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Climbing Ben Nevis.

Rev Irene’s letter reminds me of a day in 1984.  It was my birthday in May, a very pleasant day, not too warm.  I had already decided that I was going up Ben Nevis that day as the weather forecast showed that conditions were right.  As such, I was on my own going up the mountain as I was not part of a group or anything.  However, there were literally dozens if not hundreds of people ascending that day.  For quite a lot of the way you can look down the tourist path and see other people coming up below.  At one point, I looked at the procession coming up and thought to myself that they were half an hour and more behind me.  Later on, I met people coming back down, their having been to the summit.  There was still an easy snow field to cross on the way, as is usual at that time of year.

Eventually, I came out onto the summit plateau.  The top of Ben Nevis is 4,413 feet above sea level.  There, perched on a cairn, singing away, was a snow bunting , a small mountain bird.  What a greeting to have!  It could not have been better.  I thought to myself that the Lord had given me a real birthday treat that day!  A number of times in my life I have felt that I was being given a very real and personal gift on my birthday from the one who knows each and every one of us.  That arrival on the top of Ben Nevis was something I really appreciated and was something which money could not buy.

Robert Swain.