Sun­day school to ‘con­quer Ever­est’ in the High­lands

The Oban Times - - ANNOUNCEMENTS -

Youth Vestry, a youth group based at Kilmore Church on the Isle of Skye, is scal­ing the hills of north­ern Scot­land this sum­mer in their lat­est fundrais­ing ef­fort to ‘con­quer Ever­est’.

Youth Vestry was set up at Kilmore Church ear­lier this year to en­gage the older chil­dren within the ex­ist­ing Sun­day school group.

While look­ing into fundrais­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for the group, its leader Nicola Thom­son stum­bled across the Ever­est Any­where Chal­lenge – cre­ated by out­doors mag­a­zine Trail – which chal­lenges peo­ple to climb Ever­est’s tow­er­ing 8,848m wher­ever they are in the world.

Nicola said: ‘Archie, one of the Sun­day school team lead­ers, is an avid climber and saw the chal­lenge be­ing ad­ver­tised in a climb­ing mag­a­zine. We sug­gested it to the group and they were re­ally keen. And so the idea was born.

‘We wanted to make it some­thing quite re­ward­ing for them too and, hav­ing been to Aber­nethy my­self on a women’s weekend, I sug­gested we at­tend the Year of Young Peo­ple weekend at Aber­nethy Cen­tre in Oc­to­ber.

‘I think they will get a lot out of it and I re­mem­ber my­self from camps when I was younger – it was dur­ing these ses­sions in the morn­ings and evenings that I re­ally started to think about my own faith in depth.

‘So, that is the plan and we are hoping to raise £1,000 to cover the costs of at­tend­ing, with some left over to help re­fur­bish the Sun­day school room and do some­thing ex­cit­ing with them too.’

The group, which com­prises of five mem­bers (three girls and two boys), started their chal­lenge in June and hope to suc­cess­fully ‘con­quer Ever­est’ by Oc­to­ber.

‘Our first climb was just an easy 240m me­an­der – 16 of us from ages two to 80 at­tended and we had a pic­nic.

‘Our sec­ond climb was Beinn na Cro, which was 575m. That was re­ally good, such a misty day all around but the sun led us up to the top. We were de­lighted! ‘Our next one is Blaven, one of the Cuillins, and it is al­most twice the height at 900m. We also hope to do Coirre Lag­gan and pos­si­bly one of the hills in Kin­tail.

‘Archie is our climb­ing leader and it has been good hav­ing him guide us up to the sum­mit. His mo­ti­va­tional skills will come in very handy as we start to get higher and higher.

‘We are hoping to at­tain a few Ever­ests col­lec­tively, and will be fin­ish­ing with Ben Ne­vis, the high­est in the coun­try,’ she said.

Aptly, the Youth Vestry group was set up dur­ing the Year of Young Peo­ple (YOYP), and com­menced with the na­tional Year of Young Peo­ple launch ser­vice in Jan­uary.

Look­ing at the monthly YOYP themes, Nicola and her team de­cided on some ac­tiv­i­ties that worked for them. For ex­am­ple, for vol­un­teer­ing month, the group sang, played in­stru­ments and con­ducted scrip­ture and prayer read­ings for older peo­ple in a lo­cal res­i­den­tial care home.

How­ever, even just the more low-key group gath­er­ings have been in­cred­i­bly valu­able.

‘Some­times we have just gone for a walk and en­joyed the time to­gether, build­ing re­la­tion­ships and be­ing aware of God’s cre­ation all around us,’ Nicola said.

Group lead­ers Nicola and Archie and three of the group’s mem­bers, Eubha, Cara­marie and Emily, af­ter reach­ing the sum­mit of Beinn na Crow, a 575m climb.

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