Ashley: The reality of the challenge is beginning to dawn. Our practice walk in the South Downs opened our eyes to issues of blisters, dodgy kit, sore legs, rain in the face, navigation confusion and energy lows. We have learned a lot. However, onwards and upwards (quite literally!) We have purchased a first aid kit, head lamps, an ordinance survey map and a compass – Bear Grylls eat your heart out. We will stock up on energy gels, protein snacks and jelly babies.
Fitness-wise I feel like I am (sort of) on track, though I know I will never be completely ready. I’ve heard that it is a big challenge not just physically but psychologically, especially on the second mountain Scafell Pike – going uphill in the dark when aching and sleep deprived is apparently not very enjoyable. Seeing donations coming in has been such an encouragement and makes it all so worthwhile. I know thinking of our sponsors’ generosity and support of such an important cause will make a big difference at those low points in the mountains. A big thank you to any one reading this who has sponsored us so far – you inspire us to keep on training and stay positive!
Ben: Less than two months to go! I’m feeling fit and ready. I’ve already climbed Snowdon a couple of times, which is helpful. Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike will be new to me, but if we are behind on time, it’s comforting to know I know my way around Snowdon. The only concern I have is the unavoidable lack of sleep. I love my sleep, so I’ve got to rely on my fitness!
We’ve purposefully chosen to do the challenge in June in order to benefit from the greatest amount of sunlight although we’ve had a strange flurry of snow in recent days, which I hope has completely gone by June! Whatever the weather, we’ll be completing the challenge, knowing any money raised will be going to the important cause of combating human trafficking.
Cameron: I really enjoyed our big practice walk and was great to get out onto (mainly!) the paths of the South Downs.
We managed to get a sample of sun, wind and have some preparation of these with all our gear on. We also took a slight detour ending up facing off with some cows. We are now prepared for sudden bovine navigation too!
My main learning point was how much I need hot food. At the end of the walk I got a Chinese takeaway and demolished it in my car before setting of home. After a five hour walk, hot food was AMAZING. I hope Tim (our workmate who’ll be driving us between the peaks) knows how to work a gas stove ;)
Next stop Snowdon.
Christine: Oh boy, that first practice hike was a tough and really painful one for me. I made the terrible mistake of not wearing my new hiking boots beforehand. Breaking into new boots and walking for hours left me with a giant torn blister and sore bruising. Despite being in agony and wanting to cry at points, I somehow powered through one limp at a time. Had it not been for those ridiculous boots, I definitely would’ve enjoyed the walk a WHOLE lot more.
Training had to be put on hold for a week to let the injuries heal up. I must admit, the experience has sadly made me a little paranoid about the next practice walk and the challenge. I’ve invested in anti-blister socks and started wearing the boots around the house. Will see how it goes over the next few weeks, but I’m praying that the worst is over.
Next time, I plan to make sure some of my snack supplies are zipped up in my rain jacket pockets for convenient and easy access – the difference that sugar and food makes is insane! I felt like Super Mario getting an instant power-up by a power star. I’m unbelievably grateful for those who’ve sponsored us so far and have offered tips and words of encouragement to keep us going!
Thanks so much for your support!