INTREPID fundraisers battled the weather during a mountain climbing challenge to raise £10,000 so far in aid of dementia sufferers.
The group of 24 friends, mostly from Ross-shire, used the North Coast 500 as the basis for their event to benefit the Alzheimer Scotland charity.
While 18 of the group set out to climb five Munros along the route, the other six acted as drivers, ferrying them from one hill to the next.
Organiser Andrew Barnett, from Maryburgh, described how things went.
He said: “Unfortunately the weather wasn’t kind and from our first hill, Fionn Bheinn, near Achnasheen, we were walking in waterproofs over boggy terrain.
“There were no views from the top, but luckily several of the group had been up before in good weather, so they could describe what a beautiful view we were missing.
“A short drive down Glen Carron to our next hill, Moruisg, saw the waterproofs on again and the hill certainly lived up to its Gaelic translation, ‘big water’.”
Back at their three transporter vans, the climbers were fuelled with cups of hot tea and coffee served up by the drivers.
Andy continued: “With a change of clothes and some food we were off to Torridon via the beautiful Bealach na Ba, Applecross and Shieldaig.
“It was fortunately slightly drier now for the awesome task of climbing Liathach, with its two Munro summits.
“With team spirit shining through to keep our spirits up we summited together on Mullach an Rathain – the first of the Munros – two hours after starting.
“More view descriptions were provided at the top from the elder statesmen to help the first ascenders understand what magnificent scenery they were missing.
“Then it was off to Munro number three – Spidean a Choire Leith, the highest of our five – along the narrow and exposed ridge.
“A difficult descent followed on slippery rocks but we all arrived happily back to the base vans waiting in Glen Torridon.
“We were keen to get going, knowing a hot meal and drinks were waiting for us at Kinlochewe. It was just what the human batteries needed before the long drive to our final Munro – Ben Hope.” It was early morning and dark by the time the climbers started their ascent, lit by headtorches.
Andy said: “The wind was picking up, mist was rolling in and we knew rain was coming. We pressed on to the true summit after several false hopes along the way.”
Dawn was breaking as the climbers made their way down and the sun finally made an appearance.
After some well-earned rest, a celebration ceilidh at Marybank village hall rounded things off, where a further £800 was raised for Alzheimer Scotland.
More than £9000 has been donated through the group’s Just Giving page so far – well over the planned target.
n Anyone wishing to add to the total can do so through https:www.justgiving.com/fundraising/John-Clark42