Well here I am at last!! Sorry I have been SO long in letting you know how it all went but (here come the excuses….) life has been pretty busy with a wedding (not mine but I did sing at it!), buying my things for the wedding (you know how it is for us girls), meeting my long lost cousin and family from Canada (who I haven’t seen since I was about 6 years old) getting the photos organised and generally recovering from an amazing adventure etc etc…..
I have attached some photos as proof that I actually went and boy oh boy how fantastic it was. We all went up to Glasgow on the train on Friday morning, spent the night in a hotel there and then after collecting the two vans set off for Fort William to get our provisions. After filling the vans with water and various pies/sandwiches/energy bars (I did the challenge as a vegan and therefore didn’t partake of the pies!!) and having a good lunch we set off for Ben Nevis. We started Ben Nevis at 4pm and so the adventure began. We quickly separated into two teams – the Hares and the Tortoises (me being amongst the tortoises as I was the oldest after all [but not the slowest!!!]). The Hares having got up pretty quickly then RAN all the way down finished Ben Nevis in 4 and a half hours, whereas I got down in 6 hours and we still had to wait for Simon and Jon to get down 1 and a half hours later!! Meanwhile we sat in a pub at the base of Ben Nevis and supped a beer or two (me of course having water (fizzy in celebration)) and waited. Then it was back in the van for a quick bite and on to Scafell Pike. Sadly Chris couldn’t find my soy margarine so I had to have dry marmite sandwiches!!! We knew at this time that we were probably not going to make the 24 hour limit but nevertheless we had to conquer the 3 summits and so our drivers, Chris and Ralph, didn’t spare the horses and we cracked on through the night (the rented van was set to only do 64mph before it cut out so the journey wasn’t the fastest!).
We reached Scafell Pike at about 6.30am and the first thing Lynette and I had to do was find a couple of pretty big bushes in which to make ourselves more “comfortable” for the next ascent, if you know what I mean. Sorry to the North for leaving our calling card!! We all set off with positive thoughts and hadn’t been walking for more than 15 minutes when we met the Hares coming down. They had set off at about 3am in the dark with only their headlights and quickly got lost in the scree but managed to eventually find their way onto the path. They were tired but undaunted and after a quick “well done” and some pictures they hurried on to their van and Snowdon. We of course had Scafell still to come and so set off at a good pace. We had only been walking for about 30 minutes when Simon decided that he probably wouldn’t make it and Lynette was flagging. She said she would wait for Simon and follow on so Duncan, Jonathan, Jon and I forged on up the mountain. We had various excitements like crossing a rushing river, losing Jonathan in the mist for a while and calling to bring him back on the path, losing Jon in the same way on the descent and supping Mrs Sweet’s sloe gin at the summit in celebration! But it being extremely wet cold and windy there we didn’t linger except for a small photo shoot and on down again. Sadly Lynette and Simon had turned back not being able to make the summit but they were safe in the van and waiting for us. So again, in we jumped had a quick bite (Chris had by now found my soy margarine) and on to the next!
The journey to Snowdon was a bit slow because of the daytime traffic and so we didn’t set off for the final summit until 5pm realising that we would have to be quick to get up and down in the light. After about 1 hour of walking Simon was falling way behind and so we relayed a message to him (via a descending walker) to tell him to turn back as he would never make it in the light and on we went. The walk, although the shortest in miles, was the steepest with a bit of actual rock climbing involved which was great fun. As we were ascending it looked like the sun would hold for the top but about 30 minutes from the summit the cloud came in and made the top, yet again, cold wet windy and freezing! We had a quick photo shoot, Duncan went to get the champagne out of his bag and realised he had forgotten it (ahhhhhhhh) and so we descended as quickly as we could. On the way down Jon’s knee was becoming a real problem and we were losing the light so Jonathan stayed with Jon to help him down and Duncan (who knows the mountain really well) took Lynette and I down to the flat to wait for Jonathan and Jon. It took them about an hour to get to us and by then it was pitch black being a very cloudy night with no stars so thank god for our head lights. While we were waiting I remembered that I had a box of vegan chocolates in my bag and so Duncan, Lynette and I pigged out on some very yummy truffles! When we were all reunited we had a 30 minute hike to the car park, but the path being flat it was a real respite from the mountain. When Chris and Ralph saw us approaching they clapped us in and we said where is Simon and they said he is with you and we said no he should be with you and they said stop kidding us and we said we aren’t…..oh dear…..where was Simon? By this time it was 11.30pm! We were all pretty exhausted so Ralph just took over (he is ex airforce and a military attaché) so all his training came in and he ordered us into the van told us his plan and off we went. We drove to where we could get a signal on our phones, rang the police who told us to ring mountain rescue – went to their headquarters and so the search began. Simon could have been injured and so we couldn’t leave him on the mountain all night. Mountain rescue were amazing (all voluntary) – 3 teams of rescuers turned up pulling on clothes, boots and yawning with their dogs and set off for Snowdon and a helicopter was put on standby. Thankfully the dogs found him around 3am curled up behind a rock under his thermal blanket. He had got lost on his return and so (sensibly) hunkered down to wait til morning. So we were soon all reunited, thanked mountain rescue profusely, promised a big fat cheque (which Simon has sent) and cracked open the champagne at last!! We were a very happy, tired and exhilarated crowd on the journey home with much merriment and Simon leg-pulling.
We got back into London at 9am and of course, being a van of lawyers, they wanted to check their emails and see what meetings they had. So we unloaded the van and all trooped into the office much to the amazement of our colleagues. Everyone said how well we looked – I think it was the adrenalin still flowing (I also hoped no one would be upwind of me not having washed for 2 days!) – but by lunchtime we were all beginning to collapse a bit and so we all went home – I think Jon made it to 3pm!
Well folks, that is a summary of the big adventure and I must say that I am SO glad that I did it. I also want to thank you all for supporting me and of course the charities involved.
If you want an adventure in life this is certainly one to consider. Now what shall I do for my next challenge??………………..
Lots of love to you all
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