Groups of eager climbers scaling Scotland’s tallest mountain for charity are an almost daily occurrence during summer months.
But one ascent planned for July next year will be noticeable for its lack of male participants. No Men Nevis is looking for 250 women to tackle Ben Nevis for one of central Scotland’s leading mental health charities.
The event to be staged on 17 July hopes to generate at least £25,000 for Falkirk District Association for Mental Health (FDAMH), which provides services across three local authority areas in the Central Belt.
Female participants from across the country are being urged to take part.
“A few years ago I lost a few friends to suicide,” said organiser Tommy Hamilton, a former Royal Scots Dragoon Guard from Denny, Stirlingshire.
“I knew from speaking to folk that people never really know where to turn when the pressure is on. They can be scared to ask friends or family for help. I had never heard about FDAMH, but when one of my best friends passed I did some research.
“I decided to do a hill walk in support of the charity with some friends and we raised £7000. The challenge was called the Yorkie boys – and as you can guess a lot of ladies I know were not impressed by the men-only tag, so I promised to do a female-only event in return.”
More than 200,000 people are estimated to climb Ben Nevis, near Fort William, each year. No previous climbing experience is required, just a level of fitness to cope with a strenuous but straightforward hike to the summit.
Professional guides will be on hand to lead the group up the mountain.
For Tommy, the most important part of the event is raising awareness of FDAMH and the vital work it and other similar organisations do in helping those with mental health issues.
“It’s important people know there is somewhere to go if they need help,” he added.
“I think pressure on young people in today’s world can be too much for some, and we’ve also got ex-forces living across Scotland that need support with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I hope people sign up as the extra awareness of FDAMH could save someone’s life. I know after the last walk two people contacted me to say thanks as they had never came across them before. If it wasn’t for the walk they’d never have know they were there to help”
Registration for the event is £20 and includes a free t-shirt. For information, visit the FDAMH walk page.