Forget Everest, let’s do Tinto 18 times instead!

Climbing Mount Everest on the China-Nepal border would be nigh on impossible just now, due to Covid-19 restrictions.

As the sunset floods the sky, the two Andy's celebrate their Everest effort at the top of Tinto.
As the sunset floods the sky, the two Andy's celebrate their Everest effort at the top of Tinto.
As the sunset floods the sky, the two Andy's celebrate their Everest effort at the top of Tinto.

However, two former Army comrades decided not to let that stand in their way.

Andy McCreadie and Andrew Coyle set their sights on South Lanarkshire’s tallest landmark instead – Tinto!

Their mission on May 1 was to complete 18 ascents of the local peak to match Everest’s 9000 metre height – within 24 hours.

Initially, Andy (29) considered doing it alone but after scoping out the challenge he realised it wasn’t feasible.

So he roped in his old chum Andrew (29), whom he first met in 2010 when the pair joined the 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland, stationed at Dreghorn Barracks in Edinburgh.

For three months, Andy and Andrew trained for their latest mission. Having put in the ground work, they believed they would be able to complete the challenge in around 21 hours.

But at 4.30am on May 2, they celebrated victory as the sun rose in the sky and they jointly completed their 17th and 18th ascent of Tinto – in an incredible 19 hours and 14 minutes.

Andy said: “I’d been watching the film Everest when the idea for scaling Tinto came into my head.

"I always do an event for charity every year; last year I did a 12 hour ultra marathon for Chris’s House.

"Initially, I looked at doing it myself but that would be a tough ask so Andrew said he would do it with me.

"We took it in turns to go up and down – only the ascents counted though – giving us about an hour to rest, eat and get ready for our next run in between.

"We knew we’d be able to do it in 24 hours and thought we’d manage it in about 21 hours. To do it in 19 hours and 14 minutes surpassed even our expectations, given we were also running through the night – something we’d never done before.

"We were lucky because we got a nice day for it and there were lots of people out on the hill, cheering us on.”

More to the point, people were also donating to the very worth cause the lads chose to benefit from their Everest effort – St Andrew’s Hospice.

Their fundraising tally also exceeded expectations.

Andy explained: “We’d initially set the target at £1000 but we passed that in January, with three months still to go.

"We upped it to £2000 but have raised £3894 from 186 supporters, many of whom we’d never even met before but saw us out on the hill.

"We’re delighted to have raised so much for such a great cause but we couldn’t have done it without other people putting their hands in their pocket – we’d like to thank them all.”

Andy, who left the army in 2015 and now works in IT with Nat West bank, was cheered on by his partner Jennifer.

And Andrew, who also left the army in 2015 and now runs his own firm Coyle Construction, was supported by his wife Rachel and their six year old son Harry.

However, locals also proved a tower of strength.

Andy added: “We can’t thank residents enough for coming out to check we were okay as the night wore on. It really was appreciated.”