A former SAS officer will lead a team of ten wheelchair users to the top of Britain’s highest mountain later this year.
Action man Ken Hames is recruiting volunteers to help with the ascent, which will involve getting the disabled mountaineers to the summit of Ben Nevis. Ten teams of six have already been enlisted, but more are needed to help the wheelchair users reach their charity target.
Hames is renowned for an expedition, broadcast in the BBC’s Beyond Boundaries, in which he lead a group of disabled people from the Mosquito Coast 300km across Nicaragua to the Pacific Ocean, passing through jungle, over mountains and live volcanoes.
He served 25 years in the British armed forces and was one of the last to guard the notorious Nazi Rudolf Hess in Berlin’s Spandau jail. He also devised challenges for the participants in I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here and has latterly earned a crust as a motivational speaker.
The wheelchair ascent of Ben Nevis will take place on 31 May this year and has attracted the support of Hamilton North MSP Michael McMahon who is urging his fellow Scottish parliamentarians to join the effort.
The Ben Nevis Challenge aims to raise at least £100,000 for two organisations, Capability Scotland and Scope, the cerebral palsy charity.
The John Muir Trust, custodian of Ben Nevis, urged caution. Chief executive Nigel Hawkins said the trust supported ‘responsible access’ to the mountain.
He told Scotland on Sunday: “There is a risk to anyone in going up Ben Nevis.
“Even at the end of May the weather can be fierce up there, as it can be at any time of year.
“The organisers must carry out a full risk assessment and then review it on the day. If the weather conditions are bad then they shouldn't necessarily push on to the top. It can be very confusing up there when the mists descend.”
Hames said a risk assessment had been carried out but organisers would ‘suck it and see’ on the day and set restrictions if weather conditions dictated.