RAF mountaineers scale Britain’s highest peaks in RAF 100th birthday celebrations
Royal Air Force mountaineers scaled the UK’s three highest mountains on 7 May as part of the RAF’s 100th birthday celebrations. Eleven personnel from the RAF Mountaineering Association (RAFMA) – some of whom will travel to Nepal in September as part of a major RAFMA-led expedition – carried commemorative RAF100 Batons to the summits of Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in the English Lake District and Snowdon in Wales.
The RAFMA teams, including personnel who are new to mountaineering, ascended the Three Peaks via challenging routes in a symbolic echo of the RAF’s motto: Per Ardua Ad Astra (Through Adversity to the Stars). Each team carried an RAF100 Baton to mark the 100th anniversary of the formation of the RAF, and commemorative poppies in remembrance of RAF personnel who have served over the last century.
The unique Three Peaks event happened as a commemorative UK-wide RAF100 Baton Relay reached Snowdonia. It also coincides with a major year of commemoration for RAF mountaineering as RAFMA celebrates its 70th anniversary and the RAF Mountain Rescue Service turns 75. In September RAFMA will mount Exercise Himalayan Venture 18, a major expedition to the Nepalese Himalayas, to mark the anniversaries.
Group Captain Emily Flynn, the Chairman of RAFMA, led a team to the summit of Scafell Pike. She said:
“This was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the physical courage and endurance of RAF mountaineers, and to participate in the RAF100 Baton Relay. It was also a great way for us to bring together the RAF Mountaineering community as we celebrate the RAF100, RAFMA 70 and RAF Mountain Rescue 75 anniversaries, commemorate previous mountaineering exploits and inspire the next generation of RAF mountaineers.
“Together with our Himalayan Venture expedition in September, today’s Three Peaks event is a great demonstration of the kind of adventure on offer in the RAF and the RAF Air Cadets. I hope it encourages more people to get into Britain’s incredible mountains, and to follow the Himalayan Venture journey on social media over the next few months.”
Led by RAFMA, Himalayan Venture 18 will see five teams of RAF mountaineers mount an expedition to the Rolwaling and Khumbu regions of the Nepalese Himalayas and bring together RAFMA and RAF Mountain Rescue personnel, regular and reserve RAF personnel, University Air Squadron cadets and RAF Air Cadets. Expedition members – ranging from experienced mountaineers to novices – will experience tough and challenging conditions as they aim to cross the Tesi Lapcha Pass at 5,775m (18,881ft) above sea level and attempt a first British ascent of a remote peak. The expedition is being covered on social media via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, the Chief of the Air Staff, said:
“Our 100th anniversary celebrations give us a unique platform from which to showcase the character of the RAF and the opportunities we offer. We want people across the UK to be inspired to find out more about why working in the RAF is so extraordinary and to realise that the world-class training and opportunities that we offer make it an outstanding place to learn, develop and progress. We want young people to be ambitious and realise their potential, so that we can continue to be a dynamic force for good across the nation and can continue to protect the nation, as we have done so successfully throughout our first one hundred years.”