An intrepid team from Unox UK has defied the odds and carried a full-size combi oven up Ben Nevis – The UK’s highest mountain. Reaching heights above anything attempted before, the ‘Moving Mountains for Mental Health’ challenge was in aid of the manufacturer’s enduring partnership with The Burnt Chef Project, ultimately raising more than £20,000 for the cause.

After months of training and unrelenting organisation, the challenge took place on Saturday 29th June 2024. With a group of 25 determined climbers assembling at the base of the UK’s highest mountain, a 10-grid CHEFTOP-X™, Unox’s latest state-of-the-art combi oven, weighing more than 140kg, was strapped to a custom-made frame to be carried up the mountain. A short safety briefing from the mountain guides was followed by a 06:00 start to make the most of the daylight.

Ascending the pony track on one of the mountain’s busiest days of the year, the team worked together to overcome narrow paths, steep drops, gates, stiles and even multiple river crossings – averaging a mere 1mph on the trek to the top. After more than seven hours of relentless climbing, the team passed through 1,100 metres above sea level, higher than any point in England or Wales. As the weather closed in and with time running out, the professional mountain guides consulted with the team and the decision was made to halt the assent on safety grounds. Unveiling the oven to celebrate the astonishing achievement, the team faced another seven hours on the mountain to descend with the oven back to the base.

Raising more than £11,000 by the end of the day, a figure being matched by Unox S.p.A, meaning the challenge has already raised £22,000+ to support the ongoing work of The Burnt Chef Project. On the challenge, Scott Duncan, Managing Director at Unox UK comments:

“I’m incredibly proud of every single person who’s helped us to undertake this remarkable challenge. From those who scaled the mountain, carrying a full-sized combi oven in every conceivable weather, to those who supported us with logistics, fabricated the frame used to carry the oven and of course, those who have sponsored and supported us. By the day of the challenge, we had already raised more than £11,000 – a figure that will be matched by our parent company, Unox S.p.A and go to support the incredible work of The Burnt Chef Project.

While we are disappointed not to make the summit as planned, the team should be immensely proud of their achievement – taking a professional combi oven to 1,100m above sea level – higher than any point in England or Wales. Ultimately, safety must come first and with the weather throwing everything at us, with the team managing injuries and time against us, the decision was made to stop. We also took inspiration from our friends at The Burnt Chef Project – understanding the wellbeing of the team was significantly more important than reaching the summit.

The team, working in groups of six or eight, depending on the trail, rotated every couple of minutes, ensuring the oven continued its move up and then down the mountain. Fitted to a custom-made frame, the unit was unveiled and constructed at the top, where the group unveiled a flag in support of the key sponsors – Caterglobe, Latitude Leasing, Dewberry Redpoint, Nimlok, Eat PR & Marketing, Thomas Franks, HRC, Casual Dining Show, Keith Elkington Transport, Gratte Brothers and The Bread Factory.

On the challenge, Nicola Michelon CEO of Unox adds:

“The Burnt Chef Project is a fantastic cause and mental health is something that is of huge importance, especially within our industry. We have been partnered with the charity in the UK for more than two years, growing our partnership internationally as The Burnt Chef Project has transformed into a global charity organisation. 

That is why Unox has decided to match the amount that the UK team has raised, taking the total amount raised for The Burnt Chef Project to over £20,000. 

I am incredibly proud of the Unox UK team and its achievements with this challenge. Not only have they taken our Unox CHEFTOP-X to new heights, but they have raised an incredible amount of money and awareness in support of The Burnt Chef Project and mental health.”

With donations still being made and a total that is currently over £22,000 (when matched by Unox S.p.A), Kris Hall, Founder and CEO of The Burnt Chef Project concludes by saying:

“I’m so proud of the team for their incredible efforts in taking an Unox oven from sea level up to 1100m, even after travelling up to 10 hours just to reach the Scottish Highlands! This ascent was gruelling without the added challenge of navigating rocky paths, walkers, and crevices with a metal fabricated stretcher and a giant commercial oven! This pushed the team through mental and physical endurance, but they didn’t give up!

To put this into context imagine carrying the same emotional and mental load living with mental illness day after day and continuing to get up and put one foot in front of the other. Thank you to everyone involved.”

There is still time to support the fundraising effort for this incredible challenge – visit the following link to find out more:—unox-uk

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