I’ve re-written the article about David Hamil tonight, spending some time creating a more fitting tribute for my forthcoming book and utilising further information the family shared with me today. What an inspirational, incredible man David was.
David Hamil was born on 22nd May 1921. Educated at Stonefield Parish School (Ness’s) on Glasgow Road, he left school and worked in the coalmines in Blantyre.
As a young man, he was a keen cyclist and used to cycle from Blantyre to Dundee, just to go dancing! He was a member of the Cambuslang Cycle club and once cycled from Blantyre to Wales. His greatest cycling achievement was when he actually broke a British Record by cycling 25 miles in 1 hour 1 minute…only for somebody to beat it by 30 seconds the following week!
During the 1960’s he lived in a flat in High Blantyre, which sadly went on fire one day, leaving him homeless. He decided to squat in the local saw mill until the council could find him a new house. He then lived at Berkely Drive and indeed in Blantyre for all his life.
His active lifestyle continued when he took up golf and became a single handicap golfer, just one step from being professional. As a golfer, he took part in competitions all around the world and won many trophies.
Never one to rest, incredibly, at the age of 71, he took up hillwalking and by his 76th year had completed all 277 Munroes (mountains over 3,000 feet) including Ben Nevis. Then afterwards he completed all 219 Corbetts, which are mountains 2,500 feet and over.
The “Inaccessible Pinnacle” was a stubborn mountain which he conquered at the age of 72. He climbed every mountain in the UK over 3,000 feet. His wife Margaret and several children offered much support for all his accomplishments.
He retired from hillwalking at the ripe age of 84 but continued walking his dog Penny, every day.
David celebrated his 90th birthday in 2011, showing no sign of stopping by asking for a chainsaw as a birthday present to chop trees in his garden! He was a member of the Blantyre Hill Walking club, Blantyre Bowling Club and LBK 557 Masonic Lodge.
He certainly knew the key to long life and keeping fit and it was a shock to a neighbour to see him up on the roof, age 95 doing repairs!
Sadly, Davie passed away on Sunday 5th February 2017 just 3 months short of his 96th birthday. He walked for miles every day, even on the day he died, a determined and inspirational man. His funeral service took place on the following Monday at David Livingstone Memorial Church. He was funny and mischievous too and is still fondly missed by many people, of course the most by his dear family.
Words from the book, ‘Blantyre People” by Paul Veverka (c) 2020. Written for Blantyre Project with kind assistance from the Hamil family.