(4,406 feet)

Melvyn Higson & Chris Gibbon at the summit

The notion to climb Ben Nevis was conceived in the lounge of the Royal British Legion Club at Walkden. Chris Gibbon and I sample their liquid refreshments every Wednesday night. Chris, who works for the North West Tourist Board, had heard of an organisation that raises money for research into Cystic Fibrosis. Apparently they transport you to Fort William in Scotland where you stay in a four star hotel, full board, for two nights. Sounded great! All you had to do was to arrange sponsorship of 170 and of course climb Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK.

Unfortunately, we missed the deadline date. After drowning our sorrows we decided to go it alone. Chris and I checked our diaries and picked a weekend when we both were free. I work most weekends so it had to fit into my work pattern. On Friday 4th October 1995 we set off to Fort William. Chris had booked us into the Alexandra & Milton Hotels (one night in each). We only made one stop en route so we made good time but as we pulled onto the hotel car park so did four coaches from Wigan. Yes, it was the sponsored party! Not only had we picked the same weekend but the same hotel. We quickly noticed that most of the sponsored climbers were only half our age, which really did become obvious on Saturday night.

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