The summit of Ben Lomond was illuminated on the evening of Saturday 16 September as dozens of hikers ascended the 974m peak in aid of the National Trust for Scotland and Lomond Mountain Rescue.
Seventy-five intrepid walkers – and one canine companion – took part in the Ben Lomond Torchlight Challenge, completing the twilight hike and raising £5000 (so far) for the two charities.
Under the expert guidance of National Trust for Scotland ranger staff and Mountain Rescue volunteers, the walkers reached the summit at 9pm, with torches and flames sending a signal out to the surrounding area. The challenge of descending by torchlight then began, with hikers successfully completing the walk around midnight.
Sixty per cent of the funds raised will be spent by the National Trust for Scotland at Ben Lomond on mountain conservation and footpath repair, and 40 per cent will be used by the Lomond Mountain Rescue to maintain its vital equipment and meet annual running costs.
Alasdair Eckersall, the Trust’s Property Manager at Ben Lomond and organiser of the event, said:
“This is our fourth year of running this event at Ben Lomond and is by far our biggest Torchlight Challenge so far, both in terms of number of hikers and amount raised. Ben Lomond’s name derives from a phrase meaning ‘beacon hill’, so in organising this experience we hope to have paid a bit of homage to this history whilst raising vital funds for the two causes.
“Footpath repair costs us over £15,000 a year just at Ben Lomond, so donations are vital if we are to continue our work of protecting this landscape. We are delighted with the success of this year’s event and would like to thank everyone who took part for their fundraising efforts and enthusiasm on the night.”
David Dodson, Team Leader for the Lomond Mountain Rescue, added:
“It was a great to be a part of Saturday’s event and as always we are very pleased to partner with the National Trust for Scotland at Ben Lomond. Our team, made up entirely of volunteers, relies on fundraising events like these and the generosity of individuals to help deliver our service on the mountains. Thank you to everyone involved and we look forward to next year’s event.”
In addition to Saturday’s event at Ben Lomond, fifty hikers tackled Goat Fell in a simultaneous event on the Isle of Arran. The signals from each group – 55 miles apart – were spotted by both sets of hikers, and Goat Fell’s event has so far raised an additional £3,000.
Ben Lomond has been in the care of Scotland’s largest conservation charity, the National Trust for Scotland, for more than 30 years.