I wasn’t sure what to expect when I agreed to do the Three Peaks challenge. I didn’t really think about it, except that I was bit worried about needing the loo on a mountain and wondering whether my fear of heights would present any problems. This is what I found…

Snowden: The first mountain and probably the most fun. My legs, although probably surprised about this sudden burst of activity, were willing to accept this change of pace. There were also lots of sheep bleating and frolicking on the mountain which entertained me more than I should probably admit.

Scafell Pike: I’m going to confess. I got a bit cocky. I woke up feeling fine and had already conquered one mountain. Yet within ten minutes on Scafell Pike all my confidence evaporated and my calves were screaming. I stopped talking (quite unsettling for anyone that knows me) and had to get in the zone. Yet I got to the top, managed not to have a tantrum, had a photo with purple pom poms at the summit and practically skipped back down the path; half delighted I had made it and half desperate for it to be over!

Ben Nevis: I was preparing for the worst after my shock that I hadn’t suddenly become an expert mountaineer. I told myself I’d be miserable for at least six hours as we’d saved the longest hike for last. But I took it slow, stopped worrying about being a bit a lot sweaty and I loved it. I also discovered that a celebratory babybel probably tastes better than a meal at a Michelin star restaurant.

So, what have learnt?

  • You’re only as good as your team mates and luckily the group I had the privilege of climbing with were fantastic
  • You definitely forget about vertigo when you have watch every step your feet take on the scree* path
  • You will also definitely need a wee on a mountain. In hindsight I would recommend probably not announcing it to the group
  • When you have to spend 12 hours driving home from Glen Nevis climbing another mountain suddenly becomes very appealing. No, really.

But most importantly, as I stood on each mountain completely captivated by the breath taking views, I was reminded of Willow’s mission: to enable young adults with life threatening illness and those close to them to take full advantage of what life has to offer.

I didn’t think about what the experience would mean to me but in those moments I understood even more the importance of being able to live life to fullest. And all my aches and pains were forgotten.

I am proud of myself. Proud of Team Willow. And also quite emotional about the Special Days that will happen because of what we were able to achieve.

Finally, a huge thank you to Joe, Ricky and all the team at Greenrock for keeping us safe, reminding us to stretch and entertaining us even on the most relentless parts of the challenge.

Also a special mention to my mountain partner in crime, Suzie, who waited at the top of Ben Nevis for me so we could have a final mountain selfie!

*Scree: a new word I learnt meaning ‘collection of broken rock fragments’ and is apparently acceptable to climb on.

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