SUMMIT SPECIAL

Clive, left, with Frank. Pic: Emma Mitchell
Clive, left, with Frank. Pic: Emma Mitchell

Big-hearted Clive Parker rose to the challenge when a fellow climber was cruelly stopped in his tracks by Parkinson’s disease.

He scaled 31 of Scotland’s highest peaks within a matter of weeks to help Lenzie man Frank McGavigan raise more than £2,500 for charity.

Frank (69) had set out to bag the country’s 282 Munros — all over 3000 feet.

But after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s seven years ago, he gave up his dream, just 31 short of the total.

Frank told the Herald: “I’ve been thinking about these 31 Munros ever since”.

A few weeks ago, he came up with the bright idea of issuing a charity challenge to fellow members of Kirkintilloch Mountaineering and Hillwalking Club — and Clive (63) jumped at the chance to take on Frank’s Missing Munros.

Clive set up a Justgiving page called Frank’s Missing Munros in aid of both men’s favourite charity, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) – or Doctors Without Borders. The international humanitarian charity provides medical help to people in war-torn countries.

Frank said: “Clive, quick as a flash, came back to me and said ‘what a wonderful thing, my favourite charity is Médecins Sans Frontières ’.

“This really has been all about raising money. Clive has done the most amazing achievement since May, climbing them all.”

Clive’s first climb took place on May 2 when he reached the summit of Derry Cairngorm in Aberdeenshire.

After braving Scotland’s traditional mixed bag of summer weather – sunshine, cold winds, heavy rain – Clive bagged all 31 Munros, reaching the top of ‘A’ Ghlas-bheinn in the Highlands on Tuesday, July 25.

Clive said: “When I started in May there was still a lot of snow lying on the Cairngorms and I had no idea how long it would take me to climb these 31 Munros. People have been really generous and about half a dozen on the hills spontaneously handed me money”.

Frank got bitten by the climbing bug after scaling Ben Lomond when he was just 10-years-old.

He said: “I joined the club 35 years ago. The Munros I had left to do were all way up north. I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease seven years ago. I’m not too bad at the moment but being unsteady on my feet, it’s not sensible to do this.

“You also lose your confidence. There was a time when it didn’t bother me scrambling over rocks.

“You also don’t want to put other people in the position of having to be responsible for you.

“So I thought, we could raise some money. It was still half a joke but I emailed members of the club and said I would donate £10 for every one of those Munros climbed.

“I chose the charity partly because it was my sister’s favourite charity and she died earlier this year.”

Clive added: “Oddly enough, I was thinking to myself, it’s about time I sent some more money to MSF!”

Neither men expected to get the response they did.

You can make a donation to the Justgiving page at 
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/clive-parker2