Saturday 4th Sept/Sunday 5th Sept 2021
The last hill. Hill number 93 and it was Goatfell standing at 2866 feet. The hill (a Corbett) and Brodick Castle are both owned by The National Trust for Scotland.
It was an early start again in the morning so that I could call in to see folks in the Blackwaterfoot Lodge and in the Kinloch Hotel before meeting, as arranged, at The Wineport at the foot of the hill.
I was astounded, to see that around 75 friends and family had gathered for the occasion. So many people had put special arrangements in place to be there and it was little wonder that after all the planning, years of ticking off the assorted climbs and all the immense support, that I felt quite emotional.
Willie the piper saw us off at 11.00am on the dot and upwards we went. It’s a long slog to start with up through the woods then over open hillside. You just know that it’s going to get steeper and harder. The climbers spread out with the keen beans pushing on a little faster. Some climbers on their way back down knew of the challenge and made donations to the cause there and then. One girl even came running back up the hill to catch me!
We made the summit by 1.40pm. Pretty good going at comfortably under the three hours. Quite a crowd of us were gathered at the top. Sweaty bodies and lots of heavy breathing attracted the midges big time and out came the ‘Smidge’ and midgy nets. Who would have thought they’d be so vicious up there?! Great to see so many supporters on the summit for this last ’93Islandsofscotland’ hill climb.
As has become my tradition, I got a leg up onto the top of the trig point. Much cheering and celebrating – now we just had to do it all in reverse which was demanding in its own way as the ridge was steep and the many boulders meant you had to take care with every step. No one wanted an accident at this stage of the game.
We were all safely back down at The Wineport by 4.10pm. Time to crack open the prosecco and enjoy the nibbles. What an opportunity for us all to have a real good chat. Before we knew it, it was time to get away and on to the next event – the party in the Shiskine Hall. However, not before I managed time to visit the gift shop where the owner was so tickled and impressed by the originality of the challenge that he kindly gave me a t-shirt with the ‘Goatfell Conqueror’ printed on it. Chuffed.
It was a quick turnaround after ‘The Wineport’ to make ready for the grand finale at the hall. Tables were put in place, food laid out and then we were all systems go.
We all had a fabulous evening. With Covid in mind, we had the doors and windows all open and if people so wished, they could be very close by with a few tables placed outside on a mild and pleasant evening.
The grandchildren did us proud as they entered whole heartedly into the games, music and dancing – as for that matter so did all the adults! Aimee, our niece, organised a ‘pass the parcel’ with a difference – the adults slipping back into childhood was plain to see. Elimination dances with Olympic and Island themes went down well. ‘Loch Lomond’ and ‘The Conga’ songs were stand out sing and dance alongs. Thanks to Robert Kennedy DJ for kindly supplying and presenting all the music for the night. Ian Lumsden and son Angus both said a word or two to mark the special occasion.
We wrapped up fairly sharply. It had been a long and physically demanding day. We were all tired and it wasn’t just the wee ones who needed their beds.
On Sunday morning there was a bit of sorting and tidying to be done before farewells to those who were heading off to the mainland. Time was spent with the family at Brodick beach where of course we had an obligatory ice cream. Our time together would be over in a blink and we would soon be seeing Kirsty and the family off on Monday at Glasgow Airport.
So that was it. All over. Just under £17,000 has been raised and it has been the most wonderful adventure shared with many lovely enthusiastic and supportive family and friends. Thank you all. Just a few more photos of our happy time …