Updated: Sep 17
Sometimes you just need a great bunch of people around you and someone silly enough to offer up a piggyback to you get you to the highest point in England!
Recently, I decided that I needed some adventure back in my life (I've been pretty chilled since moving back to the UK) and booked a weekend away with 11 complete strangers with the intention of hiking to the highest point in England (Scafell Pike) and wild swimming. So in August, I packed my bag, loaded the car and off I went!
We've had such a beautiful summer with the weather that I've felt the effects of arthritis the least I have in years! Typically, the week before I went up to the Lake District, my knees started to swell and the inevitable rain descended! I considered cancelling and staying at home instead but knew that I'd regret it so plodded on.
The morning of the hike I woke up stiff and in pain after a night of socialising and making new friends. I stuffed my bag full of layers, water and snacks before strapping up my knee (essential!) for support and lacing up my hiking shoes.
Half an hour in and I'd said at least 3 times I was heading back to the car. My knees, hips and ankles were all screaming at me to STOP!
Well, it turns out anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you, as sure enough a few hours later we were stood at the highest point in England, the summit of Scafell Pike, watching the mist roll in. Everyone was so encouraging and supportive all the way up, willing to slow down the pace, take a ridiculous amount of breaks and (literally) carrying me up to ensure we all made it to the top! We started the weekend out as 12 strangers in a BnB and standing at the summit we were 12 friends, laughing and joking together.
Thinking I wasn't going to make it to the top because of a condition that I have never let stop me made it even more special when I eventually got there! I was SO proud of myself and grateful for amazing people and sheer stubbornness!
Waking up the next morning knowing that I'd managed what had felt impossible the day before, and not only that, but having the ability to walk and not be in pain was amazing!
We spent the next day walking again and headed wild swimming. I've always thought these people choosing to swim in freezing waters were bonkers, but after doing it, I can see why they do it. After the initial shock of the temperate, your body gets used to it and (dare I say it) you can enjoy yourself! I can definitely see why they say it's good for the mind and body! Didn't hurt I could run straight to the car and put the heating on straight away!
1 peak down, now just the other two to go! Watch this space...