A north-east man is celebrating after completing a mammoth challenge to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
Luke Mackie successfully made 17 consecutive trips up and down Bennachie in less than 48 hours – equivalent to the height of Mount Everest.
The 20-year-old, from Inverurie, completed his challenge at 1am on Friday and said he has been overwhelmed by the support he has received since.
He said: “I am really sore and exhausted but I have woken up to lots of amazing message and donations.
“I haven’t heard of anyone else attempting to climb Bennachie this many times in a row, so I had no idea what to expect. I thought I would manage, but it was really challenging.
“The first day flew by but going out for day two was tougher. I hurt my knee during the second walk so for the rest of the time the pain was worse than the tiredness. I was able to switch off from everything else.
“The last few climbs are a bit of a blur. The final one took 40 minutes longer than the rest and my body completely gave up when we got to the top of Bennachie. I was just shuffling on the way back down, then when we finally made it, I ate some pizza and went straight to bed.”
Raising funds for charity
Mr Mackie, who works at Meldrum House, decided to raise money for Cancer Research UK after his grandpa, Tom McComb, was diagnosed with terminal cancer last year.
He said: “By doing this and raising money, hopefully I can help prevent other families from going through the same thing.
“I Facetimed my grandpa from the top of Bennachie and he said everything we have done has been amazing. Making my grandparents proud was definitely a big part of me doing this challenge.”
His effort has now raised more than £2,300 for the cancer charity, with the pounds continuing to pour in over the weekend.
He said: “Before starting I thought £1,000 would be a good target, so to now be sitting at over £2,000 is amazing. It is so much more than I ever thought, seeing that number made it all worth it.”
“I’ve been getting donations from people I don’t even know, thanks to my friends sharing the page. My phone was buzzing constantly when all the donations were coming through, it has been amazing.”
‘The support has been brilliant’
Mr Mackie was joined by friends and family members for each of the 17 climbs and said he couldn’t have done it without them.
He added: “The support from everyone has been brilliant, they all kept me going. My friend Sam joined me for a walk at 2am and then the next one at 7am.
“If it wasn’t for him, I don’t think I would have got out of bed for day two. He helped me so much with the fundraising too by sharing my page and updates online.
“My cousins joined me for the second last climb and it felt really celebratory, I almost forgot we had to go back down.
“And then I did the last climb with my parents because they’re the only ones who could put up with my moaning at the end. They had joined me for different walks near the start, so it was really nice to finish it all together.
“They’ve been very supportive throughout the whole thing.”
People can still donate on the Luke’s Everest Challenge fundraising page.