On Saturday September 7th 2013, on our second annual climb to the summit of Ben Nevis, a brave team of LHS trekkers lead by Big Country singer Mike Peters, set off to conquer Ben Nevis on behalf of the Love Hope Strength Foundation…
“If at first you don’t succeed, try again:
Mist and rain you should not heed, try again;
When the clouds have rolled away,
And the sun holds glorious sway,
Climb the path without delay, come again,
All your labours he’ll repay – grand old Ben.”
The day began outside the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre at 4.30am which is located near the foot of the mountain at the start of the Ben Nevis Mountain Track (also known as The Tourist or Pony Route), which was our path to the summit. This early start followed a gentle get together the night before in a local hotel in Fort William for registration and team-bonding purposes.
There was also be an opportunity to sign up to the bone marrow register at the Love Hope Strength Desk, run by LHS Volunteers, Lydia Franklin & Anna, Dave Spragg, Andy Labrow, Steve Webster, Caroline Fraser & Brian Finnie…
The hike to the summit (4,409 feet), took approximately 4 hours. The early start has been recommended to us by the local authority to avoid the crowds that usually follow later in the day. (This year’s event also coincided with the Ben Nevis Race which started at 1300 hours at which point all walkers needed to give priority of way to the runners). As a show of Love Hope Strength solidarity the team wore articles of green clothing which is our visible colour of hope and well being. Green is the colour recommended to Mike when he consulted a faith healer after his first cancer diagnosis in 1995.
The green Love Hope Strength Flag) was carried by LHS team leader and Volunteer, Dave Spragg at the head of our walking group and the group made good progress on the ascent despite the brutal weather conditions on the summit… Mike grappled with his guitar on his back which turned into a sail! How everyone managed to stay on their feet was a miracle! Special thanks to Alarm fan and friend, Ade Parker, who transformed himself into Mike & Jules’ Sherpa as the conditions worsened towards the summit. Finally, the team made it to the top and the ruins of the old observatory building were dusted in snow!
The descent took around 3 hours and most of the team managed to descend by 1pm in time for a celebratory drink at the Glen Nevis Inn. The LHS trekkers were treated to a breathtaking rainbow as they made their descent, avoiding the many walkers now ascending the busy route. With a few hours for a bath and quick snooze, the team reassembled at 7pm back at the Fort William Hotel for a post climb ‘gathering’ of conversation and music. The evening was such a special time with the whole team, bonding over their achievement of the day. Mike treated everyone to a very personal acoustic concert, taking requests of all kinds and no-one really wanted the evening to stop…
Funds generated by the LHS Trekkers participation in Ben Nevis Rocks will go towards supporting cancer care in the Highlands and the Love Hope Strength ‘Get On The List’ bone marrow donor campaign.
On Sat, 14th September, Mike and Jules will be joined by over 150 trekkers to summit Snowdon. Here is a link to a TV segment on ‘Heno’ which aired this eve on S4C, featuring Family Peters conversing in Welsh and discussing the climb ahead http://www.s4c.co.uk
“Copa’r Wyddfa: yr ydych chwi, yma, Yn nes at y nefoedd / The summit of Snowdon: Here you are nearer to Heaven”.
Love hope and strength, September, 2013