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The Bromley Foundation - Putting Everything In, Taking Nothing Out

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SNOWDON WALK 4th August 2013

Bromley Foundation - Snowdon Event

On the 4th August 2013, 19 ambitious walkers set out to climb Mount Snowdon. Organised by Lee Houghton of Seaforth, the team managed to raise well in excess of £1,000 for the cause.

The group consisting of Joanne Duffy, Stuart Masson, L Jones, Joanne Reason, L Sheils, Puttlewood, P Leonard, M McKenzie, G Whelan, S Robb, Jane Bradburry, Lee houghton, C Dalton, Claire Fleming, Adam Fleming, Joanne Redman and Michael Bromley with their 5-dogs(!); all completed the epic climb despite poor visibility, high precipitation and muggy conditions. Lee houghton from Seaforth commented on how proud he was of all of the team for accomplishing the feat and reaching the summit, so much so that he has already started to plan the next event 'Mastering Ben Nevis'!

Joanne Duffy stated that she is determined to do many more events in the future and hopes to climb Ben nevis with Lee. Claire Fleming of Bromley Foundation added that working for the charity has finally given her the reason she needed to quit smoking and the walk itself has spurred her on to get fit and join a gym! Joanne co-founder said 'I have met some amazing people and although I found it tough, it was completely worth the effort and I would do it again ten times over although next time, I probably won't do it pregnant!"

Michael Bromley the other co-founder added that he will never forget the experience for the rest of his life.

Bromley Foundation are still accepting donations for the Snowdon Climb, to donate online follow the links right of the page. If you wish to send a chq or postal order, details can be found on the 'donate now' page or alternatively you can contact us direct on 01257 274 100 to pay by credit/debit card or BACS.

Read more about the personal experiences of the journey from our walkers below.

Snowdon walk: Jo's Story

Beep Beep Beep... At 4am the alarm woke us from our sleep. Barely light, we scrambled out of bed in search of coffee. As we reached for our dressing gowns and made our way to the landing, we bumped into Claire who was subsequently making her way down to the kitchen. Very little words were spoken whilst we sipped on instant coffee and contemplated the journey ahead. After a quick caffeine fix we departed for the bathrooms. Showered (and shaved), we threw on our dry fit thermals and walking boots, grabbed our bags containing everything from a change of clothes to a high calorie energy fix and made our way to the car. Within 30mins we were on rout to Wales, which considering we had one man and two women (one pregnant) queuing for the bathroom was a feat within itself!

Following a quick collection via Liverpool, Adam, Claire's 13 year old son joined us on the journey and we entertained ourselves along the two hour trip talking about everything from friends past and present to challenges old and new. We arrived at our destination at 7.50am, the journey took a little longer than we had anticipated - or maybe it was down to the navigational skills of the designated driver (just saying)!? Luckily we still arrived before everyone else which gave us just enough time to enquire about the trek ahead.

According to two avid and I would like to add 'advanced walkers' the conditions were harsh, so much so that three of them had to turn back and were unable to complete the walk. I noted the look on Claire's face as I began to explain that the planned walk was not the easiest of routes by any means, in fact the national trust describes it as the third hardest walk suitable for intermediate and advanced walkers only! Ironically, this didn't seem to phase Michael one iota which is ironic considering he had only been In recovery from heart failure for 12-months and prior to this was unable to walk up a flight of stairs and on top of this, still only had a 70% bend in his leg from his last operation.

Before we had time to reflect, the first of the walkers arrived. Joanne and Stuart had stayed over at a local Bed and Breakfast - clearly they were the sensible ones. We registered them on our attendance forms and loaded them with extra chocolate for the journey and thanked them for coming to support both worthy causes. We snapped them at the starting point, all smiles and enthusiasm and I wondered to myself how long it would take before the enthusiasm ran dry, smiles turned to pain and fatigue set in. We got the dogs out of the car - for those of you who don't personally know us, wherever we go, our five hairy hounds follow suit! - and strapped them up to their leads ready to pull us up the mountain. By this point the coach had arrived and Lee was already out greeting everyone and signing autographs, well ok, maybe not signing autographs but he was certainly raising spirits high. Once everyone had signed in we arranged the group photograph with the TEAM and Bromely Foundation banners in tow and then set off to climb a mountain.

The skies were grey and the chance of precipitation was high however that didn't deter anyone from the first leg of the walk. We started up a pathway which whilst relatively steep, didn't seem all that bad. In fact, I started to wonder what all the fuss had been about. That thought soon wavered as we reached the first of the steep climbs. It took us approximately 20mins to reach the top. The best way I can describe it is like putting a stair master on its maximum level and trying to maintain a pace after wiping grease all over the pedals! The rain which had begun to drop and the mist which had started to fall not only made the visibility low but turned the rocks into a mini skating platform. Now the rain I could deal with, as a matter of fact, it cooled me down. The slight detail of being 32-weeks pregnant hadn't hindered my fitness as such but it certainly made me twice as hot! Scared of losing my footing, I spent extra care making sure each step was planned. Unfortunately this did slow me down and if the other walkers became frustrated with my lack of speed, they certainly didn't show it. Quite the opposite in fact. Some began to sing, some cheered and made jokes to spur the other walkers on, some told each other stories about their lives, children and even grandchildren. I on the other hand spent this time concentrating on my feet!

