Images of the Year?
Gulls over Saviskail Bay March 2011
Springfield, Rousay, January 2012: from "Wild Garden" series.
Springfield by moonlight, 2010 December 17 at 21h 12m UT (JCV)
Above Mid Howe, Rousay. November 30 2010. (JCV)
IN THE CAIRNGORMS - photographs by the late John Redman Dyett M.P. S.
John Redman Dyett, M.P.S.
(1905? to 1970)
I first met John Dyett in 1961 at the Metropolitan Hospital, Kingsland Road, London E.8 where he was Chief Pharmacist at the time. I was engaged as a locum dispensing assistant in his department for a few weeks in the summer of that year.
From the outset we got on well. I soon discovered that John had a great love of music. We swapped tales of Bluthners (I had a Bluthner grand at the time and John had owned one in earlier days.) His great favourite was Chopin. The other interest we shared was hill walking. Every summer John would take his entire holiday allocation in one go (in June, I seem to remember) and spent it in the Cairngorms. He came from Ballater and used to stay there in order to be on hand for the Linn of Dee, his choice of entry into the massif.
John was close to being a chain smoker. It did not occur to us then that to be smoking in a pharmacy was an incongruence. He was a generous man, as I have indicated, and the number of times I both accepted and refused a cigarette from him I could not possibly count. The photographs in this collection invariably show him with the infernal rag between his fingers. (In the group on the summit of Ben Machdui all have fags on the go, except the one lady present!)
John’s smoking took its toll so that before he retired his walks into the mountains had to be severely curtailed. Eventually the smoking led to the death of him within a few months of his retirement. He got up one morning, coughed a bit, developed an embolism, and was gone.
It was John who first encouraged me to visit the Cairngorms, which I did twice in 1963 and 1964. When there was talk of opening up the area to ski traffic he passed the remark that the region was “big enough” to absorb the changes. He did not live to see the developments, which, in my opinion, contradict his assessment.
Whenever we got together after a period in these great mountains he would fetch out the album of photographs over which we would share our latest adventures. For John Cairn Toul was his “Sacred Mountain”. One of the photographs bears this inscription. He never showed any regrets at having smoked himself to a state of near incapacity so far as strenuous exercise was concerned. All the time I knew him I found these two poles at work, the one of hard work and resolve, the other of resignation.
John died in 1970. Assuming him to have retired at the age of sixty-five one must assume he would have been born about 1905. He was, therefore, straight form my parent’s generation. Indeed he met both my mother and father on a visit to their home at Brentwood some time in the mid-sixties. He first registered with the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (now the Royal Pharmaceutical Society) in July 1927.
I have had to be severely selective in the photographs I have included for this collection. The originals (all 243 of them) are all in sepia finish and, in the main, of good resolution and exposure. Unfortunately I have no idea what sort of camera John used. All the photographs are clearly dated with adequate captions, which has made my job much easier than it might otherwise have been. I feel this little book is the least I can do to record the life of a kind, talented and generous man for whom I had a great affection.
The "Eternal Snowbed" in the Garbh Corrie, Braeriach, early summer, 1937.
JRD (far right) at the summit of Ben Macdhui, early summer, 1937.