Back in April, we were delighted to work with our friends at the Books by the Beach Festival to brew a Festival Beer (as we do every year) that is available at selected venues and is given to all of the performers as a memento of their visit to Scarborough. Every year, there is a competition to name the beer, based on the Festival's theme. This year's theme, 'Exploration' was inspired by headline act, Michael Palin and we were overwhelmed with the number of clever entries that included 'Michael Pale-Ale-In', 'Ice Breaker', 'True North', 'Great Scott' and 'DerringDo'
The winning name was 'Summit Strong' and was the brainchild of former teacher Nick Coombes from Ayton, near Scarborough. Not long after winning the competition, Nick had another summit on his mind as he travelled to Nepal to prepare for his ascent of the world's highest mountain - Mount Everest - complete with his bottle of Summit Strong!
Although the team had a rocky start, everything came good in the end and we were delighted to receive some great photos of Summit Strong at base camp and this account of Nick's adventure. Thanks, Nick!
"Our trip to Nepal was eventful to say the least... a few days before departure our airline cancelled all flights owing to financial difficulties and we had to find last minute alternatives. Add to that the unexpected declaration from Kathmandu Airport that they were closing the airport in the mornings for runway maintenance, which meant that our internal connecting flight to from there to Lukla airport - the one at 2800m up on the mountain - was not viable (they can only fly in the mornings as the weather makes it too dangerous in the afternoons at certain times of year) so we had to have a 6 hr drive out into the sticks to the next alternative internal airport. Then, 3 days before our arrival, there was a fatal crash at Lukla airport which closed it for a couple of days creating a backlog of people trying to get onto the mountain!
After that though, it's all good news! The Nepalese Sherpa people were just lovely, the mountains were awe-inspiring and breath-taking in their grandeur, and the trekking amazing. Even at low levels one runs out of breath because of altitude, and the simplest task leaves you panting hard. After 9 days of trekking through switch-back hills (plenty of downs as well as overall ups!) we arrived at Gorak Shep, the last stopping point before the final trudge up to the desolate cul-de-sac of Everest Base Camp at 5360m. Such an amazing place! Devoid of all vegetation, it's a valley of shattered rock, ice, snow and a zillion tents! Looking out over the Khumbu icefall (the route all climbers must take to ascend further) was a moment never to be forgotten.
The bottle of Summit Strong made it all the way there, but no further - summiteers had other things on their minds!"
As well as the Summit Strong, Nick also won two complimentary tickets to an 'Ocean Explorer' event with environmental expert Dr. Jon Copley.