Mick explained at the briefing that it would be unlikely we would be able to go to the top, but as it was a 'sunrise' event, we would still be setting out at 02:30am and getting as far as we can, whilst most parties were still in their beds. The night didn't bode well as the rescue helicopter came over twice before we even set off, so we knew prudence was called for.
We divvied the roles up between the leaders, with local leader Andy at the front with Phil, Mick and Craig working up and down the group, and myself as Tail-end Charlie. The plan was one of containment, keeping in contact via radio to ensure we kept the group together. We knew this was ambitious, and sure enough we started to string out by the last switchback before the new wooden bridge. I had to assist four folks down early, whilst the back-marking group moved on slowly, so I was able to catch them back up. Meanwhile, the lads had divided the group into a quicker group and medium group to keep them warm.
The quicker group made it to just below the cloud base as the Red Burn Gully crossing, and then across to summit Meall an t-Suidhe to at least get on top of something! The next group just to the gully, before I met them on my way up with the back-markers.
It really was a day of getting the most out of a very poor situation, and given people's experience, fitness and aspirations, the fact they were on the UK's highest mountain in very uncomfortable conditions speaks volumes for their commitment to raise money for their cause. Many said in a Schwarzenegger-stylee that 'they will be back', and I hope to be present to get them to the summit. We didn't have any major incidents, and two asthma attacks, one cramped individual, one wee tumble in the mud due to a broken pole, and finally one person with a poke in the eye that needed dressing is par for the course, isn't it?