fund a sculpture of two mountaineering legends at Sligachan.

The Collie MacKenzie Heritage Group is trying to get a sculpture of Norman Collie and John MacKenzie built overlooking the Cullin mountains.

John MacKenzie, 1856-1933, is recognised as the first British Alpine standard mountain guide and has Sgurr MhicCoinnich (MacKenzie’s peak) named after him.

Norman Collie, 1859-1942, measured heights of all the Cullins contributing to the mapping of the area and Sgurr Thormaid (Norman’s peak) is named after him.

The sculpture is to be 9ft tall and will stand on a stack of rocks with the men looking towards the mountains they climbed and mapped.

The group needs £110,000 to commission the sculpture and if they can raise half that amount they can get match funds for the remainder. They have already had donations and pledges towards this goal, but there is still a long way to go.

Morag Nicholson, chairwoman of the Collie MacKenzie Heritage Group, brought a scaled-down model of the planned statue to Fort William Mountain Festival to spread the word.

She said: ‘We’ve had a fantastic response at the festival. We feel we’ve brought the climbers back to the climbers.’

Sir Chris Bonington, who was speaking at the festival, said he would like to be at the unveiling of the sculpture and gave his endorsement to the project.

Mrs Nicholson said: ‘We are hoping to be able to give the artist the go-ahead by the end of the year.

‘It’s a local story and it’s brought out other local stories. We want the unveiling to reflect that with storytelling and photography and local artists getting involved. We’d also like to eventually get local guides taking people up the peaks named after MacKenzie and Collie.

‘Pupils of all 12 primary schools on Skye and Raasay, and the high school, have been involved so far and did projects on the climbers.’

For further information or to donate visit www.skyesculpture.wordpress.com