70 Munros Challenge
In 2 May 2015, the Right Reverend John Chalmers, the 2014-2015 Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and Rachel Hutcheson, National Youth Assembly Moderator, joined forces and led by example. On that date, which fell just before Christian Aid Week, they climbed the Munro, Ben Lomond, in support of the Christian Aid challenge, which aims to raise £70,000 to mark Christian Aid's 70th anniversary year. The Moderators were encouraging congregations to climb Scotland's mountains and in so doing raise funds for Christian Aid.
In answer to this challenge, several members of Mayfield Salisbury sought sponsorship and went climbing. Michael has climbed over 40 Munros this year and hopes to complete the magical 70! Douglas and Ian have climbed Ben More, Assynt and Conival. Jean, Catherine and Michael have climbed Ben Chonzie. Angus, Pennie, Catherine, David, Honey, Pamela, Jean, along with Sunny, from the Chinese Evangelical Church, conquered Ben Nevis.
They chose to head into the countryside for pleasure. They experienced the beauty of the Scottish mountains and glens, the rushing of sparkling fresh water, the cascading falls. They rested and took delight in the wild flowers: purple thyme, yellow bird’s-foot-trefoil, white eyebright. They climbed into the mist with snowdrifts at their feet.
At the summit of Ben Nevis, they found the war memorial with a tribute to the fallen of all nations in World War II and a declaration to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war which twice in a lifetime has brought sorrow to mankind: ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers’. An estimated 100,000 walkers per year, of all nationalities climb Ben Nevis and this memorial is the first thing they notice on reaching the top. The next thing that looms out of the mist there is the emergency refuge built to give shelter for those caught out in bad weather: peace and shelter at the top of the mountain.
They descended the mountains protected from bad weather by warm clothing, with plenty of food and water, secure in the knowledge that friends and family were waiting to welcome them home. They found support and fellowship along the way. They had a sense of achievement at the end of the day.
Their experiences were so so different from those whose homes have been devastated by earthquake or floods, like those in Nepal. They were not fleeing for their lives. They have not been bombed out of their homes like those in Syria. They did not walk miles and brave the open seas looking for the ‘Promised Land’ only to find makeshift camps, barbed wire fences and hostility.
So thank you, Christian Aid, for all the work that you do in the fight against poverty, injustice and inequality. And thank you to everyone at Mayfield Salisbury and beyond who sponsored our climbers with such generous donations.