This blog is to document my preparations to achieve my dream of walking up Pen Y Fan and I thought the easiest way for me to explain it all would be the answers I gave to my friend’s questions when discussing this idea with her:
Why Pen Y Fan?
Because it’s there! No, I jest :-). I have wanted to climb Pen Y Fan since we visited it on a holiday to the Brecon Beacons a decade or so ago. The family in the holiday accommodation next to us had children of a similar age to mine (around 4 or 5) and they said they were going to walk up the mountain. A few days later I packed the kids and some lunch in to the car and headed out to climb a mountain. We arrived at the Story Arms car park, got out the car and stood gawping at the challenge before us.
I decided kiddos (and myself) were ill prepared for this challenge so I asked them if they wanted to go swimming instead. They have never given a more enthusiastic “yes” since!
But people are walking up there all the time with no preparation. Why do you feel you need to prepare?
That is because I feel it is safer to prepare for such a trek, even if it is considered an easy one that anyone can do. I would hate to have to be rescued from the top of a mountain because I am unwell or get in to trouble that I have not prepared for. Due to my health conditions, it would be most prudent to make Pen Y Fan a long term goal that I work towards, to ensure that I will be able to manage the trek given my health conditions.
So how will your health conditions affect you being able to achieve this?
I have Borderline Personality Disorder with anxiety and depression, which I find is reduced significantly when I get to be out in the countryside. This is one of the reasons why I go Geocaching. However, the M.E./C.F.S. is a hindrance to this as I get easily fatigued and can have a flare up which would make me have to stay in bed for days if I over do things. This is why I need to build up to that distance/ altitude gain. I also have Adrenal Insufficiency which adds to my fatigue and I am not sure how this condition will affect my ability to walk a great distance. And to top it off I have asthma too, which is exacerbated by exercise. Anyway, this project was inspired by watching the Discovery Channel programme about their team’s summit attempt on Everest. I thought if Will Cross, a type 1 diabetic, can climb 8000 or so meters to summit Everest, then I’m sure I will be able to manage 800 or so meters to the summit of Pen Y Fan! Will didn’t summit in 2004 when the documentary was made but he did achieve this in 2006. Read Will’s story here: https://beyondtype1.org/first-t1d-summit-mount-everest/
So why are you doing this now?
Well, I have just submitted my final assignment for university and I was looking for a new challenge. You know me, can’t sit still for long! My degree has taken 7 years to complete (part time) and I feel my life has been all bed and work as mental effort can also trigger M.E. I was pretty much working/doing uni work & sleeping. I feel my health and fitness has suffered significantly as I have not been out walking any great distance for a long time. Covid has not helped the situation though, and at the time of writing Wales is still “closed” but that is OK as I have lots of local walks I can do to increase my fitness for now.
Why write a blog about it?
There are multiple reasons I have decided to write a blog. Firstly, I need to make myself accountable to someone even if it is to anonymous people out on the intermabob. If I do not do this then I take minor set backs as failure and just give up (all part of the fun of BPD! YAY!). I also hope to inform and entertain people with tales of my adventures and overcoming the limitations caused by my chronic illnesses. I mostly would like to connect with other people going through similar experiences to receive encouragement and maybe inspire others that disabilities do not necessarily prevent you from achieving your dreams (although we may need to compromise a bit). I am however, a little nervous about failing spectacularly in public!
I can’t wait for this adventure, I do hope you will join me!
Please feel free to comment, give feedback, share your own challenges and triumphs I would love to read about them.