Scottish pensioner with M.E. bags her last Munro | Deeside Piper and Herald | 3 July 2012

July 3, 2012

From the Deeside Piper and Herald, 3 July 2012.

A Banchory pensioner who was diagnosed with the debilitating illness ME, has bagged her final Munro.

Elizabeth Culshaw, known as Liz, completed the last of the Munros on Tuesday, June 26.

Now 63, Liz climbed her first Munro, Ben Lomond, aged 10 whilst on a family holiday.

Most of the summits were completed with husband David, between 1972 and 1990, but a period of illness for a time left completion in doubt.

Husband David said: “Liz suffered badly over a period of 10 years from ME (Myalgic Encephalopathy), but thanks to the wonderful care and support of the Banchory GPs, she was gradually able to resume leisure activities again, in particular her favourite pastimes of hillwalking and skiing.

“She then began to chip away at the remaining 30 or so summits, completing the Skye Munros over the last two years.

“This year saw five summits left, all in the Achnaschellach forest area.

The final two of these were completed with a trip from Craig, near Achneschellach, which involved a cycle of 6km, a walk taking in Sgurr Choinich and Sgurr A’ Chaorachain, (final summit) and a return cycle.”

David was able to accompany Liz on this trip – a trip completed just three weeks before the couple’s 40th wedding anniversary.

Munros are mountains over 3,000 feet in height. They are named after Sir Hugh T Munro who published his original list to the Scottish Mountaineering Club in 1891, which contained 283 separate 3,000 feet mountains.

Liz was helped greatly with some of the remoter hills and the Skye Munros by the couple’s daughters Gillian and Alison, who are both outdoor instructors.

David and Liz have lived in Banchory for 34 years.

David said: “I, myself, completed the Munros in 1983 (Munroist no 349), so we are a husband and wife team of Munroists!

“This story might encourage other people who suffer from ME and help them to realise that there is light at the end of the tunnel!”

* According to the ME Association website,

it is currently estimated that some 250,000 people in Britain are affected by the illness.

All types of people at all ages are affected. Severe and debilitating fatigue, painful muscles and joints, disordered sleep, gastric disturbances, poor memory and concentration are commonplace.

In many cases, onset is linked to a viral infection. Other triggers may include an operation or an accident, although some people experience a slow, insidious onset.

There is currently no accepted cure and no universally effective treatment. Those treatments which have helped reduce particular symptoms in some people have, unfortunately, proved ineffective or even counter-productive in others.

6 thoughts on “Scottish pensioner with M.E. bags her last Munro | Deeside Piper and Herald | 3 July 2012”

  1. I bagged one Munro, the Ben – Lomond – when I was a teenager, it was our local mountain, but never been able to do any more since ME. I really hate missing out on the beauty of Scotland, so much of our gorgeous scenery, accessible only by foot. Great that Liz has managed to bag them all, but she is lucky, I would say, rather than the norm, and I think slightly false hope to suggest that good medical support – which of course is a godsend! – means that this level of activity is going to be poss. Sorry, I don’t wish to be a naysayer, just realistic.

  2. Delighted as I am to hear of this, (a former hillwalker myself), I would strongly suspect CFS here, not ME.
    Nobody has recovered from ME. It just doesn’t happen. Even rituximab only enables remissions.

  3. Good for her. This is great to hear.

    “.. but thanks to the wonderful care and support of the Banchory GPs, she was gradually able to resume leisure activities again .. ”

    – and would love to know what care she received to enable a return to hill walking.

  4. I am very pleased for Liz that she had good treatment from her GP, a rarity, and was able to complete the climbs. However it certainly does not fill me with hope at all, or lead me to think that there is any light at the end of my particular tunnel. After over 30 years of diagnosed M.E. I know I will never experience this level of recovery. I also know that any remission is just that, and can easily be followed with a relapse, sooner or later. I am not being negative, I am just familiar with the behaviour of this disease. We so desperately need the research that will distinguish M.E. from CFS.

  5. I am envious. For 12 years (of my 27 with M.E.) I spent almost the whole of my summers in my static caravan in the foothills of Cadair Idris waiting and hoping that I could climb to the top one day. That day never came!

  6. If M.E. can be ‘cured’ by ‘wonderful care and support of the … GPs’ – why aren’t we all being cured? (Mind you, I’d like to find a GP who practises ‘care and support’!)
    I wish Liz well, but I’ve had M.E. for more than twenty years and I’d be happy if I could walk to the village shop – never mind climbing mountains.
    M.E? I don’t believe it.

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