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Issue 56 - Challenging Ben

Scotland Magazine Issue 56
April 2011

 

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Challenging Ben

The Editor looks forward to an outdoor escapade

As things begin to defrost here after what has been a long and very cold winter my thoughts are starting to turn to the summer, and getting back into the great outdoors.

One highlight on my calendar, something I am greatly honoured to have been asked to be a part of, is the Bowmore Ben Nevis Challenge.

The event, supporting Capability Scotland, Scotland’s best known disability organisation, will see teams of disabled and non-disabled people work together to take on the challenge of scaling the UK’s highest peak.

And what a summit Ben Nevis offers. People have been taking on the Ben for generations now, and although it has a relatively 'easy' track to the top, this lump needs to be treated with great respect. People still die on this hill. However the teams and myself with be in excellent hands. The challenge will be guided by ex-SAS officer and TV Presenter Ken Hames.

All we can ask is that the Ben is kind to us and the weather is clement. I have to say I am so looking forward to the challenge. It has been a while since I have been released into the wild in Scotland.

Living in God's country, Norfolk in case you were not aware, I do miss the hills.

As a Northern boy, I grew up with my sky being framed by these silent giants, one of my favourite lies not to far from my family home, a little lump called Knowl Hill in Lancashire. The romance of wandering about on the moors, the pull of ancient places occupied my thoughts quite often. It was no different when I lived in Scotland looking across the Clyde to the rising Kilpatrick Hills. That yearn to escape and just be part of the landscape never leaves you. The tingling nervous feeling of standing looking up to a shrouded peak is second to none; a sense of our own place in the world.

There is nothing quite like clearing the head than a decent walk through some wonderful countryside and of course ending on, at that moment in time and as far as you are concerned, the roof of the world.

Part of the appeal of being out on the hills in Scotland lies in the changes in the light and the interaction with the landscape. Few things in life can really rival stepping out on a wakening day, making your own tracks, heading into hills and coming back at dusk to a welcoming dram by a roaring log fire.