Although immensely frustrated by the reckless degradation of wildlife habitats and the wider environment, Manning remains ‘a fan of the human species’ and is convinced that we can find a better balance with nature. “I always think of the words Plato ascribed to Socrates: ‘Without love there is no wisdom, only learning’ and we have to learn to love the natural world,” he says.
As well as their climbing achievements their story is one of an extraordinary 47 year friendship that defied the rigid class conventions of Victorian Britain. Despite their different backgrounds they were bound, like the rope that they slung between them, by a common love of Skye’s wildest places. Collie may have climbed in the Alps, Norway, the Himalayas and the Canadian Rockies but it was Skye and the memory of his friendship with Mackenzie that he would return to at the end his life.