Born on 6 July 1873 at Cupar in Fife, he was a senior Edinburgh lawyer, keen walker and climber and credited with the first traverse of the Aonach Eagach ridge in Glen Coe in 1898.
He, his brother, and his three sons were all lifelong members of the Scottish Mountaineering Club. One of the key figures in Scottish conservation and recreation bodies in the first half of the 20th century, he served on the Council of the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland and was one of the activists behind the formation of the National Trust for Scotland 1931. He gave long service to the Trust as its Law Agent and notably acted for the Trust in the purchase of the Glen Coe estate. He was also a long-serving Council member of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.
Between 1930 and 1932 he was President of the Scottish Mountaineering Club and became an honorary member. He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and was long active On top of all that he was Secretary and Treasurer of the Scottish Rights of Way Society from 1923 to 32.
The viewfinder on Allermuir in the Pentlands commemorates him.