Gemma and Calum’s Humanist Wedding on Buachaille Etive Mhor

Calum and Gemma got in touch with me way back in December 2015. They’d checked out my blog about Jo and Rob’s wedding on the Buachaille back in 2011, and as they said, “Oddly enough that exact route, Curved Ridge and mountain would be our first choice too.”

As you can tell from the photographs, they’re experienced mountaineers. More than that, they are expedition leaders, so over the intervening months, they contacted me from all kinds of remote places before we finally met up at the foot of the ben. 

It was a fair old walk. 

Whenever we stopped, the guests and I talked about why Gemma and Calum had chosen to be here, and for their English friends, I gave a bit of an insight into what makes humanist ceremonies so special.

As Calum and Gemma told me, “We are so happy to have a wedding day where we are doing everything that brought us together and everything that makes us who we are; being in the hills, climbing, van camping and a few pints down the Clachaig”.


They had a great group of friends with them, all of whom had come straight from their stag and hen do, where they kayaked down the Spey. 

And they had a great story to tell, involving adventures in many far off places, but in the end, they kept the ceremony very simple. 

The guests walked up with me, as Calum and Gemma tackled the North Gully and we met up at the summit.

As I said, “They’ve chosen this place to remind themselves of what brought them together and what keeps them together. Mountains are deeply rooted in their search for happiness and it seems only right that they would choose to be in the mountains for such an important occasion.”


They both gave readings that they’d kept secret from each other until that moment.

Calum chose a passage from WH Murray’s classic, ‘Mountaineering in Scotland’

Then they exchanged rings as they spoke their simple vows.

Now mountain weddings are all special but there was a particular magic about this one, because we had two visitors: a pair of ravens who, just as I started to speak, flew a parallel course on either side of the wedding party, before circling round, and landing at opposite ends to sit and listen to the ceremony.

Ravens were regarded as sacred in many cultures: to the ancient Greeks, they were the bird of Apollo, to the Scandinavians, they were bearers of wisdom, and to the Japanese, they were messengers of the gods. 


We were also blessed by the weather gods… 

I’ve never been able to sign the marriage schedule on top of a hill before!

My last words before we descended were these.

“Go now safely on your journey from this place as husband and wife, with the love and trust you promised today and the promise to continuously seek the adventure that burns in your souls.”

Gemma and Colin did precisely that. Last time I heard from them, they were leading an expedition in Oman, but they did eventually find the time to upload these great photographs and send me a note saying, “Thank you so much. It was a really memorable and beautiful day for us.”

And for me too!

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