Image for Walking with the Wounded News - Meet the WWTW team who lit The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacons / (Jubilee peaks 
 - Jubilee peaks 

Meet the WWTW team who lit The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacons

On Thursday, June 2nd, 2022, 4 teams of WWTW staff, beneficiaries and supporters marked the historic Platinum Jubilee celebrations by lighting 4 beacons on top of the UK’s highest peaks.

In this Q+A, we hear from the teams who climbed Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, Slieve Donard and Mount Snowdon and find out their highlights from the once in a lifetime experience.

What did you mean to you to be part of WWTW’s Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations?

Tom (Ben Nevis) - To be part of a once-in-a-lifetime occasion is a huge privilege and honour; the fact that such a momentous event will most likely never happen again is incredible and hard to comprehend. Representing such a worthy charity made this experience infinitely better. I was fortunate enough to be the one to light the Jubilee beacon on the summit of Ben Nevis. When I lit the beacon I was filled with a sense of immense pride - it is fair to say that my participation in the Jubilee celebrations is one of my proudest moments. Yet this pride was not just for me. It was for the team who took part in the climb, my amazing colleagues at Walking With The Wounded, the nation, and Her Majesty The Queen.

David (Scafell Pike) - It was an absolute honour to represent WWTW on the summit of Scafell Pike. The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee was a significant event that was celebrated not only in the UK but around the world. Lighting the beacon on top of England’s highest peak was an immensely proud moment for me, it’s an experience that will live with me forever.

Scott (Mount Snowdon) - It felt quite surreal, particularly when lighting the beacon at the summit. I felt proud to represent a charity I believe in whilst also celebrating the Platinum Jubilee

Jenna (Slieve Donard) - I thought it was a great opportunity to be a part of history, while also crossing off one of my own personal goals! As I’m still relatively new to the charity, it was a great chance to be a part of something important to the wider WWTW community as well. I took part in the Diamond Jubilee back in 2012 as well, so it was a great personal experience to take part in the Platinum Jubilee as well.

How long did it take to climb the peak?

Tom- It took about 5 hours – Ben Nevis is a long climb, seemingly made longer by the changing weather conditions! At one moment, about a quarter of the way up, it started to rain. It started as a gentle drizzle which was a welcome relief as it was a hot and humid afternoon. However, it changed suddenly. Within a minute we were experiencing a powerful hailstorm and had to rapidly change into our waterproofs! It was a reminder to never underestimate Ben Nevis.

David - We allowed ourselves 3 hours to ascend, which gave us plenty of time to stop for breaks and to capture some amazing photos along the way. We reached the summit of Scafell Pike at 08:30, which gave us enough time to prepare the beacon before grabbing something to eat.

Scott - It took roughly 3 hours, we stopped quite frequently to take in the views and have pictures with the beacon. The path to the summit was quite busy and lots of people were asking questions and asking for pictures with the beacon.

Jenna - It took about 3.5 hours to get to the peak.

Can you share a highlight from your summit to the peak?

Tom - It’s incredibly difficult to pick a single highlight. The views were absolutely spectacular, and their brilliance increased the higher we climbed. We were able to see multiple lochs, the sun shining through clouds, towns that looked like miniature models and shifting weather patterns. At one point we watched a thunderstorm roll directly past us down as it progressed through the glen with lightning flashes and roaring thunder.

As the summit of Ben Nevis is so high, there was still some snow, even in June. We had to hike straight through it for about 20m and it was quite steep. Lots of laughs were had as people were slipping and struggling to find a grip. I even fell onto my backside when coming down the other way!

And finally, it was amazing to walk alongside Jordan who has been supported by the charity. He’s an inspirational guy and loves to take part in challenges like this. We had opportunities to talk to fellow hikers who were asking us what we were doing, and so we were able to talk about the WWTW and our work. It was a fantastic experience that will forever stay in my memory!

David- The highlight for me was meeting the amazing people, who had come together to be part of the celebrations. Some of them shared personal stories of how they had overcome significant challenges in their life, which inspired the whole group. This really captured the spirit of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and WWTW. I feel very fortunate to have shared this experience with them.

Scott- The highlight for me has to be lighting the beacon at 21:15 and the cheers from everyone watching as the flames erupted.

Jenna  I can’t pick one, there were too many! The whole atmosphere was so supportive, collaborative, and friendly which was the true highlight for me.

Can you describe the atmosphere as the beacon was lit? What was it like on top of the peak?

Tom - It’s hard to put into words how we all felt. As we arrived at the summit, there was a sense of relief to rest from the climb, but also an immense pride in what we were doing. We were incredibly lucky as the summit was cloudless – this only happens on average 30 days a year!

There was a small crowd of people who watched us light the beacon, including a someone who was camping on the summit, someone who had hiked up especially to watch the lighting of the beacon, and someone who was sleeping in the summit shelter overnight to celebrate his birthday the next day – he even had cake which he shared with the team! There was a real sense of celebration as we lit the beacon in recognition of an amazing and inspirational woman who means so much to those in the Armed Forces.

After the beacon was lit, we saw the most incredible sunset I have ever seen made, more special by the fact that it was so rare to see. It was a special reward for our efforts to reach the summit.

David- The atmosphere on top of the peak was incredible. Before lighting the beacon, we had time to observe an extraordinary sunset and the entire group could sense this was a historic moment. As the beacon was lit, huge cheers erupted on the summit.

Scott -The summit was really busy, everyone was interested to see the beacon and cheered when it was lit. There was a real sense of community and belonging between everyone on the day. A moment I won't forget.

Jenna - It was very cold and very wet!! Everyone was really just excited to get the beacon lit and take in the amazing views from the top of Slieve Donard alongside the beacon. There was a real sense of achievement from everyone as well, and it was just a special moment.