An 82-year-old said he was “ready and very excited” to cross the final peak in his mission to climb all of Scotland’s Munros.
Nick Gardner made headlines when he challenged himself to climb the country’s 282 highest peaks since his wife Janet, 84, was moved to a care home after developing Alzheimer’s disease and osteoporosis.
The grandfather of four, from Gairloch, in North West Scotland, set off into the hills in July 2020 to begin his impressive feat.
Now, just over two years later, he is set to embark on the purchase of his last Munro – Cairn Gorm.
Speaking to the PA news agency ahead of Saturday’s climb, Mr Gardner said: “I’m really ready and excited about completing the final Munro leg.
“I really felt like a kid on Christmas eve.
“There will be a lot of my friends and some family joining me, so it’s going to be a big day.”
Having never climbed Munro before – a mountain in Scotland that reaches a minimum of 3,000ft (914.4m) – the former physics teacher will, by the end of his ordeal, climb more than 500,000ft (152,000m), the equivalent of scaling Mount Everest (8,848m) about 17 times, and walking a staggering 2,000 miles (3,218 km), a distance similar to hiking from Edinburgh to Greece .
Propagating his mission along the way, the experienced climber has raised more than £50,000 for Alzheimer’s Scotland and the Royal Osteoporosis Society.
Staff and volunteers from both charities will join him on the final climb, as will friends and his two daughters and four grandchildren.
A piper has been arranged to play at the top.
I imagine doing this final climb will be very emotional
One of his two daughters, Sally McKenzie, nominated him to the Guinness World Records for the oldest person to climb Munros.
Completing seven Munros in just the past 10 days, Mr. Gardner said he looks forward to resting his knee after having reached the final summit.
“The last three games in Knoydart that I made were very difficult,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we had bad weather for Ladhar Bheinn, so it was a bit more difficult.
“Because I celebrated this last day, and for everyone to join me, I just kept pushing through, and I did.
“I haven’t had any injuries, but my knees are definitely tired. It would be good to give them a break.”
Talking about how he feels hours after completing the epic challenge, he added: “It will probably be a climactic reaction at the end of it all.
“I imagine doing this last climb will be very emotional.”
Mr Gardner said he was “beaten up for six” when his wife, Janet, had to move into a care home.
Feeling on the verge of a mental breakdown, he said he needed to find a challenge to keep him going.
Always feeling at home on the slopes, he began to baggage all of Scotland’s Munros.
To donate to Mr. Gardner’s cause, visit www.justgiving.com/team/nicks-munro-challenge.
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https://www.newschainonline.com/news/climber-82-to-bag-final-peak-in-282-munro-challenge-286206 Climber, 82 years old, reaches the final peak in challenge 282 Munro