Charity hikers make amends for Ben Nevis stunt

A SQUAD of charity hikers who sparked fury by fixing a bench to the summit of Ben Nevis are continuing to make amends for their “vandalism”.

The hikers sparked fury by cementing a bench to Ben Nevis' peak. Picture: Contributed
The hikers sparked fury by cementing a bench to Ben Nevis' peak. Picture: Contributed

The three fundraisers were unaware their stunt would provoke such outrage, but returned to the peak with a wheelie bin to clean up their mess.

The trio and other friends had sparked a furious reaction from conservationists when they cemented the bench on the mountain and left it behind with a big bag of rubbish.

But after returning to wheel away their rubbish and other litter they found on the way, the men decided they would raise more cash by wheeling the bin 410 miles from Glasgow to London.

This time they filled it with a tent and sleeping bags so they could take a rest on the way.

Glasgow-based Matt Blake, 20, and friends Jay Bell, 23, and Ramon Valenti, 24, both from Coatbridge, completed the trek in under one month.

Mr Blake, whose mother’s family is originally from Stornoway, said: “We went back up Ben Nevis and collected rubbish to prove a point, and this is where the idea for the latest challenge came from.

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“The reaction from everyone when they saw the wheelie bin was priceless, especially when we were having to get across motorways.

“There were a lot of ups and downs along the way. Some days it was very sore because we are not experienced walker.

“It was an amazing experience and we met a lot of amazing people.”

The trio’s first stunt was in aid of Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (Chas) while their latest fundraiser was for Robin House Children’s Hospice, which is part of Chas.

In June they had carried the bench to the top of Britain’s highest mountain, then encased the legs in cement to prevent it blowing away.

The stunt so infuriated one mountaineer that he sawed the bench into 27 pieces and carried it down the peak to dispose of it.

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Mountaineers and conservationists claimed cementing the bench to the summit was as bad as “fly-tipping”.

Mr Blake said at the time: “We didn’t realise leaving this bench would be considered litter. We apologise for any danger we caused people. We only ever had good intentions.

“We honestly can’t believe the harshness of some of the comments some people are making online and the private messages people are sending some of us.”

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