Originally from Helensburgh, he was born on 3 July 1870. Widely regarded as the first person to complete the Munros in 1901, when he famously kissed the cairn of Meall Dearg on the Aonach Eagach, and only then kissed his wife! He was a keen cyclist as well as a walker.
He was a minister for the Church of Scotland initially in Edinburgh and Musselburgh, Braes of Rannoch (1907-18) and finally at the Astley Ainsley Hospital back in Edinburgh
Between 1930 and 1932 he was President of the Scottish Mountaineering Club and became an honorary member. He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and was long active with Royal Scottish Geographical Society.
He was a director (1923) and Chairman (1931) of the Scottish Rights of Way and Recreation Society and the first President of the Scottish Rights of Way Society Limited in 1946.
His pamphlet Old Tracks, Cross Country Routes and Coffin Roads in the North West Highlands was first published in 1941. In it he included the following exchange about himself: “‘You know too much, Mr Robertson’, said a well-known factor playfully to me one day in Inverness.‘What I would like to do to you is to stick a knife in your ribs and tumble you into a peat hole, and then all that information you have would perish with you.’ “
In his memory, a bridge was constructed over the Elchaig, to improve access to the Falls of Glomach. Although this bridge, just off the Coffin Route to Kintail is long-gone, his memorial could now be considered to be the Heritage Paths project which continues the work started by AER in collecting and sharing the stories of Scotland’s old tracks.
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