Jim Craig BEM
It was in the early 70’s that Jim wandered into our times. A dark handsome devil with a twinkle in his eye he had a saturnine look to him. A natural leader Jim gave good service to the ethos of Mountain Rescue.
I was running the twenty-five man team at St Athan, my first team and blundering along not too bad. Like all teams, we socialised together and some memories are stronger than most. Jim and I shared a high-speed car crash when my newly purchased Frog-Eyed Sprite [30 minutes] left the road at almost 90 mph. Taking down several metal fence posts the car finally flipped over, the soft top vanishing as did Jim, coming to rest upside down with me underneath. He quickly raised one side of the bodywork and I emerged. We were both totally unhurt but my newly purchased car alas was a write-off. An ancient gentleman who had witnessed the accident rushed up out of breath concerned as to the wellbeing of the occupants. “Are they dead?” He exclaimed. It took us some time to convince him that we had been the occupants, and no, nobody was injured. Lucky? Don’t even mention it! As ever Jim took this in his stride with his usual laid back manner.
Jim was a ground engineer and did sterling work for myself and the team. Both on and off the camp. It was always useful to have an experienced engineer out in the field fixing vehicles and sundry equipment.
South Wales was our playground. A good and keen climber he excelled in all aspects of the hill and his record of service is second to none and this is amply covered in other articles. This is only a personal remembrance of someone who had earned the sobriquet of “A good troop”. At the breakup of his marriage Jim met up with June and they bonded together for the rest of Jim’s life.
Our next involvement was Leuchars, a big team and a wide area. Jim proved a fundamental individual to the running of the team, always a ‘part-timer’ he gave good service to all. Not least being ‘Best Man’ at my wedding in 1977.
A very competent mountaineer Jim went on to qualify as an IMC guide, a stiff examination required to achieve this status. He led many teams including Masirah, Stafford and Kinloss. He published a well received account of a Troop in Mountain Rescue in his book ‘The Path to Whensoever.’
Retiring with a well earned BEM, he and June went down to North Wales and I don’t think he ever left it again. He owned and managed the Fairy Falls Hotel in Trefriw, in the Conway Valley. And after that part ownership in the Post Office at Betwys-Y-Coed.
Our paths seldom crossed once I retired, a single visit to his hotel and a few years ago peak hunting in Snowdonia. Yet memories remain strong. Some faces I cannot recall but Jim’s, yes, forever. A friend and a good troop!