Cameron McNeish is a British wilderness hiker, backpacker and mountain walker who is an authority on outdoor pursuits. In this field he is best known as an author and broadcaster although he is also a magazine editor, lecturer and after dinner speaker as well as being an adviser to various outdoor organisations.
McNeish was brought up in the Glasgow area in Scotland and did much of his early walking as a youth in the Campsie Fells. As his confidence grew, he moved further afield to bigger mountains and his first Munro was Ben Lomond. For a number of years McNeish worked for the Scottish Youth Hostels Association as a warden and for a period ran the busy hostel at Aviemore, in his early years he also worked as a ski and climbing instructor. 1978 saw the publication of his first book, "Highland Ways" which was about backpacking in Scotland. In 1982 he started a weekly outdoor column in his local newspaper the Strathspey and Badenoch Herald called "McNeish at Large" and in the same year co-founded the outdoor magazine Footloose with two colleagues.
In the media
In 1985, he become editor of Climber and Rambler magazine, leaving in 1991 to become editor of TGO Magazine (formerly The Great Outdoors). Since 2010, he has been editor-at-large of TGO Magazine giving him more time to work on other projects. In 1999 he became outdoor correspondent of the Sunday Herald writing the weekly Peak Practice column. Throughout the late 1980s, McNeish contributed and wrote regularly for outdoor programmes on BBC Radio Scotland, in 1991 he scripted and hosted The Munro Challenge for BBC Radio 4 to celebrate 100 years of the Munro Tables. During this time Cameron was still writing books and the immensely popular The Munros Almanac and The Munros: Scotland’s Highest Mountains were released in the 1990s.
In 1994, McNeish moved into television, presenting the BAFTA-winning The Edge: One Hundred Years of Scottish Mountaineering and in the same year The Great Outdoors, a six-part series for Channel 4. His best known television work is the Wilderness Walks programmes that he made for BBC Two: the first series was broadcast in 1997 and the second in 1998. McNeish was a consultant and guest on the 2007 series Mountain. In the first programme he guides series presenter Griff Rhys Jones to the summit of Scotland's most northerly Munro, Ben Hope, in a snowstorm. He is also a regular contributor to the BBC Scotland series, The Adventure Show. After a break of a number of years from book writing, McNeish released "The Sutherland Trail: A Journey Through Scotland's North-west" in August 2009 in conjunction with award-winning photographer and film maker Richard Else. The book is a description of a week-long walking route through Sutherland, in the far north-west of Scotland.
Views on Renewable Energy and Wind Power
McNeish is opposed to the spread of wind farms in wilderness areas, with reasons for his opinions including the energy payback of turbines: "The environmental costs in creating the turbines, transporting the infrastructure, etc. is far greater than any carbon gas savings". He is also opposed to the development of turbines because their use means "Scottish tourism and the Scottish landscape are being sacrificed" []. He has also criticised alternative energy policy for being a "one-horse renewables programme that pushes large-scale wind farms to the virtual exclusion of other sources, such as tidal power and biomass" [].
Cameron McNeish has travelled in many of the remote places in the world having hiked, backpacked, skied and climbed in the Alps, the Pyrenees, Spain, Iceland, North America, Norway, Sweden, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Central America, Slovenia, Russia, Guatemala, Corsica, Jordan and Turkey. Despite this most of his walking is done in the Scottish Highlands collecting data for his newspaper columns and creating podcasts for his personal website []. Cameron completed his first round of the Scottish Munros in 1991 becoming Munroist no. 913, he completed his second round in 1996.
Cameron McNeish is president of the Backpackers club, vice-president of the Ramblers' Association in Scotland, chairman of the Nevis Partnership and a trustee of the Wilderness Foundation. He lives in Newtonmore with his wife.
Views on Scottish Independence
Cameron McNeish is a supporter of the YES campaign for an independent Scotland.
"I'm well aware that we are being warned not to get too emotional about independence but dammit, I'm going to get a little emotional. I love this country with a passion. I love its hills and mountains and lochs and coastlines, I love its culture and its music and its traditions, and I'm fed up with it being treated as a mere region, the Winterfell of Britain.
Let's go from here and tell our friends and our families, our workmates and our neighbours that Scotland can prosper as an independent country. Don't leave it to the politicians – they've got enough to do. It's up to us, you and me. As they say in the Nike advert – just do it…"
- Highland Ways, Newcastle upon Tyne: Kate Spencer Agency, 1978, ISBN 0-9506493-0-9
- The Spur Book Of Youth Hostelling, Bourne End: Spurbooks, 1978, ISBN 0-904978-98-2
- The Spur Master Guide To Snow Camping, Bourne End: Spurbooks, 1980, ISBN 0-904978-42-7
- Ski The Nordic Way, Milnthorpe: Cicerone, 1981, ISBN 0-902363-32-8
- Backpacker’s Scotland, London: Hale, 1982, ISBN 0-7091-9878-7
- Backpacker’s Manual, Oxford: Oxford Illustrated Press, 1984, ISBN 0-946609-01-2
- Northern Scotland (Lets Walk There), Poole: Javelin, 1987, ISBN 0-7137-1770-X
- Classic Walks In Scotland, Sparkford: Oxford Illustrated, c.1988, ISBN 1-85509-229-8 (with Roger Smith)
- The Book Of The Climbing Year, Wellingborough: Stephens, 1988, ISBN 1-85260-043-8 (Editor)
- The Best Hill Walking in Scotland, Moffat: Lochar, 1990, ISBN 0-948403-30-6
- Scotland (Walking in Britain), London: New Orchard, 1991, ISBN 1-85079-168-6 (with Atholl Innes)
- The Munro Almanac, Glasgow: Neil Wilson, 1991, ISBN 1-897784-39-2
- 25 Walks: The Trossachs, Edinburgh: H.M.S.O., 1994, ISBN 0-11-495166-7
- The Corbett Almanac, Glasgow: Neil Wilson, 1994, ISBN 1-897784-14-7
- The Edge, 100 Years of Scottish Mountaineering, London: BBC Books, 1994, ISBN 0-563-37084-X (with Richard Else)
- The Munros, Scotland's Highest Mountains, Edinburgh: Lomond Books, 1996, ISBN 1-900455-13-7
- Wilderness Walks, London: BBC Books, 1997, ISBN 0-563-37176-5
- More Wilderness Walks, London: BBC, 1998, ISBN 0-563-38450-6
- The Face: Six Great Climbing Adventures, London: BBC, 1998 (with Richard Else)
- Scotland’s 100 Best Walks, Edinburgh: Lomond Books, 1999, ISBN 0-947782-66-4
- The Wilderness World Of Cameron McNeish, Glasgow: Inn Pin, 2001, ISBN 1-903238-30-7
- The Sutherland Trail, (with Richard Else), Mountain Media, 2009, ISBN 0-9562957-0-3
- The Skye Trail: A Journey Through the Isle of Skye, (with Richard Else), Mountain Media, 2010, ISBN 0-95629-571-1
- "The Great Outdoors magazine | The UK's leading monthly hillwalking magazine". Tgomagazine.co.uk. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
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- Reference link dead = http://www.blencathra.net/quotes.php
- John Vidal. "John Vidal on the war against wind farms | Environment". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
- "Walk magazine – Ramblers". Walkmag.co.uk. 28 May 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
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- "'Don't leave this to the politicians. Independence is for all of us to win'". Yes Scotland. Retrieved 3 June 2014.