In the mid-1960S, relentlessly taunted by his opponents, Hoyle was a caged bird. Devious and envious colleagues, desperately searching for a final stitch-up, flapped and screeched at the gaudy parrot who had so much to say. They were blackbirds defending their territory. After Hoyle withdrew his resignation in October 1964, he still felt trapped by the pecking order in Cambridge politics. In an effort to free his mind of turmoil, he decided to graduate from hill walking in the Lake District to mountain climbing in the far-flung regions of the Scottish Highlands, 500 miles north of Cambridge. Here his mind could soar as a free spirit. The Scottish mountains are dangerous places, not to be explored alone under any circumstances, so he engaged the services of one Dick Cook, president of the Lake District Fell and Rock Climbing Club, whom he knew.
In spring 1965, they drove to Inverness, accompanied by a third climber, Norman Baggaley. A blizzard that blanketed the eastern Highlands in deep snow marked their arrival. Out west, the snow was not so bad, so, the following morning, they headed southwest along the already ploughed road through the Great Glen. After much skidding and sliding, Fred's Humber Hawk nosed along the shores of Loch Duich, which he had visited in the summer of 1935 on his first Highland hike. His mentor Dick Cook wanted a mountain he and Norman had not tried before.