Rachel: Everest in the Lakes …. GUTS, GUILE…. AND BLISTERS

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Yes I’m a bit driven, but I’ve always been this way.  If I’m doing something, it’s 110% minimum and I love a challenge.  Along with a good game of skittles of course.

But this one was – slightly unexpectedly – the most difficult so far.  Climbing the equivalent of half the height of Mount Everest in two days seemed, on the face of it, not too bad.  But OMG, the reality of climbing nearly 4,500 metres of rocky and often treacherous terrain was much much tougher than I had expected.  Factor in 77 mph winds and solid rain for hours at a time, and you get the picture….. well actually I’d rather you didn’t.  It was truly horrendous.

Plus the blisters…..I’ve never had these before.  Never on the Mount Kilimanjaro climb nor the Macchu Picchu trek.  Nor the New York marathon either.  So all I can say is that I must have been lucky.  Heck, they’re painful.  This was certainly an adult weekend away with a difference

After one day on this latest challenge, I had to literally bind my feet.  Not helped by wet boots.  Have you ever climbed for 12 hours in wet boots?  No I thought not.  You have more sense.  My regret was that instead of hanging my boots overnight to help them dry out after the first day, I stupidly left them on the floor.  So when I put them on for day two, my lovely clean dry socks were instantly wet.

 Everest in the Lakes is a once-a-year event aimed at challenging seasoned hikers and climbers.  It certainly did.  Walking 12 hours a day and carrying up to ten kilos of clobber is not for the faint hearted.  We were literally wading over rocks and through boggy terrain often in the dark.  Spirits waned every time we spotted lights and it wasn’t our bunkhouse.  There was an awful lot of ‘are we nearly there yet.’ As many of you know, good food is part of my DNA and after two days of sandwiches and sweet snacks, all I kept fantasizing about was the promised steak and chips in the pub after the grand descent.  I can honestly say that nothing ever ever tasted that good.  All I needed after that was a good game of skittles to work it off.

 So to all of you who supported me with incredibly generous donations to Cancer Research UK, I have raised over £3.5k at time of writing.  Our massive total stands at £130,000 of which I am incredibly proud.  For those of you who wondered why on earth I spent what felt like the longest weekend of my life going up and down the equivalent of half the height of Everest, you need to know this.  I worked out a few years ago that I’d raise more money by doing some monstrously ghastly challenges.  I’ve jumped out of a plane despite my fear of heights, cycled from London to Paris despite a terror of cycling, conquered altitude sickness in Machu Picchu, loathe camping with a vengeance and as for hiking in the Lake District in gale force winds and torrential rains, it’s really not up there in the top ten of My Favourite Things.

But I did it and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for supporting a charity that means so much to me, my family, my friends, my Serious About Events colleagues and all of you who attend our events and contribute so generously.

 My feet are just about recovered now but I have a whole new respect for ballerinas dancing en pointe, mountaineers halfway up a mountain with no spare pair, and frankly anyone who has to don uncomfortable shoes, wet boots, or soggy trainers and then spend hours and hours in them.