Their story, in their words…
“Our journey with the Mark Evison Foundation has been both fascinating and challenging. Following a presentation at Eltham Hill School by Margaret Evison about the Foundation, we excitedly began researching and thinking of challenges that we wanted to do and eventually decided on “Trek up Ben Nevis, Highest Mountain in British Isles”. This was a real challenge for us. Two of us are scared of heights and I have never travelled outside London without my parents. First step: to ask my parents permission for the challenge! They didn’t really like the fact I was taking on such a big risk trekking up a mountain that has taken the lives of people but they agreed after understanding the purpose of Mark Evison Foundation.
We learnt a lot about planning: researching the cost of things we needed, the transport, equipment, accommodation and even insurance. I was really motivated to complete this challenge at any cost.
The next step was to pitch to Mark Evison trustees for the finance to complete the challenge. Mrs Evison, the trustee, was impressed with the plan and we subsequently received an email saying we had won an Award and we were so excited when it really sunk in we had received the Award when we received Mark Evison T-shirts. As part of the Challenge we needed to fundraise for Mark Evison Foundation and any Charity of our choice so we picked the Woolwich Temple, which hopes to become a central pillar of South East London and aid others in need. We had a lot of planning to do on fundraising so the finalised ideas we had were Henna, a Bake sale and a year 7 Talent Showcase. The first of these was the Bake Sale where our Canteen Manager made us do a Dragons Den style pitch to use the Canteen to sell our food rather than his! It was very successful.
We then asked other Sixth Form friends to form a team to help mount a year 7 Talent Showcase. We had hosts, DJs, lighting …… After weeks of heats and rehearsals we were thrilled to sell tickets to parents and had a wonderful evening of music, dance, gymnastics and other acts. It was a great experience for both year 7s and year 12s to work together on this event. Meanwhile we were doing lots of practice walks to build up our fitness (Ben Nevis is 1346 metres high!)
Then we had some bad news. Just one week before the Trek, Dana suffered a leg injury and on medical advise had to withdraw from the actual Trek. Everything seemed very confusing and I didn’t know what to whether I should do the challenge or not. With the encouragement from Ms Comis and Mrs Evison I decided to carry on because I have been worked hard the whole academic year planning for this moment Fortunately Ellie, another year 12 friend, was keen to step in at the last minute to replace Dana.
We set off for Scotland on Friday 17th June. The beginning of our journey was unexpected as our coach delayed and we started panicking as it was our first time and we were scared to miss our second coach from Glasgow to Fort William. Luckily we reached Fort William on time. The journey was really fun as it was the first time we were travelling together therefore it was a great opportunity for us to learn about each other in this 13 hours trip. The scenery was so tranquil and aesthetically pleasing between Glasgow and Fort William. We saw Loch Ness and many hills and mountains during sunset time. The best moment was when we arrived at the Glen Nevis Youth hostel at the foot of Ben Nevis and our starting point. The people at the hostel were very nice and supportive. The hostel provided us with all the facilities we needed.
Saturday 18th June, we started our trek at 8am and it seemed easy when we started trekking up. However the further we went the difficulty increased as it was getting steeper and there were deformed large rocks for us to trek across. As we trekked higher up, we got used to it. One of the reasons for this particular challenge was we all have a fear of heights so as the path became narrower , steeper and higher with scary drops either side, we encouraged each other mentally and physically to continue until we reached the highest point possible. For Young trekkers like us to reach at this level without an instructor within 5 hours at such fast pace was the biggest adventurous achievement. The sun shining upon us and smiley support from advance trekkers motivated us to reach for the highest point safely. On our way back we relaxed at Glen Nevis River in front of the Youth Hostel where we experienced lots of remarkable scenery that is so scarce and we took advantage by taking hundreds of pictures and videos.”
You can watch a short clip made by the award winners documenting their challenge here.
Also, see a clip from the talent show they organised to raise funds for the Foundation here.