Day 34 of the challenge has been a day of surprises and first time experiences. 6 miles and 1069 feet of surprises and experiences of the most pleasant kind as I climbed the Conic Hill from Balmaha with my cousin Anne.

It was a simple plan. Leave relatively early to give us plenty of light on the hill, relax, take it nice and easy and enjoy the day. I even took Georgie the dog out of retirement for such a short and simple route. We arrived and set off flyers folded and in the pocket and ready to go. It was a pleasant day, misty with low cloud and a very comfortable 12 degrees or so. We met one or two delightful people on the way up and sensing some interest handed out some flyers. Anne was most amused to hear my patter but also very perceptively identified how I seemed to physically lift as I spoke to such nice people and using the metaphor I have used before fed off of the positivity like a leach!! She was of course absolutely right. I get such buoyancy from positive energy and was on a feeding frenzy all the way up the hill!!

With Anne at the top of Conic Hill
With Anne at the peak of Conic Hill

On we went, Anne who at 67, was impressing me immensely as we ascended the steep and rocky path like mountain goats. Passing the handsome heard of highland cattle on the ridge line we approached the top of the hill from the ridge that ran like the spine of the Loch Ness monster hump after hump after hump we could see others on top of the hill and on summitting offered to help a delightful and really fun family with photographs who duly oblidged Anne and I with a photo and in taking a flyer with a promise to look up the challenge and see what I was so excited about. The family moved on and as they did Anne and I took a seat to enjoy the fleeting view of the highland boundary fault marked by a chain of islands through Loch Lomond while we had our lunch. And then the most incredible thing happened. Coming to the top of Conic Hill was a clearly cheerful and happy group of 8 to 9 people celebrating the fact that they had got to the top. In fact they demonstrated such exuberance and positivity on reaching the top that I had to put down my sandwich and instead go and feed on their positive energy while recruiting more supporters for the challenge. Wow – I got far more than I had bargained for and parted their company with a deep inner peace and a hugely contented smile of disbelieve and inner giggle. This group was out for a walk and had come from the Glasgowelin church. I introduced myself, handed over a flyer and quickly became immersed in the bosom of human kindness as I explained my story and what I was trying to do about it. I was becoming overwhelmed with emotion and before I knew it they asked if they could pray for me. I answered yes please – I’d love that and when asked if there was anything in particular I would like them to pray with me for I answered simply that the path on which I had been guided in the form of the challenge delivers as much good as it can, to as many people as it can, in as many ways as it can for as long as ever I can. On the top of the hill, the misty cloud whisping it’s way around us, the gentle calls of the sheep and cattle in the distance I found myself with 8 or 9 hands resting on me and with heads bowed I was immersed in to the deeply healing and fortifying bath of human kindness as this group brought all the energy they could muster in to their prayer for my healing and the success of the challenge in helping others. I felt the power of that prayer and as they finished and hands were lifted I felt a faint whoosh of air up over my body from foot to head and upwards like I had just stood on an air shaft. I tingled all over with a warm happiness and a feeling that a weight had been lifted and thought that only I had felt that whoosh of air until I found another hand back on my arm as I stared in to the deep brown eyes of this young woman praying that I might find peace and strength in God’s hands. My goodness it was a hugely emotional yet powerful experience that has definitely helped me for which I thank Carole and the amazing group from the Glasgowelin church. Later Anne was telling me that another couple of groups that had reached the top of the hill while I was deep in conversation were hugely aware of the moment at which we joined together in prayer and observed in respectful silence. I hope they too felt the power of that prayer and received whatever comfort they may have needed from it too. We parted company with Carole and her team but only after huge hugs for each and every member man or woman and only after receiving a genuine invitation to attend a birthday party on the 17th Oct. Guys – If you still want me – I’m coming and really looking forward to seeing you all again. I have never been prayed for on top of a hill before but found it to be a hugely enriching experience. Thank you.

Looking out over Loch Ness
Looking out over Loch Ness

Then just when we thought it couldn’t get any better as we rounded a bend in the track down the hill a lady with such a kind and gentle face remarked to us on the beauty of the view as she sat, a twinkle in her eye, and admired the vista in front with her friend. As I gazed at the patchwork quilt of fields glowing in their glorious coats of deep emerald and lime greens it reminded me of a perfect rural scene straight out of a colouring book I had as a child in which the blur and blending of the different colours of green of the fields was decided by the speed at which my green felt tip pens were running out. It was a glorious view and a wonderful memory remiss of wonderful times spent with my grandparents in the countryside for which I wanted to thank this gentle woman. I reached for my daysack and pulled out – yep – another flyer. She was as kind as her eyes suggested she would be – listened intently and as we parted promised to enjoy a glass of wine with her friend as she looked up the challenge on facebook before shouting our names at each other from back up the path. I am so very sorry that I have forgotten your name. I should have written it down with a memory like mine at the moment but I very much hope you find me and say Hi. Today has been amazing in so many ways. Thank you Anne, thank you Carole and your gang and thank you to all the delightful people we met on the hill today.

So the challenge in numbers in total since the start:
Days completed: 34
Total Miles Cycled: 130
Total Miles Walked: 142
Total Miles Run: 4
Total Miles covered under own steam: 276
Total Height Gained under own steam: 16,248 feet
Mountains Climbed: 5
Hills Climbed: 2
Days of Conservation Activity: 2 1/4
Organ tunes learnt and performed: 5
Salmon Caught: 0!
Curling Matches played in: 1
Curling stones placed on the button (the centre of the target): 0!
Weight Training Sessions: 2
People Met and Hands Shaken: 150
Pots of tea shared: 5
Prayers joined on the top of a hill: 1
Pills popped: 154
And most important of all – Money Raised as at Day 30- £2,267.00.

Considering I started this challenge 6 weeks ago very quietly with no target beyond a fiver, thanks to the brilliant advice from a friend of mine, I am absolutely thrilled and again thank you all. So far that is £75.00 for each and every day that I have managed to find the will and energy to do something worthwhile and my goodness it has been worth it for my peace of mind, for my healing and for the five wonderful charities you are supporting through your generosity. Long may it continue.

Thank you

Yours aye


Thank you for joining me on my own personal journey and encouraging me to walk, cycle, climb, paddle, sport and do good deeds each day to ‘Beat the Beast’ while helping to improve the lives and life chances of so many more people through sponsorship. The Five Charities that I have selected to support are:

  1. Cancer Research UK – My Father Succumbed to Lung Cancer; a couple of friends are currently fighting cancer and I am fighting a brain tumour. Let’s Help to Beat Cancer Sooner.
  2. The Prince’s Trust – Inspiring and preparing disadvantaged Young Lives for success.
  3. British Red Cross – helping those in need around the UK and the world whoever and wherever they are.
  4. World Wide Fund for Nature – For a Living Planet and a Future Where People and Nature Thrive.
  5. Help for Heroes – Support for our Wounded and their Families.

Thank you for having enough faith in me to sponsor me.

Yours aye