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Scottish Mountain Rescue ‘incredibly grateful’ for calendar fund-raiser

Charity's high praise for Alan Rowan's latest donation

Written by Fiona

December 21 2023

Scottish Mountain Rescue has praised Alan Rowan for his “amazing” donation following record sales of his latest Moonwalker Calendar.

Bill Glennie, the chair of the emergency rescue charity, says: “We are incredibly grateful to Alan and everyone who bought one of his Munro Moonwalker calendars for raising an amazing £2041.95 this year.

“This takes the total donated from the sale of his calendars over nine years to more than £6500.”

Alan, who has been producing the calendars depicting Scottish landscape photographs for nine years, also reveals he has sold a record number of 500 calendars this year.

The keen walker, journalist and author of several books, says: “Sales of my calendars have been stronger than ever this year and after selling a total of 500 I’ve been able to donate a record sum of more than £2000 to Scottish Mountain Rescue.”

The vital support of SMR

Scottish Mountain Rescue relies on highly trained volunteers, who give their time, effort and skill free of charge to respond to emergencies. 

Bill added: “Scottish Mountain Rescue is a vital free service for anyone who uses the outdoors in Scotland, but we rely on donations to fund three out of every five rescues.

“We want to say thank you so much to Alan for his continued support and helping to keep Scottish Mountain Rescue and our teams running.”

Idea for Moonwalker Calendars

It was in 2015 that Alan came up with the idea for a Moonwalker Calendar. He says: “The calendars came about as a bit of an afterthought. 

“A year earlier, I had taken a stand at the Dundee Mountain Film Festival to promote my first book, Moonwalker. My publishers had sent up a supply of 48 books, but by the end of the Friday night session they had been whittled down to a handful.

“By Saturday lunchtime, my stand was looking a bit bare with just a couple of books remaining and the busiest session yet to come.

“I ran along to Waterstones and bought every copy they had in stock – 13 – at full price, much to the amusement of the staff. By the end of the evening, I had just one copy on my table. Looking at the other stands, I realised I would have to have something more next time.”

To  supplement the books, Alan, who has completed four Munro rounds and a so-called “Full House”, had some Christmas cards printed and put together a calendar with a print run of 100. At the same time, he decided to hand over a percentage of sales to Scottish Mountain Rescue. In the first year, he donated £130.

Over the next two years, Alan slightly increased the print run and, then, in 2018, he made the calendar non-profit so that once the production cost was covered, every penny would go to SMR. 

He says: “Combined with a more ambitious print run, this proved a huge success with the amount handed over in 2019 rising three-fold to more than £600.

“Since then, the amount raised has grown year by year. In 2020, with the print run at 400, I handed over nearly £750 and, the following year, it was more than £930.”

But the 2022 calendar was almost the last print run. 

Alan reveals: “Last year, I had the usual 400 printed, but after having sent out more than half of them, it was noticed that despite rigorous earlier checking, a computer error at the printers meant the wrong grid of dates had been used. I had to order a swift reprint, replace all the sent orders and scrap the remainder. It was a lot of extra work.

“It all came good in the end and with all 400 were sold, I handed over a cheque just short of £1300, but the hassle made me wonder whether this was the right time to call a halt.

“The calendars do take a lot of time, effort and rising costs to produce, but I’m so pleased I decided to continue. “

Some of the fabulous photos included in the calendars.

Moonwalker calendar 2024

Alan was motivated to keep going and produce the 2024 calendar after he read reports of two mountain accidents that required huge time and resources in early 2023. Alan says: “It suddenly felt that printing and selling a few calendars was the least I could do. 

“The problems of the 2022 calendar were trivial compared to the hard work and dedication of all the volunteers in the Scottish Mountain Rescue teams.

“In addition, a trip to Skye in April and a a climb to the summit of Sgurr Alasdair to catch the sunset produced some sensational photos.”

Alan, who takes all the photos for the calendars himself during regular walks in Scotland, also increased the price of each calendar to £6 to greater costs.

He concludes: “When it comes to our rescue teams, the generosity of the public is incredible. That sum I was able to hand over recently included a lot of additional donations, plus the sale of second-hand books donated by members of the outdoors community.

“In total, over the years, I’ve sent £6,755.99 to Scottish Mountain Rescue and I am very happy with this.”

Find out more about Alan Rowan on his website.

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