Highlands & Islands

Writer urges rethink on Savile's Glencoe holiday home

Cottage
Image caption A local councillor suggested last year that the cottage should be demolished to stop it becoming a target

Mountaineer, writer and broadcaster Cameron McNeish has challenged calls for Jimmy Savile's holiday home in Glencoe to be demolished.

Disgraced TV presenter Savile, who died in 2011, bought Allt Na Reigh in 1998.

But Mr McNeish said the property had played an important part in Scottish mountaineering history that should not be allowed to be overshadowed.

The cottage was home to leading mountaineer Hamish MacInnes during the 1960s and 1970s.

Mr McNeish told BBC Radio Scotland: "For me that house will always have associations with Hamish MacInnes, not only because Hamish is probably our greatest Scottish mountaineer.

Image caption Jimmy Savile bought the house in 1998

"At that house and the little adjoining workshop he invented some of the ice axes that have gone on to be the standard ice axes today, also tools used by mountain rescue teams."

He added: "That will always be Hamish MacInnes' house and will always have that mountaineering historical significance.

"It would be a shame if those mountaineering memories were swept up along with the tarnished memories of Jimmy Savile."

Mr McNeish said the property should be retained and put to use to the local community's benefit as a museum, mountaineering club hut or as a home for a local family.

It is thought Savile, who died aged 84, may have abused hundreds of young girls and some boys over a 40-year period.

The TV presenter and DJ, who was knighted in 1996, was a UK household name in the 1970s and 80s.

Last year, a councillor suggested demolishing Savile's Highland holiday home after it was vandalised for a third time.

Orange paint was sprayed onto exterior walls, stones were thrown at windows and "Jimmy the beast" was written on a wall.

Highland councillor Andrew Baxter said the local community might want the cottage to be pulled down.

He said the property sat in a prominent location in Glencoe, and there were growing concerns it had become the focus for the disgust people felt towards Savile.

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