‘Summit special’ for EK boy’s birthday as he lands 20th Munro since lockdown

An intrepid East Kilbride youngster has landed his 20th Scottish Munro just in time for his eighth birthday.

Ben Simpson started hill climbing with his dad Scott as a way to quell the boredom of the COVID lockdown – and has been hitting the heights of some of the country’s most challenging hills and mountains ever since.

The adventurous Long Calderwood pupil, who turned eight yesterday, completed his 20th Munro, Meall Bhuide, last weekend and celebrated the triumph by marking a stone and placing it on top of the summit cairn.

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After catching the climbing bug from his dad, who took up the hobby from his father as a young boy, Ben has pledged to get all 282 Munros under his belt.

Scott told Lanarkshire Live : “Ben definitely has the climbing bug as to this date he has completed 80 hills and mountains and we hope get some more in before the winter sets in.

'Summit special' for EK boy's birthday as he lands 20th Munro since lockdown
Ben Simpson has pledged to get all 282 Munros under his belt

“Myself and his mum, Alaine Simpson, are extremely proud of him and his love of the hills and being outdoors is amazing, he’s so confident, calm and composed, he absolutely thrives on it taking everything in his stride.

“To achieve 20 Munros at his age is some achievement and we are now looking forward to the next 20.”

The determined duo began going on minor hills walks together then progressed to bigger hills, before bagging Munros including Ben Lomond, Beinn Tulaichean and Cruach Ardrain.

'Summit special' for EK boy's birthday as he lands 20th Munro since lockdown
Ben Simpson has climbed 20 munros since the start of lockdow

Scott says Ben’s interest in the outdoors peaked when he started spotting Scottish wildlife on some of their most memorable treks – including an adder.

He added: “Ben has a keen interest in mountains and animals now and is also a dab hand at map reading. He’s always asking questions and keen to learn more.

“We’ve spotted deer, stags, mountain hares, wild goats and red kites and even spotted a snake which Ben was excited to get a photo with.

'Summit special' for EK boy's birthday as he lands 20th Munro since lockdown
The father / son duo have spotted deer, stags, mountain hares, wild goats, red kites and even a snake

“It’s been great to have this bond together. Ben wants to complete the lot – only 262 to go.

“Not so sure I’ll manage that but he certainly will.

“We have also been told we should write a book on all our adventures on the hills, this is something we may look into doing.”

'Summit special' for EK boy's birthday as he lands 20th Munro since lockdown
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The youngster, who plays football for local team EK Rolls-Royce 2013s, has his sights set firmly on landing his 21st Munro on his birthday weekend and is looking forward to climbing Ben Nevis next year.

He told us : “I like climbing as I get to spend quality time with my dad, it’s also good exercise and I love the views from the top.

“There are a couple of challenging Munros they are Ben More and Schiehallion, Schiehallion especially cause of the big boulder field near the top you have to go through.

“The highest Munro we have climbed is Ben Lawers which is 3983ft.”

Last summer Ben raised £1000 for Save the Children by walking 100 miles during the COVID-19 pandemic, smashing his £100 target and completing the charity trek around East Kilbride and Whitelee Wind Farm in just 14 days.

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