It’s been a while since my last post but in my defence I have been a little tied up. So since my last post I have mainly been climbing mountains as you may have heard !!!
Climbing mountains is what this post is all about.
Most of you will have seen us in the media recently and so why bother reading more of the same? Well just to point out that the blog gives me a great way of speaking my thoughts, which most of you will have realised is rather hard for me as emotion gets in the way.
So crazy idea? I thought it was a very achievable idea, it did start as a bit of a laugh but after discussing the idea with Alex Thomas of Access for Wheelchairs, we decided it was do able with muscle and ramps, oh and plenty of battery power. A core group was put together, me, Liz, Danny and Alex. More joined with my carer Tracey and Paul another gym instructor and Matt from A4W. Another friend Mike and his girlfriend were to join us but were gutted when ill health stopped him, possibly a bad curry, I’ll say no more.
I personally had took on the task of sourcing accommodation which was made for a cracking price of £30 per night inclusive of full English breakfast, bring it on, yep youth hostel here we come or so I thought? Turns out it was only me who thought that this was a top plan. My wife Liz was far from impressed. Sigh of relief when we arrived to find out it was very reasonable and had one of the best disabled wet rooms I have ever seen. So after an interview with Marie Curie and a bite to eat it was bed, took me back to my school days , sharing a room lol.
Morning was upon us, breakfast done, chair had its second battery attached, and it was off to load up and meet the media. Everyone was in great spirits and the weather was fantastic.
It all seemed a little surreal been followed by what appeared to be an entourage, everyone had ladened me up like a pack horse. The first stage of the Llamberis path is a tarmac road, steep but easy, well for me at least lol. Then hell appeared, rocks, natural made steps, it was fair to say health and safety were as welcome as a fart in a space suit, anyway with guidance from Alex we were all over it or was it all over for us as the chair overheated. Alex was now under pressure, 3 film crews were recording, everything had to come off the chair except me and Dillon (our drone) it was overloaded and once it had cooled and the sides were removed to allow better cooling we were off , well till there was an issue with the second battery , more on that later.
So as time passed so did the meters, now relentless isn’t a word I normally use unless it’s for a brand of energy drink , but the continuous pounding on my head, neck and back really was relentless. Just as you thought the worst was over it got worse. Finally the half way house and a rest. Drinks and food all round then, Liz suggested getting Dillon out but I was quick to point out that he weights that of a jey cloth and the local seagull was flapping for Wales and going backwards. After getting bored of waiting for Liz who was tapping everyone and thing up for sponsorship we got on and left her. Once again it got worse than before. Around the corner lay what I can describe as the stairway to heaven, or should I say hell.
I began to think we were beat, but out came the ramps, determination and grit that powered us up, along with onlookers telling us we were nearly there.
If you remember earlier I mentioned the batteries. Well at this point my original battery was drained but the second battery kept cutting out, it was discovered to be an problem with the chairs tilting function, which caused issues with the added cabling, but this was rectified with a spanner or two. We made it to the ¾ mark. So threw the small train tunnel and I can’t repeat my words but the sheer height of what we had climbed was now very apparent.
Even more alarming was what we thought was the last push, what can be best described as a wall with lots of bolders on with no clear path. Then probably the most insane thing I have ever heard came out, not sure who from, why don’t we go up the grass, please remember there no room for error , slip and your gone, Dan the ramp man was sent to scope out getting back on the path, with the all clear it was full speed up the grass with Alex and Paul pushing, oh no we over heated, one solution, wait. Alex casually let go saying it won’t move, Paul wasn’t as sure and didn’t let go, after the longest 5 minutes of my life I was off.
Now it has since been brought to my attention that I am a self confessed action junkie, I have decided that this is true how ever been strapped to a 175kg chair and being helpless does put a different slant on things. Finally been back on the right path was feeling good and we started to believe we had done it, film crews were interviewing while we carried on, battery life was a major issue and we found out that we only had 20 minutes to make it to the train back down, rather than take the path we opted to take the train line to the finish.
This was probably the most exciting and insane part as it was a sheer drop of the side. With amps to spare we made it to applause and it was that close I had to be pushed on the train as both batteries were gone.
Emotion took hold as it sunk in what we had achieved, but it was a team effort and my only disappointment is we didn’t all get time together at the top, my girls Lilly and poppy weren’t able to be there nor did Dillon get to fly.
Although it started as a daft idea, I ended up feeling a massive sense of achievement, we did a first, we raised awareness and raised a lot of money for Marie Curie and Dove House, so onwards and upwards.