Sunday, April 20, 2014

Climb every mountain...

Well, 'tis done!

12 hours and 20 minutes of it.

We're back after, what I can only describe as, a pretty gruelling charity challenge doing the 5 peaks in the Lakes.

We all met on Friday evening, that is Mr Beehive, myself, the guides and the rest of our comrades for the duration, at a local campsite in the Langdale Pike region. We intially set up the campsite and began team building by preparing a meal for 20 on four burners with two vegetarians and a vegan amongst us and limited pots.

A cold night followed with little sleep of any worth or decency. Temperatures fell below freezing and despite wearing all our base layers under all our clothes, using season 3/4 sleeping bags, we were still kept awake through cold and Mr Beehive's pillow had frozen to the tent by the next morning!

An early rise with a 6am wake up call, some seriously 'hearty' (read that as lentil knitting) style museli, a cold wash and then layering up for the day ahead.

We parked the cars up at a farm at the bottom of Dungeon Ghyll and began our marathon (well, half really) efforts up Crinkle Crags, Bow Fell, Esk Pike, Great End and then the Capitain (sic) of all...Scarfell Pike, the highest peak in England.

I could spend hours giving you blow by blow accounts, but really, you'd be bored to tears.

It was far from easy. It certainly pushed me close to my limits of both physical and mental endurance. The ups were hard and tiring, the downs, wearing on the knees. The distances challenged my ability to stay calm and some of the ridges pushed me to my boundaries if not out of my comfort zone. The tireder we got, the harder it became.

The final summit, Scarfell, all 900+ metres of it was a mixed joy. Sheer thrill of achievement was tinged with the fear of the 4 hour descent we'd yet to master.

If truth be told, this was probably the hardest part of the day. We'd already walked up and down summits for over 8 hours. Every bone was aching and I had nerves that were occasionally shooting electric sparks of pain up to my hip from a slip earlier in the week in a particular supermarket that would catch my unawares, particularly as I moved from one rock to another. Each step just seemed further and further away and the path we were aiming at, despite seeming not far, appeared as a distant mirage on the horizon.

Incredibly, 12 hours and 20 minutes after we'd parked our cars early that morning, we were passing back through the farmer's gate and returning to our cars...perhaps a little unsure of our ability to physically operate the clutch!

I am so proud of  Mr Beehive and myself

It was an outstanding day. The weather was kind to us and the sun shone. Our noses burned and WE. DID. IT !!!! 13.6 miles (or more!) of seriously tricky terrain, rocks, boulders, scree and little grass. 13.6 miles of ascent followed by descent followed by further ascent.

The bump to the right of the picture was our starting point!!

The scenery was beautiful, the views at the tops, breathtaking, in fact one of the guides from the Lakes themselves, said that our view from Scarfell was probably one of the best he'd ever seen in all his years up and down the mountain!

To top it all off, we have managed to raise over £3000 for the National Eczema Society. We've been blown away by the generosity of family, friends and colleagues (HUGE THANK YOU to all of you!!!!) and there's still time to donate by using the link on the side of my blog.

Will we do it again? Er, perhaps not next week, but will we do something as challenging again, something to push us to our limitations? Indeed we will. We might push ourselves to do the 100Km Thames Path walk next year and maybe I will enter that ballot for the VLM for 2016 ...just you'd best start saving your pennies for another charitable cause next year.

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