AFTER climbing her first mountain more than three decades ago, Christine Gordon never thought she would try such a feat again.

Her feet ached, she was cold, wet and had trouble walking for days afterwards.

Once the discomfort passed however, the 69-year-old felt an incredible sense of achievement and a calmness that she found boosted her mood.

It was that feeling of wellbeing that encouraged her to try again ... and again ... almost every month for the past 35 years.

Next week she is set to become the first woman in the UK to have climbed all 1699 mountains over 2000ft in Scotland and Ireland, and will raise money for Scottish Mountain Rescue during her final trek.

Grandmother-of-two Christine, from Carstairs, said: “I never expected to have done so many walks but I just love it.

“I enjoy going with friends, but I also like being out on the hills on my own. The feeling of getting to the top, and the views you get to see, are just incredible.”

While the sense of achievement reaching a new summit is one of the reasons Christine loves the hobby, it is the feeling of perspective and wellbeing which she enjoys most of all.

“There have been times, not often, when I’ve felt down and I haven’t been looking forward to a walk,” she said.

“ I think ‘would I rather be in tears at the bottom of a mountain or at the top?’. The thing is, once you get to the top the problems and worries are gone. It puts everything into perspective.

“I lived in London for a while and every weekend I’d come back and get out on the hills. It was such a sense of relaxation and calm compared to a busy city. I’d be on a mountain in the morning and by the evening I’d be on the sleeper train.”

Social worker Christine has chosen to raise money for Scottish Mountain Rescue as she has seen how important their role is in keeping people safe.

While she has never needed rescued herself, she has had friends airlifted to safety after getting into trouble. Tragically another of her friends also died while out walking and his body was retrieved by the mountain rescue crew and returned to his loved ones.

She said: “They do such an important job, and they make walking safe for people like me. Even though I’ve never needed to use them, the knowledge that they are there if something goes wrong is reassuring.

“While mountains are amazing to climb, people often underestimate how dangerous it can be if you are not prepared or if the weather changes. That’s why Scottish Mountain Rescue is so important, and why I wanted to help.”

Along with the many friends she has made along the way, Christine said she has had incredible experiences during many of her 1698 walks.

One of the highlights was when she scaled the notorious Inaccessible Pinnacle on Skye. Standing at the top, she saw a double Brocken Spectre - a ghostly vision resembling something from a supernatural film.

“It looks like a wee alien, surrounded by this big circle of light. You can only see your own, nobody else’s. I’ve seen them before but this was just incredible, after trying so hard to get up the Inaccessible Pinnacle, to see a double Brocken Spectre was something else. I’ll never forget that day.”

To donate to Christine’s fundraiser for Scottish Mountain Rescue, visit

Christine’s top 5 mountain walks in Scotland:

1 Bidean nam Bian, Glen Coe

2 Braeriach, Cairngorms

3 Inaccesible Pinnacle, Isle of Skye

4 Suilven, Sutherland

5 Aonach Eagach, Glen Coe