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Day 88-89 'the last one'

29/30 June 2023 - Day 88/89


29 June – Rest Day

Durness Bay


30 June – The Final Munro – Total 282/282


Last camp next to Loch Hope below Ben Hope


Ben Hope – Hill of the Bay


This furthermost north Munro, Ben Hope, gets its name from the Norse – “hop” meaning bay. It lies between Loch Eriboll and the Kyle of Tongue to the north with Loch Hope immediately below it. In its elevated position, you can see Orkney on a clear day, let’s hope – eh.., not a pun – that Euan and family and friends can see the islands on June 30, the final day of Ch282. With the need to fix a final day some time in advance to give everyone advance notice of the big day, it did mean some rest time for Cr282 given the speedy completion of the final few Munros.

Even the rest day started at 7.00am with the van unable to have a long lie with body clocks so used to early starts. Euan and the commander remarked how more normal waking hours post Ch282 would require a little getting used to. Neil, Euan’s brother with some experience of being a deputy commander and walking companion, asked the commander how he would “reintegrate into society” once the challenge was over. The commander wondered what reintegration issues might arise – Would the infrequent use of showers be noticed at close quarters? Would people find a conversation dominated by Munros, the variation of cuckoo calls across Scotland and fostering singular socks be captivating at the dinner table? Would people find it rude if the commander prepared for bed by 9.30pm at the latest? Time will tell….

Before Cr282 left Durness campsite, a neighbouring camper approached the van to donate £20 to the challenge. He and his wife had read the logos on the van and wanted to support the cause. This was not a unique occurrence but heartening nevertheless. Cr282 made a visit to a neighbouring beach – one of many to choose from – to take a short hike to a cave marked on a map and also an excuse to cross the beach and stretch legs after some admin in the van during the morning. A parking spot near Ben Hope was reached later in the day before moving to Ben Hope itself early next morning at 7.30am.


Summit group


The campervan turned into a mobile food outlet as family and friends arrived after long drives north. The summit group left a little after 9.00am in what could be described as damp conditions as opposed to rain. That would come at the top. The route to the 927m summit was well worn with some rock and gravel at times. A fast pace was set as the forecast for the afternoon was less good. The images at the top fully justify the need to get up and down promptly but not before some celebrations were had. A small dram, hot tea and cake were all consumed after many photos were taken of happy faces despite the weather.

282/282 - Ben Hope summit


This was the culmination of 89 days of hard graft, supreme endurance and meticulous planning to complete challenge 282 successfully. Very well done, Euan.

The summit party retreated quickly to lower ground where conditions were much better and more hot drinks and cake were enjoyed at the carpark. A long 3 hour journey back to Elgin was promptly completed as a larger family and friends gathering was planned there as soon as Ben Hope had been bagged. Euan had prepared a photo slideshow of his excellent images of the challenge and these along with a few stories were much enjoyed along with more food and refreshments. Thanks to all for this feast.

At time of writing, £8186.90 + gift aid had been donated for the charities – St Mungo’s and the Samaritans - a substantial amount for these very worthwhile causes.

Ian, Euan and Hamish


The Editor has informed the commander that his contractual duties are at an end with this last blog and no formal period of notice will be necessary. The HR department cannot find the original contract for some reason. Communications between Euan and the commander will return to one of a family and social nature with the inevitable political discussion added regularly. The commander has many wonderful memories and experiences of challenge 282, some of which he has shared with blog readers, others stay in the van… Thanks, Euan for these great times. Your secrets are safe with me.

























Postscript


On his way home, the commander was alerted to an item on BBC Radio Scotland Out of Doors which Euan had submitted all about Challenge 282 which was well presented and received. Well done again!

(Apparently the commander got what he was told was a “shout out” in the item, whatever that is..)

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1 Comment


Allan Cheetham
Allan Cheetham
Jul 02, 2023

Congratulations on your fantastic efforts from your neighbours back in Braemar. We have followed your posts ever since.

Only question now is what are you going to do as an encore?

Allan & Janet

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