I have climbed a few mountains in my time – I’ve had the pleasure of reaching the summit of Mount Etna, Mont Blanc (which we’ll attempt again at the end of this Virgin Strive Challenge) and Mount Toubkal, to name a few. I’m currently hiking across Corsica for the second stage of the Virgin Strive Challenge and in some ways it is tougher than any climb I’ve ever done before, as it is ragged rocks the whole way. You have to watch where every step lands – but it is spectacularly beautiful when you have a chance to lift your head up. I would highly recommend it – I’m getting fitter every day and it is more than living up to its reputation as the toughest, most beautiful hike in Europe.
I nearly came a cropper on the hike. As we moved closer to the camp I got excited and started speeding up. People had stopped to rest at a watering hole – so two of us decided to cheekilyrace ahead and beat everyone back. We were being cheeky and walking when people could see us, but when we turned a corner we ran as fast as we could.
When we were in the Arctic, Sam taught me the merits of having a spare ‘pee bottle’ in the tent so you didn’t have to go outside in the freezing cold, and I had packed an empty bottle in my rucksack. As I was running, I tripped and fell heavily, bouncing across the rocks and smashing down on my back. The guy I was with said he thought he heard my spine explode. I lay there for a moment trying to work out how injured I was.
After a few minutes of gingerly checking myself over, I realised I was ok. The pee bottle had saved me! It smashed to smithereens but took the full force of my fall. There were a few drops of blood from a scratch or two but I’m fine. I missed my head by a couple of inches. I feel incredibly fortunate and thankful it wasn’t worse.
Once we have finished hiking for the day, I get back to my tent and collapse and can hardly move, yet when I wake up the next morning, my body has mended. It’s incredible how the body can repair itself with a good night’s sleep. The conditions here are pretty basic – a hole in the ground for a toilet and simple food – but the camaraderie among everyone has been fantastic.
We’ve been having a great laugh along the way, with people taking on extra challenges to raise more funds for Big Change. Even when the climb is incredibly tough, there are still moments to have a bit of fun and laughter.
As you are reading this, we’ve got another massive dayon our hands. All our muscles are sore and screaming out for rest, but we’re going to keep climbing, before heading over to France for the next round of cycling. Find out more about the challenge and why we’re doing it over on the Virgin Strive Challenge website.