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Film reveals legend's greatest challenge – to recover his memories


By Margaret Chrystall


DIRECTOR Robbie Fraser’s Final Ascent: The Legend Of Hamish Macinnes comes to Eden Court on Sunday, May 19 including a QnA with the director.

The cinema documentary is going on national release and it tells the story of the iconic Scottish mountaineer, inventor of the all-metal ice axe, author of the International Mountain Rescue Handbook, expedition leader, filmmaker and photographer.

The legend of Glencoe's Hamish MacInnes began early. At 16 he climbed the Matterhorn. At 17 he built his first motor car – from scratch. He attempted Everest in 1953 with his friend Johnny Cunningham, and almost stole the peak before Hillary and Tenzing.

As an explorer, expedition leader and engineer, he achieved world fame.

As inventor of the all metal ice axe, author of the International Mountain Rescue Handbook and founder of Glencoe Mountain Rescue he has been responsible for saving hundreds of lives, if not thousands.

Final Ascent: The Legend Of Hamish MacInnes comes to Eden Court on May 19.
Final Ascent: The Legend Of Hamish MacInnes comes to Eden Court on May 19.

But at the age of 84, he was institutionalised, suffering from delirium. After a spell in psychogeriatric detainment in hospital – when he made many escape attempts – he emerged to find his memory gone.

The film tells the story of his life and one of his greatest challenges, to recover his memories.

This is Robbie Fraser’s fifth feature film and the first to be screened in UK cinemas since his acclaimed biopic Hamish, the story of Scottish cultural icon Hamish Henderson.

Using a mixture of film and still images from Hamish Macinnes’ own archive plus sequences by renowned mountaineering cinematographer Keith Partridge, Final Ascent sees Hamish piece his life back together by looking at images of his past after he suffered complete memory loss.

Speaking ahead of the film’s release, director Robbie Fraser said: “The struggle many people have with mental health, no matter what age they are, can be like a personal Everest.

Hamish MacInnes, at the heart of movie Final Ascent.
Hamish MacInnes, at the heart of movie Final Ascent.

"The remarkable thing about Hamish MacInnes is that he has conquered both the outward challenge of the mountains and the inner struggle to get his mind back after a devastating illness.

“I'm delighted to be showing the film at SMHAFF and to be partnering with them and UK film distributor Cosmic Cat on the release.

Hamish's friend Michael Palin, director Robbie Fraser and Hamish MacInnes.
Hamish's friend Michael Palin, director Robbie Fraser and Hamish MacInnes.

“I hope the film finds a wide audience and that people who are going through difficult times are inspired by Hamish's example, and never give up.”

The film tours Scotland as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival (SMHAFF).

Final Ascent: The Legend of Hamish MacInnes will come to Eden Court Cinema on Sunday May 19 when the QnA with director Robbie Fraser will happen, then the film will run until Thursday, May 23.

https://eden-court.co.uk/event/final-ascent-the-legend-of-hamish-mac-innes



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