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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Ben Lomond 8 January

An alarm clock sounds early on the
morning of Sunday 8 January. Out-
side everything is still dark and
the thermometer reads -4 degrees. It must be the start of our expedition to bag the first Munro of 2006.
A few days earlier at the 150th anniversary launch event, Harvie Brown reminded us of his challenge to members to climb every one of Scotland’s 284 Munros (mountains over 3,000 feet) during 2006.
Our group met in the carpark at the foot of Ben Lomond, the most southerly Munro, at 10am. There were one or two nervous faces contemplating the climb ahead and the conditions close to the top. The bottom of the climb was lovely and bathed in sunshine, but as we proceeded up the mountain the paths became progressively icier and visibility reduced.
Three hours after setting off, the first ten members of the group, complete with a Faculty umbrella, reached the summit in time to experience a rare moment in the mountains. After enduring cloud and mist for several hours on the way up, the clouds below us parted to show the full extent of the climb and the beauty of Loch Lomond.
The remaining two members, Douglas Anderson and Peter Summers, arrived several hours later. They had agreed in advance that the challenge of climbing a Munro was too easy and consequently added in a 30-mile pre-climb cycle-ride for good measure. They chose this extended challenge on one of the shortest days of the year too.
The return journey was only marginally quicker. With the compacted snow and ice at the top of the mountain the path became even more dangerous. As our group gingerly inched down the side it was highly amusing to see a dog Sheila sprinting contentedly down the same terrain chasing a stick.
We retired to the bar some five hours after setting off to share personal tales of the more hair-raising parts of the walk and to reflect that our efforts raised more than £400 for our chosen charity, CHAS (see p42). The day was so enjoyable that everyone is keen to book a slot for their next mountain.
If you would like to climb a Munro or to see how others are doing, please follow the Munro-bagging link on the 150th anniversary microsite www.faculty150.org.uk. There is a prize available for the best photograph submitted by a Munro-bagger over the course of the year.
The fundraising aspect of this Munro-bagging challenge should not be forgotten. If we are able to raise £175 for each Munro bagged during the course of the year then our target of £50,000 will be achieved from this source alone. Our company agreed to match any sponsorship raised perhaps this might work for you too.
Finally, a word of caution. Scottish mountains can be dangerous places. The weather can change quickly. Please ensure you have the correct equipment are suitably experienced before undertaking a climb. With a few simple precautions you will no doubt have as much fun as we did.
See you up there!