On the morning of May 16, from a foggy trailhead in north-central Scotland, Neil Tuckett and Jamie Davidson embarked on a mountain drive. Their destination lay roughly a third of the way up Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the British Isles, where they would stop, disassemble their car and, along with a phalanx of volunteers, carry the pieces to the top and reassemble them.
Mr. Tuckett and Mr. Davidson’s chosen footwear, a 1911 Model T, might be considered inadequate for such a task, but considering a Model T summited the 4, 409-foot peak, intact, 100 years ago last week, the men had a precedent from which to draw courage, if not a push-start.
Mr. Tuckett is the owner of Tuckett Brothers, a shop that sells and services Model Ts, which is based in North Marston, a village about 50 miles northwest of London. Along with his friend Mr. Davidson, he chose to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the mountain’s first ascent by automobile with era-appropriate wheels and togs.
According to the shop’s Web site, Henry Alexander, a Ford dealer from Edinburgh, summited Ben Nevis over five days in 1911, in a stock Model T. Mr. Alexander reported that aside from minor brake adjustments, the car showed no problems either in the climb or descent. The feat served to publicize and popularize the Model T among Britons.
Since then, the path up Ben Nevis has been optimized for trekker, not T, traffic, so this week’s commemorative climb was pursued in stages.
Before leaving North Marston, Mr. Tuckett disassembled a modified 1911 Model T and had the parts shipped to Fort William, Scotland, the nearest town to Ben Nevis, where it was reassembled for Monday’s ascent. The car was torn apart again on Tuesday at roughly 1, 350 feet, and portaged by volunteers on Wednesday toward the summit.
Throughout the hike, Mr. Tuckett Tweeted the party’s progress. ”The boys carrying the body need a medal, ” he wrote. ”3, 500 ft. Visibility getting worse but weather holding, ” read a following dispatch. ”3, 750 feet and snowing. Stretcher getting heavier!”
Finally, a victorious confirmation: ”A 1911 Model T Ford is back on the summit of Ben Nevis. What a fantastic achievement.” The car was reassembled amid the fog for a photo opportunity 100 years in the making, then broken down one more time and carried out.
Mr. Tuckett and Mr. Davidson’s challenge was the marquee attraction at a week of commemorative festivities in and around Fort William, organized by the Model T Ford Register of Great Britain. ”It’s something that’ll turn people’s heads, bring a smile to the faces and generally bring a bit of cheer when everyone is miserable, ” said Iain Blyth, a spokesman for the register, in a report by The Edinburgh Evening News.
This is a more complete version of the story than the one that appeared in print.
PHOTO: ANNIVERSARY: Neil Tuckett, left, and Jamie Davidson on Ben Nevis in Scotland to commemorate a climb 100 years ago. (PHOTOGRAPH BY JEFF J. MITCHELL/GETTY IMAGES)
Photo by mana5280 on Unsplash