The Gwynedd and Anglesey Autism and Aspergers Support Group (http://www.asperger-autismsupport.org.uk/ ) is a registered charity who in particular run a youth club for children with Aspergers, Autism, Dyspraxia as well as summer activities. I understand that the charity was lottery funded but this was no longer available. There have been some fund raising events, however when Callum heard that the funding for the youth club was being cut he decided that he wanted to do something about it.
He thought up the Callenge of climbing the highest mountain in Scotland – Ben Nevis, England – Scafell and Wales – Snowdon – somewhat foolishly I said yes no problem I’ll help. Callum had to do all the navigating in the car and also out on the mountains. we decided on the dates on 2 July for Ben Nevis, 3 July for Scafell and 4 July for Snowdon – Ysgol Friars where Callum goes to school were very supportive allowing time off school to complete the challenge and his teachers have also helped by donating.
1 July – glorious summer weather on the drive up to Fort William from North Wales – included a stop for a swim in Loch Lomond. The enormity of the task hit home when we saw the bulk of Ben Nevis looming up behind Fort William.
2 July – the weather forecast said rain showers in the afternoon. We we up and walking by 8am in clear but cool weather. By the time we were half way up the wind had started and by the summit is was a true Scottish Gale. We made it up in 4 hours. The rain came early and for the last hour and a half on the way down it poured down. With the wind and the rain it was really tough going but there were no whinges or moans. Ben Nevis is 1344m high and the path up is around 5 miles each way
3 July – Wasdale Head in the Lake District was clear – some mist high up. A little later to start today – by 8.30 we had our dry mountain clothes on but our boots were still soaking wet. We decided to take the shortest way up – via a gully called Mickledor – very steep, very wet from the day before and quite narrow – a proper mountain scramble. We made the summit by 11.30 but both found the descent really hard work. The summit was in cloud so Callum’s first challenge was to use the compass and map to navigate off to find the right path. By 3pm we were back in the car heading south.
4 July – After a good nights sleep at home we woke to wind and rain. The forecast was very poor for the day with strengthening winds and heavier rain. I suggested to Callum that we throw the day away and tackle Snowdon the following day. He refused point blank – the challenge is 3 Peaks in 3 days – so offer we went in our ski gear. We started at 10.00 and the conditions were awful. By 1pm we had made the summit – unfortunately the Cafe was closed so we sheltered in the entrance to have something to eat. 3 care workers were up on the summit at the same time and when they heard what Callum was doing had a whip round and handed him some cash for the Charity. On the way down we helped 2 older couples who had come up the miners track and just wanted to get down but felt it too dangerous to go back over the col and down the miners track. We showed them the way down via the train track and Llanberis Path.
Callum has raised over £2000 so far for the charity (www.justgiving.com/callumgilroy ), but for me the most impressive thing to come out of those few days was Callum’s determination and enthusiasm. We really did get battered but each day he got up and carried on – there was no moaning or groaning but he did say as we walked in to Llanberis ‘I’m glad it’s over that was hard’ Our dog – Pippin retired to bed for 24 hours!