William Sydney (Syd) Scroggie

1919 - 2006

Inspirational hill-walker, author and worthy. Born in Canada, Scroggie was brought to Dundee as a baby, his father having died of wounds received during the First World War. He was educated at John Watson's Institution (Edinburgh) and the Harris Academy (Dundee) before joining publisher D.C. Thomson, where he was employed as a sub-editor of The Hotspur comic. In the last months of World War II, while serving as an officer in Italy, he was injured by a mine and lost his right leg and the sight in both eyes. However, he learned Braille at St Dunstan's in London and studied for a time at New College, Oxford, before returning to Dundee, obtaining a position with NCR, where he spent the remainder of his career.

With good humour and determination he overcame his disabilities to return to his beloved hills, walking thousands of miles and making more than 600 blind climbs. Describing his blindness as 'a sort of adventure', he inspired many by refusing to let it limit his life. He taught himself Greek and became a published poet and author, with works including the book The Cairngorms: Scene and Unseen (1989) and a collection of his poems Give Me the Hills (1978).

Scroggie appeared on the television programme This is Your Life in 1964 and was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Dundee in 2001.

He died at his home in Bridgefoot (Angus). He is remembered by a cairn on Balluderon Hill in his beloved Sidlaw Hills. A rare honour for a living hill-walker, this was built in 2000, and Scroggie walked up the hill for the official unveiling, despite being aged 81 at the time.

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