Challenge 6 – An Update

unnamed-12

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!

Challenge 13 & Challenge 6: Yorkshire 3 Peaks

Just a quick update again this week, but I’m hoping to get sit down and write something proper for you soon. I actually have a lot of ideas for none #25at25 blog content at the minute but it’s time I’m short on.

Anyway, I wanted to share a little update on Challenge 6. Though I’m swimming the Great London Swim in August (and training for that is well underway!), I felt like I needed to do something else. I’m still hoping to get a 10k run in before I turn 26, or shortly after if not, but I wanted to make a really conscious effort to get the ball rolling on the fundraising, as I felt like the swim alone wasn’t enough.

So, I’ve signed up for the Yorkshire 3 Peaks. On 31st May (all being well, we’re having some logistical issues so this date may be subject to change) Chris and I will be climbing Pen Y Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales over 12 hours. Look forward to lots of Instagramming and a half decent video at a later date. Until now, here’s me talking a bit about Butterwick and the 3 Peaks Challenge. You can read more about Butterwick here, and you can donate here.

Butterwick Children’s Hospice

Image

I feel like choosing a charity is a decision for life. Often, those who raise money for charities regularly, pick one that means something special to them and they continue to provide support to that charity on every endeavour they undertake.

Nine years ago, I embarked on another kind of challenge. I was 16 years old (pictured above. Why, oh why did I ever cut off that hair?) and I decided I wanted to raise money for a local children’s hospice who had supported some close family friends look after their young son – to whom my Mammy was godmother. I gathered the troops at my secondary school and we put on a talent show. We raised £2000 for Butterwick Children’s Hospice and the Rainbow Trust. It was one of the biggest achievements of my life. I don’t want to go into too much more detail, but you can read about it here.

Now with #25at25, I’m attempting to raise more money for Butterwick Children’s Hospice. Based in Teeside, the hospice provides care for terminally ill children and their families, but it costs £900,000 to run this incredible centre and the hospice relies on charity donations to keep going. They aim to create a “home away from home” for babies, children, teenagers and the families of those who have to turn to Butterwick for support.

The hospice has a playroom, complete with a TV, DVD’s, musical instruments, a vibrocoustic bean bag (this sounds AWESOME – it can be connected to a sound system and then vibrates to the beat enabling the kids to feel and hear the music through the bean bag) and a massive dining table for everyone to enjoy meals together. There’s also a hydrotherapy pool, a sensory garden, a craft room and a multi sensory room. The facilities are endless.

It’s always been the multi-sensory room which I loved the idea of. Fibre-optic lights, coloured spotlights, a discoball, an infinity light tunnel and bubble tubes all help to stimulate sensory awareness and help the children relax and unwind.

I know a lot of the challenges I’m doing aren’t exactly deserving of sponsorship (a lot of them are just jollies), but I do think some of them are. The Great London Swim (which I’m increasingly becoming more and more concerned about and we’ve still got 6 months to go!) is the most obvious of which, but I feel like swimming the lidos, running the Colour Run, performing ten random acts of kindness, and of course the challenge to raise money in itself might be worth a spot of sponsorship. I’m also aiming to run a 10k for Butterwick before my 25th year is out.

Butterwick is a charity I care wholeheartedly about and I will continue to fundraise for them long after I turn 26. If you want to, you can donate to them via my JustGiving page here. Even if you don’t want to sponsor me, I think taking a charity into your heart and fundraising for it can only be a good thing, so maybe take this opportunity to donate to another charity of your choice. There’s hundreds out there and it’s just about choosing one that matters to you.

And I’ll leave you with this magnificent performance from Sammy Davis Jr of Mr Bojangles. Happy 3rd March friends