London Academy of Excellence 2018

Ahmed Nadim, Harry Saddi, Yugesh Sundharam, Tai Le, Abir Noor, Aaron Bagga

Scotland 100

LAE scotland1001

Their story, in their words….

As we live in London, which is a very urban area, we had never truly experienced the beauty of nature and had never been able to witness majestic mountains that filled the sky with picturesque views. However, our journey to Loch Lomond in Scotland allowed us to be at one with nature. After a long and tiring 9 hour coach journey from London to Glasgow we made it into the city centre. From there we made our long journey to Loch Lomond. It was a long and traitorous one that we did not anticipate. On our first day we found a place to camp where we were allowed to set up our tents and get some well needed rest for the next day where we would attempt to climb Ben Ann.

It was evident on the first day that we were not going to be able to complete our challenge of 100 miles based on the amount of walking we covered on the first day and the unexpected obstacles that held us back. Therefore, as we were cautious off the fact that we needed to be back at 1 o’clock on Sunday we decided to change our plan and summit at least 1 mountain which was Ben Ann in Loch Lomond.
Once we arrived we left our bags in a safe spot and began to climb. The climb was something we had never experienced before. It was very steep and sometimes slippery which made it slightly dangerous yet we continued. As we all have different fitness levels we all climbed the mountain at different paces but no matter where you stopped to turn around, the views just kept on getting more mesmerising as we got higher and higher into the sky. Three of us managed to make it to the top of the summit of Ben Ann. The three that reached the top waited for the other 3 to come however it was evident after some time that they were not going to make it due to dehydration and very slippery rocks, that caused some minor injuries. Nonetheless, we all made it at least 3 quarters of the way up the mountain which was a challenge in itself as well as a success as we had never attempted something so traitorous in our lives and so it felt great.
Being at the top of the mountain and looking into the horizon was truly breath taking. At 545m high it was truly amazing to see such natural beauty of the landscape. With very little battery left on our phones we quickly snapped a pic with 3 of us and it felt great to know we would have a picture of our amazing experience. (Luckily we all had battery packs so we could use our phones to navigate back to the bus station) We sat down for at least an hour at the top to rest and to have some time to ourselves to think of the journey we had just done and to admire the beauty. Whilst the journey down the mountain was much more easier, it was no less dangerous. Some of us slipped a coupled of times but regained ourselves and kept moving forward. When we made it to the bottom we were all a little shocked that we had climbed something so gigantic.

One thing that we did not anticipate was the midges and how annoying they could be but luckily a nice couple who lived In Scotland kindly donated their midges spray to us after we told them about the Mark Evison challenge and what we were doing. One thing that truly surprised some of us was how tiring such a journey can be which made us sleep like babies in our tents. Nonetheless, it was a truly amazing experience of a life time that we will never forget.