ian "Spike" Sykes MBE
MOUNTAIN CULTURE AMBASSADOR 2011
Ian Sykes is best known for his push for the development of the Nevis Range facilities on Aonach Mòr. He is also the founder of the Nevisport chain of shops.
A member of the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team, was appointed an MBE in 1990 for his services to sport and mountain rescue, is a relatively unsung hero of skiing, mountaineering and mountain rescue in Scotland.
His chain of Nevisport stores began with a ‘wee climbing shop’ in Fort William and eventually grew into a multi-million pound empire. He and some friends planned the Nevis Range ski centre, which has since celebrated its 25th anniversary year.
As a young man he was in the Mountain Rescue Section of the RAF when stationed at Kinloss. He was involved in numerous searches, from crashed planes to demanding civilian rescues. As a member of the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team he was involved in many challenging incidents including one in which the team was awarded the bronze medal from the Royal Humane Society for one particularly arduous rescue on Ben Nevis.
He also started Nevis Radio and has been an outdoor adventure instructor, a sled dog driver for the British Antarctic Survey, a suspected terrorist in Uruguay and, for many years, a committed climber all over the world, opening up many summer and winter climbs in the UK and South America.