On reaching the top Lee suggested a well earned break with just enough time to grab a bite to eat. At this point the group had broken off into three sections with the group in front holding a quarter mile lead, the group behind trailing approximately a mile behind, then of course there was us. Sitting on top of the ridge we could see Michael, Claire and Adam approaching the steep verge. I didn't envy their trek ahead but I did wonder if and how Michael would make it up such a gradient with only 70% bend in his leg. As they began the climb, we walked on toward the next leg of the journey. A small steep pathway of rocks lay ahead, almost like a formation of steps. Easier than the previous climb yet more harrowing on my personal strength, I sourced ways to reduce the step heights to relieve the pressure off my tummy by zig-zagging along the path - excellent advice from Chris, clearly he had done this before!

By the time we reached the second stage of the climb I was absolutely shattered, boiling hot and soaked to the bone. I was not looking forward to this final climb - 20mins of scrambling lay ahead. I am not sure if it was the look on my face, the fact that one of our walkers in the group had trailed a distance behind or the sheer climb ahead that spurred Lee on to announce another break. The dogs all lay down around the walkers feet and Marlie my white German Shepherd stayed glued to my side. If I could have turned back at this point, I Would be lying if I said I wouldn't have seriously considered it. The fact that the mist was now so thick that I couldn't find my footing easily put a rest to that notion. I consumed as many calories and as much fluid as I could, as did the rest of the group, and prayed that I would make it to the top without needing the ladies room!

The last trek of the journey loomed. This was the highest and most gruelling by far. Owing to visibility we lost the path a few times and ended up walking on razor thin ridges. Strangely, the fear of slipping overcame my fear of heights and moreover took my mind off the fatigue which was now setting in. Again my trusted German Shepherd stayed by my side for the entire climb. If dogs were telepathic then I would swear that she read my mind. At last we hit the top. Only a few hundred yards more to go and we would be at the summit. Jane was struggling now as her knees had begun to seize, Jo-anne helped her reach the peaks and Joanne Duffy was also feeling the effects of the walk. The guys in the group assisted the women in the final leg, helping them up over the last of the rocks, supporting them on what felt like a mile-long path to the summit.

As we walked to the top, we could see the cafe in front, I felt like crying but there was no way I was sitting down before I had been up those final steps to get my photo. On reaching the top I said a quiet prayer and spent a few minutes thinking about all of the kids not just from the ROI and TEAM, but all of the kids suffering from some illness or another and tried to imagine how i would feel if it were my child; it reminded me why we were here. I mentally beat myself for moaning so much on the final leg but of course I soon got over it at the smell of coffee! On entering the coffee shop I not only got presented with a cup of tea from one of the walkers but a huge hug from everyone that had already made it. What a sense of achievement. I asked if anyone had seen Claire or Michael yet and deciding that they had probably given up and gone back, I sat down with the dogs and dried them all off.

It was nearly an hour later when the group decided to set back off to walk down the mountain and just as I was about to leave with them, a very kind gentleman offered me his tickets to go down on the train. I was tempted I have to say, but on cue Claire made an appearance with Adam. I was delighted! I looked around in search of Michael but no sign? Claire told me that she had left him 30mins back because he was struggling climbing up the last leg. This meant he was completely on his own. I panicked and gave the tickets to claire and set off with the group for the journey down. I hoped that if he had turned back I would catch up to him or that we would cross paths at the very least. The fear of something having happened was overwhelming. Suddenly the adrenalin took away all of the fatigue.

Thankfully we had only been walking for around 10mins before I caught sight of him. Walking with his hiking stick and taking baby steps, he had made it up the mountain. I couldn't believe it. I am not going to lie to you, he looked like hell. I made the decision to accompany him to the top, get the train down and send the dogs down with the walkers. What took me 10mins to walk down took us at least 30mins to walk up. Once we finally reached the top and managed to get seated on the train we started to share our experience and that kept us going for the 40min journey down. After reaching the bottom Claire and Adam had hot chocolate waiting for us giving us just enough time to warm up before meeting the rest of the team at the mountain. We greeted each of them as they arrived one by one and took the dreaded after photos. We retrieved our doggies and put them in the pick-up, thanked Lee then set off for the long journey home. It wasn't long before Adam was fast asleep in the car and we were back on the motorway planning our next trek up Ben Nevis - after the baby is born of course!

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