Monday, 18 May 2009

No Guarentees!

So, am back after the big 3 peak challenge! Despite me saying that I would get up and down all three mountains despite my toe injury I'm afriad I only managed Ben Nevis and 3/4 of Scafell.

I flew up to Glasgow Wednesday morning and worked from our local C&W office. We picked up the mini-bus with the rest of the team aprox 7pm at Glasgow airport and headed up to Ben Nevis. The drive up to Ben Nevis was amazing - great views around Loch Lomond, very beautifull and will definetly go back in more relaxing circumstances! We arrived at our bunk house around 10pm and had a quick bite to eat and couple of drinks before heading to sleep in the lovely bunk beds (The Lowry it was not!).
As we were not starting until 5pm on the Thursday we spent the day in Fort William, grabbing a deluxe Morrisons breakfast first thing and then sat in the park enjoying the sunshine (yep it was very very sunny and I think I may be the first person to get burnt by the Scottish sun!).
5pm we all began the decent up Ben Nevis.

The views on the walk up where amazing

It took me three hours to get to the top of Ben Nevis - as we neared the summit there was a lot of snow every step forward I slipped back 2 which was very frustrating!
Myself and two others reached the top first, we waited for about 20mins for some of our party to catch up with us but we got so cold we started heading back down. We met up with 2 other crew members a short distance from the top and they continued on as we headed down.

Coming back down was really painfull on my toe - every step forward my toe was hitting the end of my walking boots which was far from pleasant! And as we hit the rocky parts I knocked my toe quite a few times. It therefore took me nearly as long to get down Ben Nevis as it took to get up!

Getting to the bottom was very emotional, but also very proud! There where a few points where I thought I wouldn't be able to do it!

Once at the bottom it became apparent that one of the guys we had passed near the top was in trouble. He had injured his knee and could barely walk, luckily another member of the team was with him but was having to half carry him most of the way down. One of the drivers started to make his way up to give them some assistance. Luckily all where safely down but it took another hour and a half so we were quite behind time as we set off for Scafell.

I managed to sleep really well on the drive to Scafell and kept my foot raised hoping that the swelling would go down by the time we arrived.
We got to Scafell at aprox 8am. This time just 6 of us headed up. Scafell is a much shorted climb that Ben Nevis but its a harder climb as steeper. Unfortunatly the weather was not on our side as it had been when climbing Ben Nevis. The weather was awful, raining and very windy.

The stones were very slippery walking up and it soon became apparent that this was not just down to the rain. There were lots of National Trust workers replacing a lot of the path - apparently when the path was originally laid the stones were put in the wrong way up which is causing the stones to be more slippy. The path up Scafell was also very narrow and with the wind there were times I thought I was going to be blown off the side (even a sturdy girl like me!!).

When we were aprox 3/4 of the way up I decided that I couldn't continue - the wind and narrow path was making me feel unsafe and I was really worried about the climb down with my toe. So myself and 2 of the team headed back down and 3 others carried on - although they also turned back shortly after due to the conditions etc.

It didnt take too long to get down and luckily I had the shoulder of a team member to help me down and managed to not knock my toe as often as the way down Ben Nevis.

Once we were all down and back loaded into the mini-bus we set off for Snowdon. I knew that I wouldn't be able to climb this one. My toe was described as a beacon of red light that the guys could use to guide them down Snowdon later on! We arrived at Snowdon at 5pm - so therefore would not be hitting the 24 hr deadline.

3 of the team headed up. The conditions here were also bad. The cloud level was very low and it was raining. There were a lot of pen aople hanging around waiting for people to get back down - one group had gone up at 9am that morning and were still not back!

I think it was aprox 10:30 when our three got down to the bottom and we packed up again and headed for home.

Getting home and sleeping in my own bed was bliss! Waking up Saturday morning I realised that I need to take myself to A&E to have my toe checked out as it was not looking pretty (photo at the end of this blog, its gross - u have been warned!). My friend Paul drove me across to Wexham and I joined the queue to see a doctor.

The doctor took me straight into theatre and anaethatised the toe (which fyi injections into your big toe really hurts - I guess because toes are quite bony with not much flesh), it took 3 injections to numb my toe up. She then pierced the nail to release the blood trapped underneath - gross but a relief at the same time. Luckily she managed to save the nail but it wouldn't be looking good for a few weeks so it looks like no sandals/flip-flops for me this summer!

So I would like to say a massive thank-you to everyone that sponsored me with this challange - and also apologise for not completing all of it. I am going to return to all peaks and do them again - but rather than rush it over a 24 hour period I am going to do it over a weekend and enjoy the climbing and the views.

The famous toe, pre and post treatment:-

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