10-yr old Ben Fleetwood, from Garnett Bridge, near Kendal, UK has not only climbed all 283 of Scotland’s Munros, but as his warm-up campaign for this amazing feat, he climbed all 214 of the Wainwright hills in the Lake District which he had completed before his 6th birthday!!!
I have written on the Munros several times before, but a brief reminder is that the criteria to being a Munro is height – the hill/mountain must be more than 3,000 ft or 914 m and must not regarded as a separate mountain.
Ben and his father, John, climbed all 283 in just over 3 years in all kinds of wild Scottish weather – thick fog, 70 mph winds, deep snow and, when they were lucky, beautiful clear sunny days. 82 of the Tops they climbed in snow. On one day alone they climbed nine peaks in the Mamores, which lie between Loch Leven and Glen Nevis.
He began his walk into the record books (for the second time) the day after his 6th birthday when he climbed the central Highland trio of Beinn na Lap, Chno Dearg and Stob Coire Sgriodain. He went on to tackle the Inaccessible Pinnacle on the Skye Cuillin Ridge, and completed Ben Lui by climbing ice in its central gully.
His comment after placing a stone at the peak of the final Munro? “It felt like, wow,” he said, but added “I’m excited to finish but not particularly to be the youngest.”
His father, 46, said: “The final climb was another tough one, as it was very wet and windy. We got to the top and had a celebration and I think Ben was quite pleased with himself. We had taken a stone from the sea and placed that at the summit and we took a stone from the summit, which we then placed in the sea.”
“My friends don’t understand what it takes, but I’ve learned the secret – you just have to keep on walking,” said Ben, whilst his proud father said “He’s very good at keeping going when we’re out walking. I’ve seen him walk his way through several pairs of boots. He walks in them until there are holes in the soles and they’ve completely fallen apart.”
But more than that. John Fleetwood is enormously proud of his young son and has thoroughly enjoyed the adventure. “This was something we could do together and I’m sure we’ll always remember it.”
It is unlikely that young Mr. Fleetwood will stop there. Although keen on playing the drums, creative writing and canoeing, climbing mountains is very much in his blood. Is there anything planned for the future? Maybe a few walks in the Alps now, says dad.
Enjoy the video. The happy burbling of Ben’s occasional conversation and exclamations says it all.
photo courtesy of John Fleetwood