Thursday 14th June 2018, 3:40pm
David Spooner has only recently become a Mountaineering Scotland member. Because from his teenage years right through his twenties he could only look at the mountains and dream. Disability through long term illness with ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome meant the mountains he could see from his home near Inverness were firmly out of bounds.
But David’s life changed massively eighteen months ago, when he recovered from his illness. Now, having fulfilled his longing to start climbing those mountains, he and a friend are taking on a charity challenge to raise funds for Samaritans, but climbing Ben Wyvis as many times as they can in 24 hours.
David said: “It's hard to express how much everything since my recovery has meant to me and to be in the position of strength and health that I am now quite literally feels like a dream come true.
“I found myself the proud owner of a thirty-something body that was no longer shackled in the way it had been. With the help of my friends and family I set about building up my strength and fitness, driven by a determination to achieve what I could and make the most of all that my home had to offer. I lost a huge amount of weight and gained strength I could only have dreamed of before. Within seven months I climbed my first Munro, Ben Wyvis, and have since climbed fifteen more.
“Now, I am returning to Ben Wyvis - my local mountain - with a colleague to raise money for a good cause: The Samaritans, a charity that exists to help others through their times of need in much the same way my friends and family helped me through mine. Not everyone is as lucky as I was, and The Samaritans are there 24 hours a day, seven days a week for those that need them.
“Our plan is simple: For 24 hours we will climb the mountain in relay. Having made a base camp, one of us will ascend while the other rests. As soon as the walker returns, the one who was resting will set off. We'll walk through the night, through the rain and through the midges; we won't stop until the timer hits 24 hours. Between us we hope to summit between six and eight times.”
David and his companion Matthew plan to fit their 24-hour effort into a window between 30th June and 2nd July.
Although donations are being taken locally, the pair’s employer, Scotmid, has set up a JustGiving page so that people further afield can support David’s challenge.