Hitchin couple complete Highland challenge by climbing all 282 Munros – and raise £1,800 for charity
PUBLISHED: 08:32 06 September 2017 | UPDATED: 10:50 07 September 2017
A hardy Hitchin couple have completed a decade-long Highland odyssey by climbing all 282 of the Munros – raising nearly £1,800 for charity in the process.
Stuart and Celia Watson, aged 59 and 60, have been travelling to Scotland an average of three times annually for more than 10 years to climb each Munro – defined as a mountain in Scotland more than 3,000ft (915m) high.
They marked their 40th wedding anniversary on August 20 by summitting Ben More, on the Isle of Mull, and became certified ‘Munroists’ or ‘compleationists’ days later when they conquered Ben Lomond, on the east coast of Loch Lomond.
Stuart donned a Buchanan tartan kilt for the occasion in honour of his Scottish paternal family, with Celia wearing a scarf to match. They were accompanied for this final climb by 18 friends and relatives, including their daughter Shelley and her fiancé Rob.
Retired teacher Celia told the Comet: “It started cloudy with drizzle, but we had good visibility when we reached the summit and the sun came out. It was quite a warm day – amazing given the rain we’ve had here.
“Stuart and I climbed our first Munro in 1994 with our two children Shelley and Chris, when they were nine and 11. So Shelley climbed our first and last Munro with us – Chris was going to join us too but had to go away on business.
“Stuart and I did six other Munros between 1994 and 2006, before deciding to climb all of them – and that’s taken about 10 years.
“The journey has taken us all over the Highlands of Scotland, so we have seen the most spectacular and stunning scenery.
“We have often walked all day without seeing anyone. It has required a great deal of determination and effort to do them all, but we have loved every minute.
“We have walked in almost every type of weather. Our favourite walks have been in snow conditions, when the skies are clear – and we will still be coming back to Scotland to climb and walk.”
The family’s final climb has raised almost £1,800 for the Lake District Calvert Trust, where Rob works as an instructor and Celia volunteers – smashing the original fundraising target of £500.
The money will support the Calvert Trust’s work providing adventurous outdoor activities for children and adults living with disabilities.
If you’d like to donate to their fundraising, see justgiving.com/fundraising/celia-watson1.