Double amputee crawls to the summit of Ben Nevis in only 12 hours

Paul Ellis, 57, a father-of-two from Widnes in Cheshire, used knee pads for protection before setting off on a 4,413ft crawl to the top of the mountain.

He completed the remarkable ascent in 12 hours on Easter Sunday after leaving behind his prosthetic legs behind to demonstrate how amputees can rise to almost any challenges they face.

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Mr Ellis had climbed the mountain wearing prosthetics last year but, this time, he wanted to take on an even greater challenge.

Paul Ellis, 57, from Widnes, Cheshire, on the grueling stretch between the Halfway Lochan’ and the summit of Ben Nevis. Pic:Lucy McAlpine Photography/ SWNS

He later admitted the effort left him “very very sore”, he said – but he was “made up” he managed to complete it and raised £5,000 in the process.

Mr Ellis said: “It was a very hard challenge which left my knees and back very sore. But I made the decision to crawl because I wanted to get people’s attention.

“It was gruelling and at times it was quite emotional, but I just kept going. I was made up when I completed the challenge and to help raise funds to give amputee children the holiday of a lifetime.”

Mr Ellis suffered a fall in 1992 which left his legs paralyzed and a further break in 2007 before opting for a double below-the-knee amputation in 2008..

Mr Ellis on one of the harshest parts of the climb where the path is loose gravel Pic: Lucy McAlpine Photography/ SWNS

Following the surgery, he used a wheelchair or walked on prosthetic legs.

Last year, Mr Ellis became friends with Ben Lovell, who is the founder of Amp Camp, a charity which provides holidays for amputees and scaled Ben Nevis and Snowdon in Wales.

This year he opted for his greatest challenge yet – ditching the prosthetics and crawling to the summit of Ben Nevis on stumps.

He said: “I knew it would be very hard. I had walked it before so I made the choice to crawl.

A well earned rest against the trig point at the summit of Ben Nevis for Paul Ellis and a member of his support team.

“I wanted to make get people’s attention and show what amputees can do.”

He set up a GoFundMe to support the challenge and people began donating in their hundreds.

On Saturday, as everyone sat back to enjoy the good weather over the Easter bank holiday, Paul began his mission with his 30-strong team.

It was a 12-hour crawl to the summit, which is 1,345 meters above sea level.

They camped at the top before Mr Ellis popped his prosthetic legs back on to walk back down.

He said: “When I got to the top, I could have raised my eyes out. It was such an amazing feeling.”

Following trek back down with his prosthetics was “more painful” than the way up due, he said, to sore muscles from the day before.

But when he got back down to the bottom the following day, he said: “Seeing my family again was fantastic. There were lots of big hugs.”

The adventurous amputee has no plans to stop his missions – because he “believes in” Ben’s amazing charity, Amp Camp.

He said: “When I went to Amp Camp it was out of this world. I had never even been in the sea before.

“I know it’s an amazing charity because I know what they do. I have done it myself and I want to raise awareness.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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