Saturday, 23 June 2012

23rd June 2012 - Soggy on the Ben


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!

4 comments:

  1. Fantastic support before the event with advice ranging from fitness training to kit to bring...anything at all you responded promptly..
    On the day you supported us and encouraged us when needed, your knowledge of the mountain environment is exceptional and of course the safety aspects.
    You chatted to us and we all had a good banter making some fantastic memories despite the weather, which will last long after the aching legs:)
    Thanks again Craig
    Helen

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  2. Hi Craig - I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for making our climb on Saturday a truly amazing and unforgettable experience. Your knowledge of the area, never ending enthusiasm, ability to rally us when we flagged and constant thoughts for our safety where truly incredible and inspiring. You are without a doubt a massive asset to the area and a credit to guiding in general. We are already planning a return visit to tackle some of the other peaks with you (oh and I need to return to tackle some of the haggis dishes you mentioned! haha)
    Thanks again my friend - look forward to seeing you soon. Mark

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  3. Hi Craig, A great big thanks from me! There are a number of things about this trip that I will remember forever but the main thing I will remember is you my friend. Very people focused, our safety and our enjoyment of the climb was your first concern along with sharing your vast knowledge of the area and history. Cant wait for our next challenge with you.
    All the Best and speak soon.
    Dave

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  4. Hi Craig just wanted to say a big thank you from me and my Mum for taking us up on Saturday. Not sure if my Mum will be going up again (!) but I would definitely like to take you up on your offer of tackling some more of Scotland's mountains and maybe even some winter climbing.

    Thanks again

    Sally and Jenny

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