282 Munros, A Chance Encounter and The Three Peak Challenge!

Pictured: Nick Gardner and Ross Hyslop.

Nick Gardner, 81, a retired teacher and keen mountaineer, was devastated by his wife’s move into full time care due to her declining health caused by Alzheimer’s and Osteoporosis.

No longer able to look after his beloved wife Janet, 83, Nick set himself a challenge to climb all of Scotland’s 282 Munros to both honour his wife and for his own mental health and well-being.

Nick explains:

“I couldn’t look after Janet anymore and I was so upset and it felt like life was over.

“I was absolutely bereft.

“I knew that I had to find a focus on something to give me a reason to get up each day, to give me back a sense of purpose, something that would last a long time.

“I needed a real challenge.

“Initially, the impetus was completely for my own benefit, my own mental health.

“Then, by chance I read an article about a daughter of an Alzheimer’s sufferer who had set out to walk and raise £10,000 to give back to the charity that had helped her mum and the idea was born.”

Setting out in August 2020, Nick originally chose a target to raise £10,000 and began climbing and chatting to people when he was hiking and on hearing his story they would hand him cash or make an online donation whilst with him.

Ten months in and 87 Munros complete, Nick has raised a whopping £26,355!

A chance encounter on his second Munro with mental health and addiction specialist, Ross Hyslop, 48, an advocate for getting into nature, cold water dips and mountain climbing.

Ross is currently setting up a new business, Scout and About which combines climbing Munros and camping out with counselling.

Ross explains:

“I was just so blown away with Nick.

“I am totally inspired by his quiet determination and his steady, strong pace.

“Nick has become a mentor and good friend.

“We regularly hook up for climbs and all of my team have completely fallen in love with him.

“He regularly gets recognised on climbs now and is generous with his advice and encouragement with novice climbers too.”

As part of Mental Health Awareness month, Nick and Ross are heading up a team of 20 climbers this weekend to do the Three Peak Challenge to boost Nick’s fundraising and smash his current target of £28,200!

Starting at Ben Nevis car park this Friday at 5pm, they will be climbing Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon within 24 hours to raise more money for Alzheimer’s Scotland and The Royal Osteoporosis Charity.

Nick says:

“Janet and I had 30 wonderful years together and the sadness I have felt has been overwhelming.

“I lost my soulmate.

“Losing Janet has been the biggest mountain I have had to climb.

“My 282 Munros challenge has given me a great focus.

“The Three Peak Challenge is to raise funds and awareness about what we can do to carry on and how to look after our mental health.

“I am so grateful for all the support and new friends I have made along the way.”

If you would like to make a donation to Nick’s fundraising please click here.

If you would like to join the team on their 24-hour challenge climbing Ben Nevis, Scaffel Pike and Snowdon, please arrive at Ben Nevis car park for a 5pm start.