Drive a Model T up Ben Nevis? Now that really is summit else

IT was a feat that enthralled a generation of Scots – a gruelling and daring expedition which could have easily ended in tragedy.

Henry Alexander conquered Ben Nevis like no-one before or since – in a 20 horse-power Model T Ford.

Press reports of the Edinburgh man's feat highlighted the potentially fatal consequences of any slip by the driver.

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Now his remarkable stunt is to be recreated by the Model T Ford Register of Great Britain to mark the car's centenary.

The re-enactment of the 1911 expedition will be proudly attended by Mr Alexander's grandson, Mike Munro, from Newington.

Mr Munro, 62, has the photographs of his grandfather repeating the feat in 1928 – and is delighted part of the family's folklore is to be celebrated in such a way.

His granddad, who lived in Polton, was just 22 when he completed the Ben Nevis challenge, under the orders of his father, who ran the Alexanders of Edinburgh Ford dealership – which was believed to be the first of its kind in Scotland.

Mr Munro said: "His father pushed him into doing it. One of the jokes is that his father threatened to stop his pocket money if he didn't drive up Ben Nevis."

The Ben Nevis trek in the iconic Model T was a hugely successful publicity stunt to prove the reliability of the car.

It took six weeks to prepare the route for the challenge – with men working tirelessly to lay down a timber path right to the top of the summit for the car to travel along – and five days to complete.

The car would frequently sink axle-deep into the boggy ground and would have to be hauled out by rope. A newspaper report from the time said one false turn of the wheel would mean a fall that would have destroyed the car and killed the driver.

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Along with the re-creation of the 1911 challenge, the Model T Ford Register of Great Britain's is staging a parade through the streets of Edinburgh on Monday to mark its centenary. Almost 100 vehicles are set to drive through the city's streets, leaving from Charlotte Square at 1pm.

The drivers will then attend a civic reception, hosted by Lord Provost George Grubb, along with Mr Munro and his wife Norma.

The retired joiner said he was proud to be invited to take part in the events to celebrate his grandfather's exploits.

He said: "My mother was always talking about what my grandfather did. She was very proud of it, as of course am I. When they go back up Ben Nevis, I'll definitely be there."

But he insisted there was no way he would follow in his grandfather's footsteps. "The roads around Edinburgh are enough of a challenge for me," he joked.

The parade through Edinburgh will mark the start of a week-long rally of the Model T, which is taking place mainly in the Borders and has attracted entries from Sweden, France, Holland, Poland, Ireland and the US.

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