Challenge 6 – An Update

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Something really great happened today. Actually – something really great happened last week to start off with and what happened today was catalysted by that. But I’ll get there in a couple of minutes. If you’ve been on Facebook today, you might already have this figured out.

First of all though, I wanted to finally sit down and chat to you about the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge that Chris and I completed on 14th June. It’s taken me a little while to really figure out how I felt about the whole thing and it was a long day, so this isn’t going to be the shortest post I’ve ever written but I hope you’ll stay with me.

I originally signed up for the 3 Peaks because I felt like I needed something more to help me reach my £500 fundraising target. Signing up was an insanely spontaneous decision. Within 15 minutes of receiving an email recommending it as a method of fundraising, we were signed up. I knew that it was going to be hard work but I my feelings beforehand fluctuated between completely terrified and quietly confident. When the walk started a little before 8am on the Saturday morning, I was somewhere between the two.

Guided by Kuta Outdoors, we were led over the three mountains in a little over 12 hours. The first, Pen y Ghent was a really pleasant walk, despite the high volume of traffic on the hill that day (there were also 250 walkers for Macmillan on the hill!). There was a touch of scrambling but generally, this was a really nice start to the day. Amazing panoramic views of the Great British Countryside (specifically God’s own country, my very own Yorkshire) made getting up at the crack of dawn totally worth it. The sun kept on poking it’s head out too which was completely welcome, and reaching our first trig point made it feel like the whole thing was completely doable. The walk down Pen y Ghent was gorgeously picturesque and not too much of a strain.

In between the first and second climbs, there was a 10 mile walk. I chatted to a couple of the other people who were walking with us (they were all walking to fundraise for Haven, a breast cancer care charity) and found that the hours seemed to pass pretty quickly.

The ascent up Whernside was long but steady. It was phenomenal to see just how far we’d walked and a little bit unnerving to see how far we had to go. I think somewhere along the rise of Whernside we hit half way. We’d been walking for 6 hours quite happily and I’d found myself really enjoying it. My body was feeling a bit on the weary side but my spirits were still pretty high but walking (read: pretty much falling) down the second mountain was easily one of the toughest parts of the day. It went on forever and the instability underfoot meant it took an incredible amount of concentration for someone as clumsy as I. Going downhill was tough on the feet, ankles, knees and thighs. It was so, so hard and pretty unpleasant.

After a brief respite (and a pint of the best orange squash I’ve ever had), we began climbing the final peak. I was a bit revitalised after the rest and spurred on by Phil of Kuta, we pushed on through the scramble up Inglebrough – the last peak. Whether it was or not, it felt like an almost vertical climb. It was tough but knowing that we were nearly there made it easier, and after climbing down Whernside, everything felt like a walk in the park. When we hit the top and mile 20, I was struck by a wave of euphoria. We stopped at the trig point for less than a minute and begin our final decline.

If I could have ridden that wave of euphoria all the way back down to Horton, I would have been peachy. But the last 4.5 miles of the walk were the longest and most difficult four miles of my life. I wanted nothing more than to be able to put one foot in front of the other but it was such a challenge. Every mile felt like about five but 12 hours and 20 minutes and 24.5 miles after we started, we crossed the finish line.

For a good week or so after the climb, I felt a bit numb about the whole experience. I didn’t feel the massive sense of achievement I had hoped to – I just didn’t really feel anything. And then I started talking to people about it. It started to dawn on me what we did. I might not have climbed Kilimanjaro, but we did something pretty impressive. Then something wonderful happened. With a flurry of donations, I crossed the £500 boundary (massive thanks to the last donor who pinged me over the edge, who I maybe tormented about it – you know who you are) and that little bit of euphoria returned.

Then today, something else wonderful happened. Work doubled my fundraising efforts. So I now stand at the incredible total of £1010, which is more than I ever could have imagined. It makes every single step worth it and may have made me have a little weep at my desk when I got the email.

So I also want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who donated. I don’t think I could have done it without you (and your dollar) behind me. I’d probably have stopped in the first pub I got to then turned around and walked back to the car from there. So thank you, a million times thank you and know that your donations are going to an incredible cause! And that’s it for Challenge 6!

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