Disabled Teams Defy Difficult Terrain & Appalling Weather to Meet the 2011 Bowmore Ben Nevis Challenge – Scotch Whisky News


Disabled teams defy difficult terrain and appalling weather to meet the 2011 Bowmore Ben Nevis Challenge

I was determined to make it to the top this time, having had to turn back before. I’m ecstatic to have got to the summit.’ Rosie Smith, Team Leader, Nitshill.

Eight teams of disabled and non-disabled people yesterday (20th August 2011) set off on what is the ultimate challenge; conquering the UK’s highest peak Ben Nevis. Sponsored by Bowmore, the first Islay Single Malt Whisky, the Bowmore Ben Nevis Challenge is the culmination of months of training and preparation for the teams.

Guided by ex-SAS officer and TV Presenter Ken Hames, the teams were led by disabled people with a variety of impairments. The leaders, seven of who are using specially designed wheelchairs, must navigate and direct their team to the summit and in the process help raise vital funds for Capability Scotland.

The teams made the ascent despite at times appalling weather with almost constant rain and, at times, zero visibility. Working with experienced volunteer mountain guides they worked their way across treacherous terrain, avoiding sheer drops and contending with large boulders and fences.

The first team to the top was led by Rosie Smith (24) from Nitshill in Glasgow. She and her team ‘Rosie’s Runners’ made the summit in just 5 hours and 20 minutes. ‘Despite having attempted this before, I was still nervous’ said Rosie, ‘but I was determined to make it to the top this time, having had to turn back before. I’m ecstatic to have got to the summit.’

Andy Steen (45) from Gourock and his team ‘We Want To Go Hames’ was second to the summit. He commented: “How many people can say they’ve been up Ben Nevis?  I’ve joined an elite club! I hope this event will help dispel the myth that sometimes exists that disabled people need to be wrapped in cotton wool!”

Capability Scotland, Director of External Affairs, Richard Hamer, added: “We are delighted to have been able to work with our sponsor, Bowmore, to stage this terrific challenge.  Not only will the event help raise vital funds to support disabled people at home, at work and in school it will also hopefully demonstrate just what can be achieved when disabled people are given the opportunity to explore and enjoy every part of our country, an opportunity which they are not always given.”

Cara Laing, Bowmore Brand Manager said, “Bowmore has always been a champion of nature and the great outdoors so we’re delighted to be supporting Capability Scotland and the team to take on this, the ultimate physical and mental challenge for both non disabled and disabled people. We’ll be taking part in the challenge and waiting at the bottom of the mountain to give each of the participants an extra special dram. It would be great if our friends can show their support by digging deep and helping to raise our fundraising goal of £100,000.”

Front: Rosie Smith, Back left – right, Johanthon McNeil, Victoria Sparrow, John Keenan, Gail Taylor, Michael Gaffney Photo credit Michael Dickie

Front: Rosie Smith, Back left – right, Johanthon McNeil, Victoria Sparrow, John Keenan, Gail Taylor, Michael Gaffney Photo credit Michael Dickie

Please  visit www.capability-scotland.org.uk/bennevis

You can also follow us on facebook http://www.facebook.com/CapabilityScotland

and Twitter http://www.twitter.com/capability_scot.


Capability Scotland

Capability Scotland campaigns with, and provides education, employment and support services for, disabled children and adults across Scotland supporting them to achieve equality and have choice and control in their lives. www.capability-scotland.org.uk  Capability’s mission is to transform expectations of what is possible and ensure that disabled people achieve equality in all areas of life.

In May 2008 Capability Scotland staged the original Ben Nevis challenge which raised £100,000.

Capability’s Access to Sport survey should that 64% of disabled Scots did not meet government recommended levels of physical activity and 40% felt they could not take part in sports or excersise.  The survey identified a number of barriers including lack of suitability of available activities, lack of support, lack of confidence and negative attitudes, policies and practices.


The best-balanced Islay single malt whisky is the perfect reward after your outdoor experience.

Founded in 1779, Bowmore is the oldest Distillery on Islay, one of the Scottish isles which make up the region known as the ‘Islands’ in the lexicon of Whisky. The other regions are the Highlands, Speyside and the Lowlands. Islay malts are famous for their characteristic smokiness and Bowmore is no exception; we carefully smoke our malt and use skills handed down from generation to generation to craft a perfectly balanced Single Malt.

Bowmore’s adherence to traditional production methods helps to shape the character of our Single Malts. We’re one of only a few distilleries anywhere which still produces its own floor malted barley, hand-turned by traditional wooden malt shovel. For our whiskies we draw water from the Laggan River, with its rich peaty overtones, and it’s the same Islay peat that fires the malt drying kiln.

Bowmore Distillery’s close proximity to the sea is also vital in determining the final character of our spirit. The legendary Bowmore No. 1 Vaults is where most of our whiskies spend their long lives resting quietly in the cool, dark, damp cellars below sea level, oblivious to the waves thrashing the Vault’s sea-facing wall.

They mature in oak casks, previously used for bourbon, sherry or claret, gradually developing rich and mellow flavours.

It’s this combination of peat, barley, sea breeze, water, wood, people and tradition that together create the perfectly balanced warm and smoky character of Bowmore Single Malt Whiskies.

The Bowmore domestic product range:

• Bowmore Legend
• Bowmore 12 Years Old
• Bowmore 15 Years Old ‘Darkest’ (sherry cask finished)
• Bowmore 18 Years Old
• Bowmore 25 Years Old

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