At the summit of Buachaille Etive Mòr, a Scottish peak more than 1,020 meters above sea level, 81-year-old Nick Gardner stops to look down the steep peaks, lakes and valleys visible through swinging clouds.
“It’s so exciting every time I still feel like a little boy,” he says. “I need my hat and gloves, and my windbreaker, but it’s absolutely magnificent. “I would rather be here than in a house with central heating.”
For Gardner, who moved with his wife Janet from suburban England to a remote corner of the Scottish Highlands at the age of 50, mountaineering has become more than just a boyhood dream.
Two years after Janet was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2018, a former teacher who also suffers from osteoporosis became so ill that she needed 24-hour care.
Gardner was devastated and decided he needed a challenge to help him cope.
“When she went to the hospital, I just did not know what to do. We are used to each other’s company all the time 24/7 for 30 years. “And then it suddenly disappeared,” he said.
“Doing this climb has enabled me to concentrate to some extent. I had to find something like this, otherwise I would have had mental health problems. I Know This”
The task he set for himself would be very challenging even for those in his middle age – to climb Scotland’s 282 ‘Munro’, or mountains over 1,000 feet[1,000 m]high, in 1,200 days. He has completed 87 so far.
In honor of Janet, he is raising money for the Alzheimer Scotland charities and the Royal Osteoporosis Society.
As for social media, he is also seeing his progress on Facebook and Instagram.
Many of the messages on his fundraising page, where he has raised more than ,000 30,000 from a target of ,000 40,000, are from people he has met in the mountains.
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