I will start this post quite frankly. Ben Nevis was, by far and away, the hardest thing that I have done this year. I genuinely did not think that it would be quite as difficult as it was. I knew that it would be a challenge (which is why it was picked as one of my 30 things) but the physical and mental struggle that day was constant. With other challenges the nerves / fear / pain et cetera were all fairly swiftly displaced by excitement and even enjoyment. This was not the case for Nevis.
I felt physically sick with the effort. It was a scorching day (at the end of the day I was sporting a rather impressive Ben Nevis Burn, despite applying and reapplying factor 50) and I drank my own body weight in water. I was not alone in struggling in the heat. I could create a catalogue of faces from that day and name it “50 Shades of Red”. Even my husband, a keen hill walker and Nevis veteran, found this particular climb arduous. At times I honestly thought that this would be a challenge that I would not complete. The temptation to turn back and go home was incredibly strong. Had my husband not been ahead of me carrying the water perhaps I would have done, but my thirst kept driving me forward towards him 😄
This is not to say however that I had a bad day (I am fully aware that I sound like I am contradicting myself now). I really loved that I was up in the hills with my husband. Spending time, just the two of us, together while doing something fun doesn’t happen often. Two small children and a full time job do take up a considerable chunk of our lives as I’m sure many of you can emphasise with. I loved sitting at the side of the path with him during our breaks (we took a lot!) and looking at the ever expanding views.
I did burn my bottom on one rest stop though, as the rock I chose as my perch had been heated up quite drastically by the sun, but otherwise the stops were very pleasant. I also, completely by chance, bumped into a chap that I used to go to school with.
He was coming down from the summit as I was, still, on my way up to the top. This encounter was not only lovely and funny, it also provided another chance for me to catch my breath. Win, win! I found it incredible too the amount of charity t.shirts being sported on Ben Nevis.
So so many good causes being represented give me hope for humanity. Also (as mentioned in previous blog posts, I am rather competitive), all of the various groups and individuals I set my sights on during the climb, I managed to beat to the top – Even the tall, tanned, hot blonde whose legs alone were the same length as I am tall. The views from the top, and the elation of getting there, were splendid. That moment when we reached the summit was absolutely amazing. Even with the nausea, jelly limbs, dry throat and ever increasing body temperature, I couldn’t help but smile as though I had got a coat hanger stuck. And, it is quite a cool thought that, for a brief period of time on Saturday, David and I were the highest people in Great Britain.