The hills will be alive with the sound of music next week as a trio of classical musicians tackle a mountain challenge – complete with instruments.
The Extreme Cellists, a trio of Sheffield-based musicians, aim to put on performances on the highest peaks of each British nation, plus the Irish Republic.
The Extreme Cellists (above)
Photo: David Shapiro
Money raised will go to a spinal-injury charity and to mountain rescue.
The Extreme Cello Four Peaks Challenge starts on Monday, 21 July, with an ascent of Ben Nevis from the Glen Nevis youth hostel via the tourist track and zig zags. The musicians, each of whom will be carrying their own cellos to the summits, say fellow mountain lovers are welcome to join them to hear the musical renditions on each summit.
The Nevis concert will be followed by a similar jaunt up Scafell Pike, from Wasdale, on Thursday, 24 July. By Sunday, 27 July, the cellists should be hitting the Llanberis path up Snowdon and the following Wednesday, 30 July, marks their ascent of Carrauntoohil, at 1,038m (3,406ft), the highest point in Macgillycuddy’s Reeks and indeed the whole of the island of Ireland.
A spokesman said: “The Extreme Cellists will be undertaking their most physically demanding venture to date.
“We will be climbing the mountains from as close to sea level as is practical, carrying our own cellos, with support from a small number of assistants to help carry other equipment.”
The trio, Jeremy Dawson, Clare Wallace and James Rees were inspired to take up their unusual pastime after hearing about the sport of extreme ironing – which involves doing the ironing up trees, underwater and on the top of mountains. A short tour was their first adventure, involving Mam Tor, Blue John Cavern and the top of the Sheffield University Arts Tower among other venues.
Carraountoohil, last of the four mountains on the itinerary
In 2006, they played on the roofs of all of England’s 42 Anglican cathedrals. They have also played their cellos on every London street which features on the Monopoly board. The peak-bagging performances will add another string to the trio's bow.
The Extreme Cellists are keen to point out that audiences should be appropriately equipped and skilled if they want to attend their Four Peaks performances. They have also allotted spare days after each of the planned ascent dates in case extreme weather prevents their getting up the mountains.
Half of the money raised will go to Aspire, which helps the rehabilitation of people with spinal cord injuries. The other half will be split between mountain rescue organisations in Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland.
The group had hoped to perform at the new Hafod Eryri on the summit of Snowdon, but the building will not be completed in time for their challenge.