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259 %
raised of £375 target
by 51 supporters
Eleanor (Elly) Clarke avatar
Eleanor (Elly) Clarke

Elly's Ben Nevis midnight challenge 2014 page

I'm hiking up Ben Nevis in the middle of the night for Macmillan Cancer Support because it'll be fun. Hopefully.

259 %
raised of £375 target
by 51 supporters

Macmillan Cancer Support

We give you the support you need to live life as fully as you can

Charity Registration No. 261017



Hello everyone, I did it! It was tough. But we were super lucky with the weather - not a raindrop fell for the whole 8 hours we were out.

Ben Nevis is the highest point in Scotland and the British Isles. Setting off at 10.15pm from the base at Fort William, and teaming up with a girl from Ireland/Edinburgh, teaming up on the snack eating, pacing, layer putting on and taking off, and the occasional photo taking (I took my Leica and my iPhone so it'll be a while before my film photos are ready), we reached the summit (at 1343 meters / 40,000 feet) in 3 hours and 14 minutes! Which, especially considering I was quite ill last month, felt, and still feels, like an extraordinary feat.

It was freezing at the top, and still very much middle of the night. Thick cloud surrounded us so despite the super moon which lit much of our trail on the way up, we could see only what our head torches could light, through the fog.

On the way down it was a bit more complicated, as someone had to be rescued by a helicopter. Under instructions of the mountain guide, we had to all turn off our head torches and wait, still very near the top, and very cold. And wait whilst the helicopter circled, and a search party of 4 shone their torches around before finally air lifting the person to safety.

At that point I had every layer on that I had carried.

After an hour and a half we were finally able to make our way onwards. I reached base camp at 5.45am. The dawn was breaking, so got a chance to see something of what I hadn't on the way up.

The moon was incredible that night. So many of the photos I took (some enclosed here) show that - and, unlike hiking a mountain in the day, where you are looking constantly at where you've come from, (down), at night your eyes are drawn to the sky, the clouds and the moon. On one part of the trail that was easier, I walked by the light of the moon alone, switching my head torch off, following my shadow.

The only way you could see the path ahead and below was from the trail of lights of people's torches, weaving their way up the mountain, like a vigil.

It was beautiful night and a great experience. Certainly a challenge. But the collective thing was also very moving. People talked about the people they were walking in memory of, and all sorts of other things.

A good Scottish breakfast awaited us at the bottom - then we were driven back to Glasgow.


I am very moved by the generosity of everyone for donating to this cause. It certainly helped me up the mountain (and down again)!. The money raised so far is more than enough to pay a MacMillan Nurse for a week - which is amazing.

I am still able to accept donations however until 9th September. Collectively this hike has raised so far £84,000. The target is £100,000. So any help still at this stage is most gratefully received.


I am also going to make a selection of 5 pix I took during the hike to print as limited editions, to be sold with 50% of the money going to the charity. This will be announced later this month.

THANK YOU so much for your support!

Elly xx

(Original message):

Hello one & all, 

Thanks for visiting my JustGiving page.

I'm doing this midnight Ben Nevis Hike to raise cash for MacMillan Cancer Support. Dad died of cancer in 1999, before he should have done. I still miss him. But more important than his death was his life. He was, among many other brilliant and wonderful things, (including being a truly fabulous dad to me & my sister Laura) a great and very passionate walker. He loved to climb mountains especially. We had several pretty rainy holidays in the North of England and a few in Scotland too, with mountains and very long walks a key part of them. And I'm pretty sure that Ben Nevis is one that he did, possibly probably, more than once. 

I tried to recruit friends to come with me, but no one could be persuaded. So I'm setting off on this venture by myself, though I know a fab group of fellow midnight walkers will be there too. And that's also a thing Dad loved to do - make new friends. So I'll follow in his footsteps on both accounts, hopefully. 

Detailed itinerary of the 2 days is here:

I am late in putting this message up, due to art things I've been doing lately. So if you are able to help in any way, however small your donation, I'd be most grateful. I need to raise a minimum of £375 to give to MacMillan, plus transport to Glasgow. 

Since Dad died before digital photography (! yes really) I have no digital images of him on my computer. So the pictures I am posting here are those he took during travels he did from the '50's to 80's, across a vast number of countries, between working in London as a lawyer. Many of these pictures feature mountains and all are part of a work I have shown alongside my stuff in a number of exhibitions over the past decade. Entitled Some Places I Have Never Been To, these 35mm slides were discovered only after he died:

Thank you so much for your help. Here's the official JustGiving blurb to quell any security fears you may have: Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.

So even if it's two quid, it'll help a lot! And will add metaphorical but effective fuel to my legs those last bits of the climb!



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