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Walking for Charity: Tackling the CMD Arete Trail

 

 

 

Earlier this year Steven Logan, Andre Bisson, Michael Collins and Hannah Watson embarked on a challenging charity trek along the knife-edge ridge, Carn Mor Dearg (CMD) Arete, located on the highest mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis. We’ve asked them to sum up their experience, and why they chose this classic, yet challenging route.

What was the skill level of the group?

 

Andre:

The skill level of the group was mixed, we had both beginners and seasoned hikers. I myself have climbed a few mountains, mostly in the Lake District such as Scafell Pike, Blencathra and High Raise.

 I got into hiking whilst doing Duke of Edinburgh in School, something I recommend to anyone.

Steven:

We had a very experienced climber, Pete Lambert to guide us and several members through our networking group, Shout, had walked Snowden last year. However, there was a couple of us who were very inexperienced, especially when it came to the scrambling and the heights.

Hannah:

The skill level of my group was made up of beginners who had put in a certain level of training to attempt the challenge, along with experienced hill walkers.

My father led our group, a highly experienced hill walker with a great knowledge of the Scottish mountains. The youngest on the team was my son, Joshua, aged 13.

 

Was there a common goal?

 

Hannah:

The teams common goal was to reach the summit of Ben Nevis via one the greatest ridge walks in the country, unquestionably the most enjoyable route on Ben Nevis which offers stunning views and physical challenges. 

Steven:

I think we all had the common goal of achieving the summit, however some were doing for charities close to our hearts. My brother and I chose Cystic Fibrosis, due to a close family friend being a suffering and Cancer Research.

Andre:

We all had our own - multiple goals and charities in the framework. I wanted to test myself and see how hard the first leg of The 3 Peaks Challenge would be to raise money in the future, for charity.

 

 

Why did you choose Ben Nevis?

 

 

Michael:

Having climbed Mount Snowdon previously, I very soon got the urge to raise more money for charity, and wanted to better my previous goal, via a more challenging setting.

Andre:

Because it's the highest mountain in the British Isles! I have always wanted to do it.

Steven:

Why not! ‘Ben’ is the biggest and hardest challenge, so if you are going challenge yourself then ’Ben’ is the one.

 

You decided to take the Carn Mor Dearg (CMD) Arete route, tell us all about it!

 

Michael:

An amazing route, which began once we split off from the tourists. The views were equivalent of looking at a filmset, with seemingly nobody around. A challenge, but a worthwhile one.

Steven:

To say ‘decided’ wouldn't really be the state of play due to the fact I didn't know or realise the difficulties which lay ahead.

Andre:

It was a formidable route and one I would recommend to anyone doing Ben Nevis, preferably with a guide as it can be hazardous.

 

What was the scariest moment?

 

Steven:

Reaching the Arete and seeing the other side. My legs gave way and I was very nearly sick!

Hannah:

The real fun began at the Arete! Where the ridge formed a narrow Arete of rounded blocks.  There was a well-worn path weaving below the rock steps but was more entertaining sticking to the true crest. 

Michael:

Reaching the ridge which joined onto our final ascent, and suffering from a frozen shoulder. This was a moment where I felt frozen to my current position, and had to lie flat to allow my shoulders to stretch. There was a sheer drop at either side of me, and this was a moment that I will never forget. Watching other walkers scrambling past me, made me regroup mentally and focus on achieving the task and getting mobile again with the help of my co worker.

How did it feel to reach the summit?

 

Hannah:

After ascending a steep path, we found ourselves on the summit plateau of Ben Nevis.

The views are incredible and by far the most eye catching of all views is that of the mighty North Face of Ben Nevis.

Michael:

Extremely emotional due to the hard work and effort I put into getting fit for the walk. A personal goal achieved. An opportunity to hold up some special 'Daddy' things given to me by my 6 year old Daughter. It was a bonding moment between myself and my work colleagues.

Steven:

Relieved, tired, emotional, proud.

Do you have anything to say to those out there reading this interview? Suggestions or handy tips?

 

Steven:

For those who don't think they can, you definitely can. If it takes doing it for charity for that extra motivation, do that, but please give it a go as you'll love the results at the end.

Luckily my brother was an experienced walker so he taped my feet up, applied blister pads, recommended where to Vaseline and what to wear. If you can follow an experienced leader, please do, but the best tip is to do it with people you like and trust!

Michael:

Make sure that you plan the trip. Be well prepared both physically but equally, if not more importantly, mentally also. Take the right kit with you. Travel light. And finally make sure you have an experienced walker with you. Also, make sure you try the water coming out of the various waterfalls - it is simply amazing quality and so tasty! To add to the experience, I would recommend camping at the foot of Ben Nevis, for those who wish to do so.

 

 

 

 

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