An enthusiast for climbing the mountains of Scotland since an early age and having battled HIV/AIDS for the last twenty five years, it was a chance encounter in Piershill Library with a book, Guide to Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat by Gordon Wright (now long out of print) which inspired him to the challenge that would give purpose to his life again.
In it he found a list, Mountains Visible from Arthur’s Seat by CG Cash FRSGS, similar to the more famous Munro’s Table, but while the latter has achieved increasing fame, Caleb Cash’s list seemed to have been almost forgotten. He was intrigued and wanted to find out more about C.G.Cash. This pioneer mountaineer was born in Birmingham, became a teacher and after a few key jobs in rough areas of England, he came to Scotland in 1886. In 1891 he got a job at the Edinburgh Academy in Hamilton Place as Master of Geography and Music. Thanks to this move and a better salary he and his wife could afford going away and started exploring the North of Scotland and especially Aviemore and the Cairngorms. But Caleb Cash was much more than a mountaineer. He was also a geographer, an antiquarian, and a skilled navigator and put passion into all that he did. In 1898 he stood at the top of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh and looking at the horizon made a list of 20 mountains visible from its summit, from Ben Lomond in the west to Lochnagar in the east, all meticulously identified in their location in the form of Degrees West of North to their position in relation to famous landmarks on the Edinburgh skyline. And it is this long forgotten list of hills that fascinated Kellan MacInnes and captured his imagination. He dubbed the mountains The Arthurs and set out to climb all twenty of them, as a challenge to himself, a very private journey of conquest over personal despair.