Six pals with a passion for golf scaled the heights and enjoyed the round of a lifetime to raise money for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).
Peter McCullough, 62, John Moffett, 52, Gavin Wilcox, 35, Matt Straughan, 31, Neil Manley, 49, and Rob Cleary, 65, took their clubs to the top of Ben Nevis – the highest peak in the UK – and raised an incredible £6,405.
The intrepid friends are part of the Cambridgeshire-based Low Expectations Golf Society (LEGS) and their mountainous mission involved climbing 4,130 feet – carrying their clubs.
It was a case of fourth time lucky, having previously had to cancel their expedition in April 2020, September 2020 and April 2021 because of COVID.
“It was a great, fun thing to do,” said Peter, who opted to support EACH during his year as LEGS captain.
“They’re a brilliant bunch and were determined to get it done.
“Our guide has been climbing the mountain for years and said he’d never known anyone to play golf at the top before, so maybe it was a first. It would certainly be nice to think so.
“It was a total whim, having first had the idea over Christmas 2019.
“I said we needed to organise a special fundraising stunt and, from nowhere, came up with the idea of playing golf at the top of Ben Nevis.
“Obviously we couldn’t drive proper balls from the top so we came up with the idea of using special dissolvable ones. They’re eco-friendly and made of fish food.
“However, we were worried about the way it might look to people if they saw us blasting balls. They might have got the wrong idea!
“So we decided to just chip some balls, which we could pick up again.
“We took a whole bag of clubs, which we took in turns to carry.”
The LEGS teed off from the peak of Ben Nevis in early October. They flew from Luton to Glasgow and stayed in Fort William.
They initially raised just over £3,000 but more than doubled their total after completing the climb and making a snapshot film of the trip.
“Our society has raised money for EACH before,” said Peter, who lives in Woburn, Bedfordshire.
“It’s a very special cause and, while there are many other amazing ones out there, I was keen to support a children’s charity – especially one that’s local to the LEGS in East Anglia.
“For us, it’s one of the best and most worthy charities in the UK.
“We had a fantastic response from some spectacularly generous donors and we’ve still got an auction to come on 3rd December, so I’m hopeful we’ll take the total over £7,000.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we did something like the golf trip again, too.
“Everyone was saying afterwards ‘what shall we climb next?’
“We had some funny comments from people when they saw us carrying our bag of clubs.
“I think they thought there might be an actual golf club at the top!
“It was a real challenge and we certainly felt it afterwards, having used muscles we didn’t even know existed. It was like the ministry of silly walks for a few days!
“If anything, coming down was even harder as it rained heavily and the ground was slippery. We had to concentrate on every step and all of us fell at least once.
“The forecast was for heavy rain and it poured the day before. You could see the water rushing down the mountain.
“On the following morning it was fine, though. It was clear and mild and, if anything, we had to take layers off as we were over-dressed.”
It took the team four hours to climb the peak and another four to get back down.
John lives in Royston, Hertfordshire, Gavin in Wixams, Bedfordshire, Matt in Houghton Conquest, Bedfordshire, Neil in Buckden, Cambridgeshire, and Rob in Braintree, Essex.
If you would like to sponsor the golf-mad gang, head to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/legssociety