JCT600 climbs Kilimanjaro | Board meeting on Blencathra

To say that JCT600’s Board Meetings have been different over the past year or so would be an understatement. A combination of remote video calls and socially-distanced meetings in person has tested us as a team beyond anything we have experienced before. Coming through this, and then beginning to emerge from it, we are acutely aware that there isn’t a ‘normal’ to go back to.

So why have a ‘normal’ Board Meeting when you can have it at the top of England’s 18th tallest mountain?

At JCT600, well-being and embracing future challenges is at the top of our list, so in that spirit, we took our monthly Board Meeting out of a room and to the top of Blencathra!

John Tordoff (CEO), Richard Hargraves (MD), Nigel Shaw (FD), Graham Thacker (Ops Director), Mark Taylor (Property Director) and I (Andy Bateman, Customer Experience Director) met up at the White Horse Pub, just outside the beautiful village of Threlkeld.

Arriving first thing to the sight of a mountain rescue van in the car park, we decided to interpret that as a reassuring sight. Over the next four hours we travelled 5.2 miles, climbed 2,132 feet, and thoroughly enjoyed sights such as Scales Tarn, Sharp Edge and (of course) the summit.

Blencathra is derived from old Cumbric and is likely to mean the summit of a seat-like mountain (from blain meaning summit and cadeir meaning seat). Ordnance Survey also list the name Saddleback for the peak.

After a fairly steep ascent from the car parking available at the start of the walk, hikers are offered the picturesque Scales Tarn as a scenic spot to pause, refresh, and reflect.

Here we were faced with two options to reach the summit, though we opted for the scrambling, infamous climb to the top via Sharp Edge. Definitely an appropriate name, this route is categorised as ‘Grade 1’ in scrambling guidebooks.

Having reached the summit and earned a bite to eat, we marked the moment by unfolding our banner and getting a team photo. The banner carried our 75th anniversary logo as the climb took place in the month of JCT600’s 75th Birthday.

It was good to have a change of [breath-taking] scenery, and great to spend time together as a team, but there was another reason we chose to take on one the Lake District’s most infamous peaks.

Early in 2022, Chief Executive John Tordoff and I will tackle Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s tallest free-standing mountain.

The climb is part of automotive charity BEN’s regular Industry Leaders’ Challenge and will raise much needed funds at a crucial time for the charity and the industry.

This particular challenge was chosen to represent that everyone has their own mountain to climb at some point in their life – no matter who they are, what they do, or where they come from.

It’s so important that we all consider the impact of the pandemic as we now, fingers crossed, emerge out of its shadow. Raising funds for BEN and balancing hard work with days like this are just small things, but hopefully they will make a big difference.

You can read more about our proud history of supporting charity by clicking here.

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