Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity celebrates at Schiehallion

Trust teams up with children’s hospital for fundraising event at the fairy hill

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“You get so used to seeing everyone in the hospital with sick bowls, you forget there is a wider world out there for everyone to enjoy” said Derek Lambert. Along with his wife Diane, and their son Calum, aged 5, Derek was one of more than 100 people who arrived at Schiehallion on Saturday 7 May to celebrate and fundraise. 

Organised by Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity with support from the John Muir Trust, the second year of the event once again brought families, patients and staff from Scotland’s largest children’s hospital – the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow  - to the heart of Scotland.

The location is poignant - the mountain gives its name to the hospital unit where so many of those assembled have spent long periods of time – often with children battling cancer and rare blood disorders.

“Calum couldn’t make it last year. He was pretty weak from his bone marrow transplant, so it’s great that he’s making enough progress to come. Next year we’ll look to climb the mountain itself” added Derek.   

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Calum and Diane Lambert pond dipping at a Wildlife Watch session. 

Snow patches either side of the mountain ridge glistened in sunlight, as those who had made the journey were rewarded with a bright and mostly wind free day. Emily Erskine, aged 11, had travelled from Stornoway. She was a patient five years ago at the Schiehallion unit and wanted to take this chance to raise some money and recognise the help she’s had with her ongoing recovery. With the support of Trish, Richard and Bill from the Highland Perthshire Community Land Trust, whose property Dun Coillich neighbours the Trust’s Schiehallion property, Emily and her family planted several trees as a way of marking her journey to date. Others looked on at the trees planted knowing that not everyone who attended a year ago has been able to return.  

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Two girls look at a tree that was planted last year. 

Earlier that morning a group had also set off for the summit supported by qualified mountain leaders stationed at different points on the hill. At basecamp, a storyteller enthralled listeners with wildlife, folk and fairy tales (as well as the story of the Gruffalo) while others took part in craft sessions or roasted marshmallows on a fire. Groups also left throughout the day to follow a numbered nature trail from basecamp to a stream, around woodland and out onto the foot of the mountain itself.

Zayan, aged 5, had come across with his father Zahid from Dumbreck in Glasgow and joined a group following the nature trail before taking part in some pond dipping. He had a transplant operation only last November having been diagnosed with a rare blood condition. Zayan said it was fun “finding sticks” while Zahid said “it was a great way to give back [to the hospital].” 

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A group investigating creatures in a pond dipping session

Others in attendance are still getting support from the Glasgow Children’s Hospital. Evie, aged 4, goes for treatment every Monday. She was with her younger sister Abbey, aged 2 and her parents. Both sisters agreed they’d had great fun with their favourite part “planting a tree”. Abbey adding that she “didn’t even need a spade.”

The Trust thanks all the volunteers, partners and organisations that gave time or materials to support the Trust and Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity in making this special event happen including: Harviestoun Brewery, the Highland Perthshire Communities Land Trust, and the leaders from Breadalbane Wildlife Watch.

Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity (formerly Yorkhill Children’s Charity) sits at the heart of Scotland’s largest children’s hospital raising money to ensure that all of the 160,000 babies, children and young people treated there each year have the best possible care and experience. 

Main image courtesy of Glasgow Children's Hospital Charity, all other images, John Muir Trust.