Kirriemuir friends are on cloud nine after a taking on Britain’s three highest mountains in a weekend challenge which has sent their charity total soaring skywards.
Having hoped to raise a couple of grand for the Scottish Huntington’s Association, Gill Ferguson, Dianne Scott, Jennifer Paton and mum and daughter Susan and Claire Dyce say they have been overwhelmed by donations which have taken their tally well beyond the five-figure mark.
The “overwhelming” public support and a welcome crew of family and friends who joined them for the final Ben Nevis leg of the Three Peaks Challenge put a spring in the step and a smile on the faces of the girls after they had to cope with soaking conditions on the other two climbs.
In all, the epic trek involved nearly 25 miles of walking, an ascent of 10,000ft and more than 450 miles of driving between the cloud-covered peaks.
The pals’ adventure started at 5am on Friday morning when they set off from Kirrie, bound for Scafell Pike in the Lake District.
Dianne said: “We began our ascent at 10.25 and the rain was hammering down.
“It was waterproofs from head to toe and we squelched our way up and down.”
They then made the drive to Wales for an early morning start on Snowdon, where the weather again threw its worst at them.
Dianne added: “What was nice was we went up Snowdon one way and then came down a different route, and we were actually able to see some of the beautiful scenery.”
The long car journey back north – brightened by the excitement of a shout out for their efforts on Radio 2 – brought them to Ben Nevis on Sunday morning.
There, almost a dozen friends and family joined them for the climb up the 4,412 feet of Britain’s loftiest peak and a small champagne celebration at the top.
Susan said: “It was a huge boost to see everyone there when we got to Ben Nevis and great to have them with us for the climb.”
The girls had been posting their progress on social media, and watching their charity total grow.
With gift aid, their Justgiving figure now sits around the £13,000 mark.
They plan to keep the fundraising page open for around a month in the hope of seeing the total go even higher.
Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/5kirriegirls
Jennifer’s husband, Mike, was diagnosed with Huntington’s in 2014.
Now retired from a lifetime career in the offshore industry, he tragically lost both his mother and sister to the hereditary condition.
Mike said: “I’m very proud of them, they are good friends through thick and thin.”
Jennifer added: “We really just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been so generous towards us.
“The Kirriemuir community has been so supportive, but we have had donations online from around the world.
“We had our Huntington’s t-shirts on and complete strangers were just handing us donations when we told them what we were doing.
“It’s just overwhelming that we have been given so much support.”
The neurological condition currently affects around 1 in 5,000 people in Scotland, with an estimated 4,000 – 6,000 others, including young people, at risk of inheriting it from their parents.
Hannah Platt of the Scottish Huntington’s Association said: “It’s difficult to put into words how grateful we are to the girls.
“The money they have raised will make a huge difference to us.
“All charities have suffered during lockdown and to see the way the girls have come together and been supported by the community is just phenomenal.”