Having been involved in the route planning for Archies mountain challenge, I was itching for the challenge to start and for us to get out into the hills. Unfortunately June 2015 had other ideas and unbelievably ice axes were still a required piece of kit for some of the summits.
I joined the challenge at a lovely cottage near Achnasheen. Arriving late, the girls were already sleeping, in preparation for a 4am start the following day. Having arrived with a car full of donated home baking, bikes, mountain stuff and whisky, we were all set for an adventure. The week before we were lucky enough to be visited for the first time by our one-year-old nephew, who had travelled all the way from New Zealand to visit us. However he brought with him norovirus and transferred it to me, just in time for the start of the Archies challenge. This meant that the first night in Achansheen involved more time sitting on the toilet than sleeping, so unfortunately I had to return home and temporarily abandon the challenge.
The Archie challenge wasn’t of course just about the mountains, the planning or the fundraising. The challenge became addictive, tracking the live updates that allowed us all to see where the rabbit was at any one time.
From a personal perspective the challenge was fantastic to be in involved in from beginning to end. I wish I could have done more days in the hills to help, but work and illness prevented that. I know this (maybe) going to form part of a book, but I couldn’t write a piece on the Archies challenge without thanking Dr Paul Fettes. Without him the challenge would never have happened and it has gone a long way towards funding a paediatric operating theatre for Dundee.
A record breaking human power relay over every Scottish mountain over 1KM high!
Having spent many evenings planning my segment of the Archies challenge, not to be able to make into the mountains was a huge disappointment. Fortunately Archies is longer than an ultra marathon, so I had the chance to finally pick up the Archie rabbit in Kintail. An early 4 am start was planned for the South Kintail ridge, Archie style, Sgurr an Lochain (1004m), Sgurr an Doire Leathain (1010m) and Aonach air Chrith (1021m). Russell Duncan started the leg off with a short bike from the campsite to the layby at the foot of the South Kintail ridge. So finally, along with Pete Ross I set off on an overcast but dry day. It was great to finally accompany Rabbie the Archie Rabbit into the hills and he was placed on the outside of the rucksack so he could get great views of the route that we were taking. Trying to keep up with Pete, who is far more used to two wheels was quite a challenge in itself. The weather was overcast, but not too wet as we wound our way up onto the ridge to tick off the relevant Archies. A quick three hills later and some video of the Archie Rabbit on the summit and we were on the way down to meet up with cyclist David Henderson. The, by now, well travelled Archie rabbit was transferred to the bike and his journey continued on to Kinloch Hourn and Knoydart.
The ARCHIE Foundation's Mountain Challenge