Blog | Remembering the fallen
This Remembrance Sunday, Greenock and District Network will be paying their respects with a tough mountain hike.
‘We wanted to do something for Remembrance Sunday that was a bit different,’ says Jonny Webb, 28-year old Network Leader for Greenock and District, West Scotland. ‘About four years ago we did our first hike.’
Since 2012, the weekend of Remembrance Sunday has seen Jonny, his friends from Network and many other members of Scouting, climbing a Munro (a mountain in Scotland with a height of over 3000 feet), whatever the weather. They take with them a wreath of poppies to remember fallen soldiers on the anniversary of Armistice Day, and lay it at the summit.
‘At first, it was just with our local Network,’ Jonny continues. ‘Now, we’ve opened it up to the whole of Scotland and we get individuals turning up from all over to hike with us.’ Last year, 60 members of Scouts Scotland were present to pay their respects in this special way.
Jonny and the members of Greenock and District Network select a different Munro each year, and, depending on the route, an ascent can take between 3-6 hours. This year, they will be climbing Ben Vorlich in the southern Highlands, the 27th highest peak in the UK, with a summit often capped with snow. Climbing conditions can be tough in Scotland in November – especially for the Scouts choosing to hike in kilts.
‘We’ve had different weather each year,’ Jonny says, ‘but it’s always cold. Some years we’ve had snow. We’ve yet to have a nice clear sunny day, but we’re still hoping!’
The reaction they get out on the mountain has been what spurs them on each time, and they fundraise each year for charities which help ex-servicemen and women. ‘When we’re out on the hill and we speak to people about what we’re doing, they’re always so supportive,’ Jonny says. ‘One year, we had someone anonymously donate £100 – they spotted our minibus in the carpark and put a cheque in the mail.’
As a way to celebrate Remembrance Sunday, this effort is far removed from a traditional parade or wreath-laying ceremony. But it is no less powerful or poignant. ‘If we’re up the mountain, sitting in the snow, we might wonder what we’re doing, but it’s not a real hardship compared with war,’ Jonny says.
‘Members of the armed forces have given us more than we could ever do for them. Putting ourselves through some hardship makes it easier for us to remember their sacrifice.’
Let us know how you are commemorating Armistice Day by submitting your stories and photographs.