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Andy's Summer Challenge

Andy was one of 8 participants who joined our 2021 Mountain Adventure Programme and just 7 months later, in the summer of 2022, he took on a big challenge with big meaning...

When we first met Andy, we couldn't help but notice his enthusiasm for all things outdoors, he loved paddle sports, and exploring his local mountains on the Isle of Arran but had not yet had the opportunity or access to advance his skills and passion for climbing.

Just a few months after meeting Andy and spending a week climbing with him in the Cairngorms, we were amazed to see he had set himself a big goal for the summer of 2022.

In May 2022, Andy planned to take on a 170km run covering 30 Munros, over just four days. But it didn't end there, his wider plan was to complete a total of 60 Munros by July in memory of his dad James who died 4 years ago. Andy would reach his final summit on what would have been his dad's 60th birthday.

Andy raised over £1,200 for the Foundation in the hope to offer the same opportunities to other like-minded young people.

We caught up with Andy to hear more about his '60 for 60' challenge and what's next...

Tell us about your challenge and what inspired you to take it on.

The 30 Munro run which kickstarted the ‘60 for 60’ challenge (although ultimately the run didn’t go as planned) was about giving back to the Martin Moran Foundation for their work and the impact they made on me; I wanted to help someone else to have the opportunity given to me. ‘60 for 60’ was in memory of my dad and celebrating the passion for the hills that he passed onto me. The challenge also helped me have a bit of courage to start talking about my dad, something I struggled with a lot, which was silly as there were so many good memories on hills and moors.

How did you prepare? I prepared for ‘60 for 60’ with the obvious physical training - trail running, running the 4 Corbetts on Arran and route tinkering, especially when the run had finished as I was 15 Munros short of where I should have been. That got me thinking lots on my feet about how to catch up and also make progress for the challenge to finish by 30th July.

Who supported you during your challenge? Support outside the charity, whether it be company on the hills, reassurance, lifts, tips and advice came from friends, family, the two businesses I work for (Arran Active and Otter’s Tail), people I met on the hills and people who gave me a lift when I stuck my thumb out!

What have been your highlights and your most challenging moments?

Highlights were CMD Arrête, Ben Lawers 7, Ben Challum and all the Glencoe Munros but especially Aonach Eagach. These days either presented a good challenge or great views. CMD Arrête was a special day - I did it 4 years to the day after my dad had passed away so being on top of the Ben was a contrast to what was a really low point in my life. Not many negative days but sadly those are the ones that stick out, but I found the 2nd day of the run I did for the charity particaurly hard going, I had to skip 2 munros due to poor conditions and visibility. It felt quite isolating. The Tyndrum 4 was also quite hard. I had scaled a number of Munros that week to begin with, the route itself was tiring and the bealach between Ben Oss and Lui was a boggy slog! These two days are the only ones I think negatively of, which is amazing as they are quite a small proportion of the ‘60 for 60’ journey.

It’s been just over a year since you joined MMF in the Cairngorms, how has your experience helped you further your passion for adventure?

In my UCAS application form I openly mentioned the Martin Moran Foundation and how it was my crossroads, as until then I had wanted to study chemical engineering or something STEM based. I now have a place for Stirling University to study Environmental Geography with Outdoor Education so I’m really in debt, I feel, to the foundation for showing me that my passion for adventure can turn into a career. Talking to some of the instructors on the MMF course about which mountaineering qualifications and their various remits was really helpful as I only really knew about the Paddlesport world. Recently I went back to the Cairngorms - my first time back actually since the course - to climb the Slant, a grade 2 winter climb, and it was amazing to reflect on the year that all started with the Foundation and retracing some of the paths covered.

What’s next for your journey in the outdoors?

What’s next - my favourite question! 2023 is going be another step up, hopefully more climbing, running and kayaking. Early in the year I’m hoping to get out winter climbing as much as possible and get a really good season with plenty of experience. April is the start of a long kayaking journey; no route is set and I’m trying to keep it that way to maximise experience and really reinforce my skills as a kayaker and this will probably end mid to late May. At the moment I’m looking at trips for the summer so researching the Alps or Atlas Mountains, something that will supply some challenge and fun. Really keen to do the Cuillin Ridge next year as well.

In loving memory of James Bunting

You can still show Andy your support by clicking this link:

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