I have gotten home from what was the most challenging experience, both physically and mentally, I have ever done. But at the same time, the most rewarding with an amazing sense of achievement.
On Saturday 4th June, we officially started our challenge, taking on the biggest peak in the UK, Ben Nevis, which stands at 1350m! I managed to stay with the front of our group for the first 300m, before I had to drop off. I continued to ascend at a slightly slower pace, and with the amazing weather, the views were like nothing I’d ever seen before, it didn’t look real, and that was enough to motivate me to keep going. About 1000m later, trekking through unstable rocks, snow and steep slopes, I finally reached my first summit! It’s impossible to fully explain what the view was like, but you could see for over 300 miles in every direction! Due to the timed aspect of the challenge, I only stayed at the peak for 5 minutes, I then began to come back down and got back to the base at midday, 5 and a half hours and one peak completed.
It was then straight on the bus to set off for Scafell Pike in the Lake District. This journey took over 7 hours, including a quick stop for some fish and chips. The bus was quite cramped with minimal leg room, so when we got off it, you’re legs already feel like they’re unable to walk up to the local shop, let alone another peak!
At 1930hrs, we began our ascent of Scafell Pike, which stands at 978m. This mountain also has the shortest route to the peak, which isn’t a good thing..this is because the route up is just a constant climb of a very steep route with little to no flat surfaces to be able to regenerate some energy. I was still in the group of the 12 fastest climbers, but it wasn’t long before I dropped off from the pack. I had to stop every 50m and try and catch my breath. This was causing issues for the rest of the group so the back leader was saying if I don’t keep pushing I’m going to have to go back down so that the group doesn’t have to wait for me at the base to leave for the next mountain. At this point, my legs were seizing up, I was picking up blisters and getting lightheaded due to not being able to control my breathing.
Thankfully, I had Rhys with me who kept on pushing me to get to the top, but I had to assure the back leader that I would run down so that we could leave the base at the same time. I managed to summit Scafell by just gone 2100hrs and was greeted by the most beautiful sunset, with sun just starting to drift beneath surrounding mountains. Unfortunately again, not a lot of time to stay up there, and then begins our run back down, with a half hour to make up on the group. A few near slips and trips as I ran down, but 1 hour later, I could see the group about 20m in front of me. This was a massive relief as I knew I hadn’t let the group down and delayed them for their own personal achievements.
Again it was back on the bus where we set off for the final peak, Mount Snowdon. This was a 5 hour drive including a quick stop along the way. Finally managed to get about 3 hours sleep on the bus, which was extremely hard due to the lack of space and the fact if you lean your head on the window, you become a pair of them windup teeth..
At 0500hrs, we got off the bus at the base of Mount Snowdon, standing at 1085m. We hadn’t even began to ascend and I was already in a lot of pain, and nervous that I would fail at the last hurdle. A few motivational words from the leaders and I tried to put myself in a blank headspace and just focused on each step. This was the best start to an ascent that I had done, I walked in pace with group for the better part of the climb, at about 700m I began to fall short again. But I stopped as little as possible with only 300m to the summit. This mountain was a lovely climb, with a lot of flat paths breaking up the steep climbs. When reaching the final 50m, the wind was unbelievable, it was hard to stand up, let alone to keep moving forward! This is where my pace really dropped and it was one small step at a time. At just gone 0815hrs, the summit was met, so time for a quick picture before escaping the powerful and constant wind. The wind at the the top was so bad that I came down the first set of steps on my bum as I didn’t trust my legs enough at this point to support my weight and fight the wind.
It was then straight into dry clothes and sliders as we set off in the bus for our group meeting point in Chester. Good moods filled the car with Rhys as we are both proud of what we have achieved! A medal awarded to confirm the completion of the challenge as well as the money raised.
I am proud to say that I raised over £900 for Call4Backup, a charity supporting serving and retired police officers with mental health problems and dealing with traumatic incidents. A very honourable and necessary charity whom do amazing work.
A few thank yous now to follow – A massive thank you to everyone whom sponsored me and sent messages of support. You have helped me raise over £900 between 32 sponsors! This is an amazing result and I am truly appreciative of you all! The link is at the bottom if anyone else would like to donate!
Rhys Chambers, who done the challenge with me. Rhys was first wanting to go at a faster pace to challenge himself; when he saw me struggling, he came to the back of the group and continuously helped to motivate me. He set aside his own challenges just to ensure I make it as well, this is a massive testament to his character, showing he is selfless, caring and a true leader. I genuinely would not have completed the whole challenge without your support.
To Charity Challenge whom organised the whole event, and ensured everybody reached their full potential, I got to know a lot of the staff whilst struggling at the back of the pack. All of the leaders were super friendly it is obvious that a lot of effort has gone into the planning and particulars within the management of the challenge.
Last but not least, a big thank you to Call4Backup, raising the money for your charity is very important to me. I know that every penny made will go to ongoing support to any serving or retired Officer whom needs it. I am truly thankful for what your team does!
I’m not sure how many readers will have made it to this point, but to finalise, this challenge was extremely tough. However, the most rewarding thing I have ever done..if you think this would interest you then I would definitely recommend at least looking into it! Thank you all for your time and support.