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Last Updated: Friday, 7 July 2006, 11:01 GMT 12:01 UK
Veteran broadcaster Tom Weir dies
Tom Weir
Tom Weir was born in Glasgow (Pic. courtesy of STV)
The climber, writer and broadcaster Tom Weir has died at the age of 91.

He was a champion of Scotland's wild places and is best known for the long-running STV series Weir's Way, which started in the 1970s.

His wife Rhona, 86, said he died on Thursday afternoon at a nursing home in West Dunbartonshire.

Mr Weir was born in Springburn in Glasgow and was the brother of actress Molly Weir, known for her role in the 1980s children's TV show Rentaghost.

Mr Weir loved the great outdoors from youth and often caught the bus out of town with his mother to explore the Campsie Hills.

After service with the Royal Artillery in World War II, he worked for the Ordnance Survey before becoming a professional climber, writer and photographer.

In 1950 he was a member of the first post-war Himalayan expedition and climbed in Greenland, Iran, Syria and Kurdistan.

In a way this was a release for him because he had lost the power of his legs and couldn't go out and explore the outdoors he loved and lived for
Rhona Weir

But it was the hills of Scotland that made him famous.

He hosted Weir's Way, wearing his trademark woolly hat and Fair Isle jumper, exploring the landscape and history of Scotland and meeting people along the way.

The show recently attained cult status after STV began repeating it in the early hours of the morning.

Mrs Weir, a retired headteacher at Gartocharn Primary School, paid tribute to her husband of 47 years.

"He was a great man, my lifelong soulmate and I adored him," she said.

"His health had been failing and in a way this was a release for him because he had lost the power of his legs and couldn't go out and explore the outdoors he loved and lived for.

"Our marriage was a great partnership and it was based on complete trust of one another. I will miss him very much."

Tom Weir
Weir's Way explored the landscape and history (Pic. courtesy of STV)

Environmentalist Dr Adam Watson was a lifelong friend of Mr Weir's and met him while walking in the Cairngorms in 1947.

He said: "I was 17 when I met him and I was struck by him because he was such a confident all-round mountaineer and also had a great interest in natural history.

"He was a brilliant conversationalist. When he came into a room, he was a small man but he had a great confidence and a great look and people just stood listening to him.

"He had a great knack of speaking to total strangers and putting them at ease."

Mr Weir campaigned for the protection of the Scottish environment and received a John Muir Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 for his work.

He is also celebrated in the song Tom Weir written by Edinburgh musician Sandy Wright and performed by the band Aberfeldy.

Mr Weir's funeral will be held at Kilmaronock Parish Church next Friday at 1400 BST.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Watch tributes being paid to Tom Weir





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