Yet another record was made yesterday – wheelchairs marching to the top of a mountain.
In an extreme race, eight teams of non-disabled people pushed specially-designed wheelchairs up Britain’s highest summit to raise cash for Scope and Capability Scotland.
Six groups made it to the top, with the winning team reaching the summit in five hours and 45 minutes. Each team, made up of 6 people, was directed to the summit by the wheelchair user. The winning group was team Lombard.
Ben Nevis is Britain’s highest peak at 1,344m (4,406ft). Attaining the summit is no mean feat…
In 1999, for example, there were 41 rescues and 4 fatalities on the mountain. Some accidents arise over difficulties in navigating to or from the summit especially in poor visibility and the ‘The Ben’ as the mountain is locally known, frequently has unusually poor weather conditions,
The problem stems from the fact that the summit plateau is roughly kidney shaped and surrounded by cliffs on three sides; the danger is particularly accentuated when the main path is obscured by snow. Snow can be found on the mountain almost all year round particularly on the north flank. Two precise compass bearings taken in succession are necessary to navigate from the summit cairn to the west flank, where a descent can be made on the Pony Track in relative safety.
Ex-SAS commando Ken Hames organised the race with the BBC for their series Beyond Boundaries. He has already led teams of disabled people through the Andes.
“A brilliant achievement”
Mr. Hames described the event, which began at 6 a.m., as “a brilliant achievement, “going on to say “the teams did fantastically well. We’re all knackered and can’t wait to get back down to get ourselves a well-deserved pint.”
Alan Dickson, chief executive of Capability Scotland, said it was hoped the race would raise £100,000, as well as changing society’s perceptions about disabled people by demonstrating that disability has no boundaries.
Ben Nevis conquered by wheelchairs on Saturday and on Tuesday we wait to see how Michael Fournier does – In the meantime I wonder what records will be blasted today and tomorrow…