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‘It was -18C but I was determined to get to the top of Ben Nevis in just my Speedos’

1 year ago

‘It was -18C but I was determined to get to the top of Ben Nevis in just my Speedos’

Speedo Mick speaks to The Guide Liverpool about reaching the top of Ben Nevis on his latest charity expedition.

Speedo Mick says despite temperatures of minus 18C he was determined to get to the summit of Ben Nevis wearing just his Speedos.

Mick admits it’s the coldest he’s ever been on one of his charity walks and when he got to within 700metres of the summit he wasn’t sure he was going to make it.

“My whole body was stinging with the cold, it was absolutely freezing, but then the guide who was with me gave me a hot drink and something to eat and I just kept telling myself ‘it’s only a hill!’” he laughs.

“Anyone who does something extreme like this, whether it’s climbing Everest or swimming the Channel, puts their life at risk. I know they’re a lot more appropriately dressed than I was but to me that’s the extra challenge.”

Mick, who’s been open about his battles with mental health and addiction in the past, reveals that was what helped push him on to the top despite the bitterly cold conditions.

“It’s my feelings that keep me going, the feeling of gratitude and freedom away from all the mental health and the turmoil each day, and the addiction. 

“The first mountain I climbed on my journey was getting a day clean, that was a mountain and a half, it was bigger than Ben Nevis, so it just continues. I’m still climbing mountains but now proper ones with snow on.”

Speedo Mick - The Guide Liverpool

This will be Mick’s final charity walk, raising awareness of mental health and raising money to support small charities up and down the country through his Speedo Mick Foundation.

He set off three weeks ago from John O’Groats in Scotland and is aiming to trek the 1,000 miles to Land’s End in Cornwall in just his famous royal blue swimming trunks.

The months before the walk weren’t plain sailing – he suffered some health problems and had stents put into his heart six months ago at St Bart’s Hospital in London.

But he says nothing was going to stop him and he took extra measures to make sure his climb was safe.

“Because this is my last walk, I thought I’m going to go for it and do Ben Nevis, but I obviously had to take everything into consideration. It’s not just the possible dangers to myself but no one wants rescue services getting bothered by some idiot in Speedos!

“So I took precautions, I had everything I needed in my bag for a just in case moment, and I hired a guide to come with me the whole way. I wasn’t just wandering up there.

“I had thought I might have to put some clothes on halfway up, and I was actually thinking about doing it in a kilt, but when I got there I decided to do what I could in my Speedos because I’m Speedo Mick not McKilty Mick!

“In the end I did the whole thing just wearing my knickers!”

The climb up took Mick five hours, but he says he was elated at the top.

“I was in tears when I got there. It’s very emotional and it’s draining so your emotions are all just there on the surface ready to burst through. 

“It was a very sad moment as well, because I was thinking about my friend Mary Penrose who passed away a few days ago. Before I set off she was saying, ‘send me photos Mick’ and she sent me a message about two weeks ago saying, ‘I wish I was with you’. It felt like she was with me yesterday, I was thinking of her, and I know she’d have been laughing at me.”

Now he’s back stomping on the flat, Mick’s had time to reflect on what a challenge the Ben Nevis climb was.

“I thought this morning, I can’t believe what I’ve just done. The achievement of yesterday is massive, and I reckon it might even be a Guinness World Record. I don’t think anyone’s done that before – not in January anyway!”

Follow Speedo Mick on Twitter HERE.



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