Well why did I apply, I guess two reasons really, To help encourage the young people on the week away and as development for myself as a person.
Why I wanted to get on the program:
I’ve always liked the outdoor life since I was a kid, I was always out and about, well to be honest Mum used to kick me out at first light in the summer holidays and wouldn’t let me back in the house till last light, so I kind of got used to it. when I got out of short trousers I joined the forces it was the life outside I really liked and sooooooo much time was spent outside back then, but i guess that’s a different blog for another time…….back to the reasons…..like I said I love being outside and having some adventure, last year I was approached by one of my drivers who asked me to look at his application for some outward-bound mentors program and wanted me as his Manager to sign this off for him, after reading it and looking at what it was all about it grabbed my attention and made me think of applying, however last year I was working on a different charity project for a well know royal charity…you know the one from Wales with the feathers as its logo so I couldn’t really apply at that time.
Part of that project I was working on was a challenge to raise a large some of money as an enterprise, and consisted of 10 Managers from around DHL. One of the fund-raising ideas was to climb Ben Nevis, the question was asked ” Who Wants to do it” and me being me jumped and said “I’m up for that chaps, when do we go” well that was in the June and the climb was in the September, over the next few months we all trained, well when I say trained we went out on a few walks and spoke about it a lot.
The day came and 8 of us ( there were 4 from the group and 4 friends) set off up this big hill in Scotland, Half the team set off at a pace as one of them need to catch a plane back to london that night, the rest of us started to pace ourselves up the long climb ahead.
Why am I telling all this? don’t worry keep reading it will all come clear !
Below the team at the start, that’s me on the right faced all smudged out, no other reason than a perfect rain drop on the camera lens lol and yes for those of you that count the team No.8 is taking the picture: left to right: Jamie (I got a plane to catch) ,Richard (I can’t stop I don’t like heights), Dave (the real mountain goat in the team), Dante (that looks like a short cut) ,Mark (keep your head up) ,Emilie (Miss Pingu I need to stick my arms out to balance) & Me (Christ are we there yet). and Gary ( The Silver Fox) taking the picture
well 20 minutes in and it was time to reflect on how little we trained, well when I say we what I really mean is me, and the fact that yes 20 years prior when I was dress in Green I would have gone up the hill like a mountain goat.
After about 45 mins in I got the ‘why’ syndrome you know the one….why O why am I doing this, I must be off my rocker…….its then I think I looked for some inspiration and started to think of some of the less fortunate people who have completed challenges, one springs to mind I thought of on that day and that was Young Ben Macbean, the Royal Marine that lost his legs on an IED and befriended Prince Harry. Only a few weeks prior I had watch a TV program of him climbing base camp and thought to myself he done that and I’m moaning that I feel a little tired….mmmmm that got me going again, but not only that thought, it was having a great team around me to encourage me and each other.
Below: Dave stop talking and let me breath!
We all found the going tough to some degree but we stuck together and made it to the top in a fair time. Now the feeling I got from standing on the top of the highest peak in the UK was fantastic but was made even better was the thought I almost gave up and didn’t.
Below Me on top of Ben, feeling very proud of what I’d just done
Below: Back at the car park in time for tea and medals (All eight made it up and down, 5 in the photo two gone to catch plane Jamie and Gary and one taking picture Emilie)
So back to the start of this post why did I apply?
If I can help and encourage others to achieve their goals and make them feel like I felt when I achieved mine, I would be very happy. it would be great for these kids to see what they can do if they put their mind to it, there’s more to life than a PS3 or who’s got the best trainers. The Ben Challenged was a life changing day for me and I hope the kids that we get to mentor get the same feeling of achievement. Just for the record only two of the team with me knew each other when we started out that morning, we are now all very good friends.
Since Climbing Ben I have with different members from the team climbed Snowden, done regular trips to the Breacons with a bit of wild camping thrown in for good measure, walks around the peaks and lots of long weekend walks around the countryside. I’ll be doing Scafel pike in the near future and that challenge I spoke about…… but more about these in other posts.