|The cloud shrouding the hills from the car park|
|Beginning the walk from Achintee|
|Visibility getting worse from the Red Burn and above|
|The team on the summit - cold, wet but exhilarated - Well done Helen, Dave, Mark, Tania, Jenny and Sally!|
|Dropping below the heaviest rain well below Half Way Lochan|
Today I was guiding a group of 6 from the Liverpool/Southport area for Nugent Care, a charity from the North of England who help a range of people, up the Ben. We have been arranging this trip for quite some time, so it was great to finally meet the team and get cracking up the mountain. We set off at 9am, with a weather forecast that could really be a bit of a hit or miss. As it turned out, it was a huge miss! From the Red Burn upwards, and almost all of the way back down it rained and drizzled, drizzled then rained. It didn't matter how waterproof your gear was, or what fabric you were showcasing, you were wet! Nonetheless the guys plodded on, determined to reach their goal of the summit, and their spirits were high the whole way up. The craic was top notch and it was great sharing the experience with such a lovely group of individuals taking time out to raise money and awareness for the needs of others.
We reached the summit at about 2pm, and qued up for a summit photo (I still haven't seen anything like this on any other mountain!). Visibility was only a few meters, but even still there was not a single moment of the day when I couldn't see another individual that was not in my group...
As always, the hoards of individuals trudging up, looking somewhat forlorn in their trainers, shorts and cagouls made for some interesting debates on mountain safety and equipment. The topics of conversation ranged far and wide, so no one was bored and it helped the trudge pass by all the quicker! Food, of course, was a prominent subject!
A few others from LMRT were on the Ben guiding or marshalling groups, as were Guy and Graham. I felt a bit sorry for poor Guy marshalling on the summit for hours on end - at least by moving we were pretending it wasn't so bad...
We got back down to the car park at around 6pm - a good time considering the poor conditions and the varied group members. Most importantly the team learned something, either about the environment, the local area or about themselves, and as we kept saying - its not about the destination, its about the journey!