First Munro at eighty-five

RECENTLY, well known Letham artist Charlie Hampton (85) mentioned to his son that he had a few things on a list that he wanted to do while he was still able.

One of the items on the list was to climb a Munro, a mountain over 914m in height, despite the fact Charlie is severely affected by arthritis in his ankles and joints.

His son was sceptical and tried to dissuade Charlie by saying this was one thing he should perhaps forget about as he was, at 85, possibly “past it”.

But this got Charlie’s “dander up” so he enlisted the help of friends who were keen hillwalkers and arrangements were soon in place for him to attempt his first Munro.

The Munro chosen was Carn Aosda, at 917m, as it is easily accessible and there is no long walk in to reach it.

Despite the discomfort in his ankles and with regular stops for a seat and a little assistance from his friends, Charlie finally reached the summit of Carn Aosda in the very respectable time of one hour and forty minutes.

A delighted Charlie took in the view from the top of his first Munro with a celebratory glass of champagne and reflected on his achievement.

After about 30 minutes on the summit, it was time for the descent.

The descent was the part that Charlie had not really been looking forward to as this was when the pain in his ankles would be at its worst.

He need not have worried though, as, unknown to him, arrangements had been made with Stewart Davidson of the Glenshee Ski Centre, for transport down.

A quick phone call was all it took and an all-terrain buggy was soon on its way up the mountain.

A relieved Charlie just had to endure a steep, 75 metre descent before he could climb aboard the ATV for the rest of the descent back down to the car park.

Charlie was soon joined by his ‘climbing’ companions at the bottom and everyone retired to the cafe for lunch.

Charlie wishes to say many thanks to everyone who made bagging his first Munro possible, especially the kind people at the Glenshee Ski Centre who got him safely and comfortably down the mountain.

This was a great achievement by Charlie and he is now looking forward to ‘ticking off’ the next thing on his list.

This just goes to show what is achievable with a will, enthusiasm and a little help from your friends.