We would like to wish a massive congratulations to Wendy Merry, the chair and a co-founder of PACT for Autism, who has completed her hike to the top of Ben Nevis as part of our latest fundraiser.
The gruelling 1324 metre climb, with just over 4 miles of walking each way, was completed to raise funds for our PACT families, in support of the mountainous struggles they go through every single day.
The last time I got to the top of a mountain was over 20 years ago. But having a family, and the new challenges that came along, took over. Reaching 50 this year gave me the momentum I needed to go back to that personal goal and at the same time raise much needed funds for our PACT families who face challenges everyday.
Luckily, James enjoys walking so most weekends we managed to get out for a few miles or so, 7 miles managed on one trek with James. Then, when James was at respite, we got to practice hills, 15 miles in the Chilterns! But nothing really could prepare us for what was to come.
The morning of the walk arrived and we dropped into the information centre in Glen Nevis. We were told that the conditions at the top were poor, lots of snow and visibility only up to 10metres in front. Going up the first 3/4s we had great views of the mountains, valleys and lochs, and very comfortable temperatures. But once we entered the clouds, conditions changed alarmingly quickly. At one point we had a very steep incline of thick snow to get up without sliding down as the sheer drop of the north face was only about 10 metres to the left of us.
Reaching the top was very emotional, especially as a walker asked about my PACT flag pinned that my rucksack. I explained that my son has severe autism. The emotions hit me at that point and I felt very proud to be doing something for James and all the PACT families like mine.
A big thank you to everyone who sponsored me, raising just under £1,300!! But most thanks goes to my partner John, for all the planning and being by my side the whole way.