Eileen scales new heights in Europe

Eileen and Liz with 'Team Virgin' on the summit of Mont Blanc.
Eileen and Liz with 'Team Virgin' on the summit of Mont Blanc.

FORFAR woman Eileen Jackson has left herself with a bit of a problem when it comes to scaling new heights - for she has recently conquered the highest peak in Europe.

Eileen (40) who works in the education department at Angus Council, has just returned from a once in a lifetime opportunity when she stood on “top of Europe” - and met Sir Richard Branson and Princess Beatrice in the process!

In what has been an incredible few weeks for Eileen, she continued her remarkable journey by completing the Great North Run on Sunday and is now looking forward to the Loch Ness Marathon on September 30.

Returning home to Forfar she contacted the Dispatch and Herald to describe her remarkable achievements.

She said “Myself and a group of five others set off to reach the summit of Mont Blanc (4,810 metres), (15,782 feet) on Friday, September 7 (with guides), after a week of acclimatisation training in Italy. For this we climbed the Gran Paradiso which is the seventh highest mountain in the Graian Alps, with an elevation of 4,061 metres, which is close to Mont Blanc on the nearby border with France.

“After a number of failed attempts of Mont Blanc by other groups earlier in the week due to high winds and blizzards the weather was in our favour being the best day of the season with blue skies, not a cloud around and not a puff of wind on the summit 4,810m up

“The scenery was amazing being the highest point in western Europe; it was like being on top of the world - an experience to be cherished forever!”

Based in Chamonix Eileen and her friend Liz started out from one of the huts part way up Mont Blanc at 4.30 in the morning, walking in pairs, reaching the summit at 12.15 - some 13 hours later.

She continued: “We left the Tete Rousse hut at 4.30am and whilst completing the climb was awesome it was also very special given that we bumped into ‘Team Virgin’ on route including Richard Branson and Princess Beatrice; they were also attempting the summit the same day.

“We had a chat with them, followed by a picture then a kiss from Richard but no free flight tickets though!

“They were helicoptered off the summit - how it is to be rich and famous!”

Eileen continued she and her friend Liz, from Cambridgeshire, didn’t do the climb for charity but were just a group of like-minded people who wanted to set themselves the challenge of climbing Mont Blanc.

She continued: “I had a week to recover on arrival home before the Great North Run on Sunday where I got a personal best of 1 hour 52 minutes 49 seconds. I think the week at altitude definitely helped.

“I now have the Loch Ness marathon to look forward to on September 30. I am a keen hillwalker and enjoy ski-ing and running. The conditions we had on the day were amazing, not a puff of wind.

“At the moment I am coming back down to earth but will be looking for another challenge!

“After I’ve done the Loch Ness marathon I think I will rest for all of October!”