A tale of two mountains (Part 1 of 3)

Since February 2011 a group of Equatorites have been embarking on hill walks around Scotland to build up to the Ben Nevis climb for Neil’s Wheels charity.

Since February 2011 a group of Equatorites have been embarking on hill walks around Scotland to build up to the Ben Nevis climb for Neil's Wheels charity.

On Saturday 13th August, the intrepid Equator adventurers Brent, Sharon, Rose, Vickie, Laura B, Laura D, Kirsty, Nicola, Emma, Olivia, Beth and Laurent (joined by some friends) climbed UK's tallest mountain. At its heart, this is the tale of two mountains: Brent's mountain and the girls' mountain, a tale of misunderstandings, a tale of strength in the face of defeat and finally, a tale of the thriving metropolis that is Fort William.

The Girls' Mountain:

On Friday night, us girls rocked up to the hotel and the hot bar man checked us in to Faulty Towers, our fousty hotel from the 80s where we will be staying for the next two nights. Brent and friends had arrived at his campsite several hours before but there was no way us girls were slumming it without any electricity for two nights. We found the only bar still serving food but couldn't get a table till 10 o'clock so were left with nothing else to do than have a few drinks in the pub while we waited. We ended up in the bar downstairs where Nicola introduced us to the locals. At this point, some of us were getting a little more cheery than others.

Kindly, the sensible ones in the group tried to look out for the others by buying cokes instead of vodka and cokes. Their plan was foiled, however, by one team member who stomped up to the bar demanding two Malibu shots in her coke! We spent the night chatting to the locals, playing pool (Rose kicks the locals' buts!) and putting some tunes on the juke box (Beyonce, of course). For most of us, our night ends here but two party animals ended up in the local disco below our B&B!

Brent's Mountain:

I arrived with my London friends, Karl and Heather, at 5pm to set up the campsite and introduce the Londoner's to some hardy fish and chips in the square. We joined the girls at the pub and it was madness. As the girls played Beyonce on the juke box, they failed to notice the guitar man quietly strumming his guitar while the other patrons waited patiently for the live music to start.

The girls left for dinner at 10pm and the Londoners and I returned to the campsite under darkness. As we prepared for bed in our freshly laid tents, I noticed the craziest thing: a bright shining light on the mountain and then, suddenly, another and another and another appeared forming what seemed to be a moving snake. As I drew this to Londoner's attention, we notice there were another couple of moving lights much higher on the mountain. Then I realized it was crazy midnight walkers on the mountain!

We joked about doing the same tomorrow night but really hoped the hike would go without a problem. This is where things turned for the worst. As I got comfortable in my tent, I quickly reviewed the weather for the morning as we planned to start walking at 8.30 am. I noticed the weather would be better for a 9.30 start so, silly me, sent a text to who I thought was a responsible adult at 11.20pm, notifying the girls about the new meeting time of 9 am. I also sent the same text to Laurent at the French camp, and off I went to bed, switching my phone off to save the battery for GPS on the walk. ...