China Trek Day 5 - Badaling Great Wall view

Great Wall of China Trek: Day 5 – Badaling section

So we’re now onto day 5, the final day of the trek and my final post about my Great Wall of China trek for scoliosis.

In case you are new to my blog or have missed any posts, I’m blogging about my Great Wall of China trek that I did to raise money for the Scoliosis Campaign fund a few weeks ago.

If you want to catch up, you can check out my other posts below…

Great Wall of China Trek: Day 1 – Jinshanling Loop

Great Wall of China Trek: Day 2 – Gubeikou Section

Great Wall of China Trek: Day 3 – Mutianyu section

Great Wall of China Trek Day 4 – Huanghuacheng

By doing this trek, I have managed to raise over £1000 for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund which I am incredibly proud of. If you’d like to support me and everyone who suffers from scoliosis, you can still donate to my page by clicking here.


Great Wall of China Trek: Day 5 – Badaling section

So after a random breakfast of cabbage, spring rolls and potato type things we left the hotel where we had spent the past two nights and headed to the Badaling section of the wall. As it was the last day of the trek today, it was a shorter day of trekking (still about 4-5 hours though). This was because we had to head into central Beijing later that afternoon for an acrobat show and a massage (an interesting experience, more on that later).

We travelled by coach to the Badaling section of the wall. Apparently this is the most popular section of the wall that tourists visit when they come to Beijing and as soon as we arrived, we could tell. In sharp contrast to the previous days of isolated trekking, there were coach loads of tourists here.

We were also very high up in the mountains today, which meant it felt much colder than the previous days of trekking. And typically today was the day where we had all taken our hats, gloves and scarves etc out of our backpacks as we hadn’t needed them on the previous days! Ah well, as soon as we started walking up the steep steps we warmed up!

China Trek Day 5 - Badaling Great Wall

It was very misty when we arrived due to how high we were and also how cold it was. The first part of the walk today started with a steep climb up a combination of steps and paved walkways until we reached the top. To be honest, today was much easier than some of the previous days because this section of the wall has been recently renovated.

China Trek Day 5 - Badaling Great Wall

There were also hand rails to actually hold onto (which felt a bit like cheating, but was very welcome after 4 days of trekking!) A few people in the group were feeling tired and a bit fed up today and to get through this last day was a real challenge.

China Trek Day 5 - Badaling Great Wall

As we got higher and higher, the mist cleared and the views were simply stunning, which helped to boost morale. I think they were some of my favourite views of the week as we were literally above the clouds. There were also less people the higher we went, as most tourists will just stay near the bottom of this part of the wall (I don’t blame them either!!).

China Trek Day 5 - Badaling Great Wall view from the top
Badaling Great Wall view from the top
China Trek Day 5 - Badaling Great Wall
Steep!

As with every day of the challenge, this part of the wall had some VERY steep parts which I found much worse coming down. There was definitely no relief on the last day.

China Trek Day 5 - Badaling Great Wall
We did it!!

Once we got to the bottom we had a celebratory beer as a group. I couldn’t quite believe that it was all over and that we’d managed to complete the challenge! I felt quite sad that it was all over but also proud of what I had achieved. It truly was an amazing experience and what I loved was that every day was different. Badaling was how I imagined the wall to be after seeing it online or on TV. However, some parts of the wall such as Huanghuacheng and Gubeikou were not like anything I could have imagined. As they were so old and un-renovated, they offered a completely different perspective and experience altogether.

China Trek Day 5 - Badaling Great Wall
Celebratory Beers

We had our lunch on the coach and then headed into Beijing that afternoon where we had a few treats to celebrate our achievements. We went to watch a Chinese acrobat show, which was an experience and then headed to have a massage. This wasn’t exactly the most relaxing of experiences to be honest!! I ended up with bruises all over my legs put it that way..

After the massage we had our evening meal and a few drinks before heading back to our hotel, ready for a day of sightseeing in Beijing on our last day before heading home.

 

 

China Trek Day 4 - Huanghuacheng - views

Great Wall of China Trek Day 4: Huanghuacheng

Hi everyone,

I’m slowly making my way through blogging about my Great Wall of China trek that I did to raise money for the Scoliosis Campaign fund a few weeks ago.

If you want to catch up, check out the posts below…

Great Wall of China Trek: Day 1 – Jinshanling Loop

Great Wall of China Trek: Day 2 – Gubeikou Section

Great Wall of China Trek: Day 3 – Mutianyu section

By doing this trek, I have managed to raise over £1000 for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund which I am incredibly proud of. If you’d like to support me and everyone who suffers from scoliosis, you can still donate to my page by clicking here.


Great Wall of China Trek Day 4: Huanghuacheng

So, onto day 4 and for me, the toughest day of the week. This section was called Huanghuacheng, also known as the “Yellow Flower” section due to the beautiful yellow flowers/trees that surround this section of the wall.

China Trek Day 4 - Huanghuacheng
Yellow flowers at Huanghuacheng

We drove to a small village called Xishuiyu, where the trek started with a very challenging uphill climb through a thick forest to get up onto the wall. This part was rocky and slippy underfoot, especially because we had the first bit of rain of the week.

 

China Trek Day 4 - Huanghuacheng
China Trek Day 4 – rain will not stop us!

We kept going for around an hour or two until we reached the wall, which was very old and one of the most challenging parts to walk on.

As a result, it was very quiet, which I liked. Although we were told that this section is popular with backpackers, it’s not really a touristy part of the wall. Mainly because it is very challenging to walk on and it’s also quite far out of Beijing. That’s one of the main things I loved about this trek though, I felt like we got to see parts of the wall that tourists don’t usually see, which felt quite special. 🙂

China Trek Day 4 - Huanghuacheng 8
China Trek Day 4 – Made it onto the wall! Very overgrown…

The next part was VERY challenging. The terrain was very rocky, steep and slippy and there were trees and plants growing all over the wall.

China Trek Day 4 - Huanghuacheng steep
China Trek Day 4 – steep!

My biggest fear was slipping as it was pretty treacherous in parts and there were bits where we actually had to scramble up and down the slippy rocks. My Mount Snowdon training definitely came in useful here I can tell you!

China Trek Day 4 - Huanghuacheng 4

China Trek Day 4 - Huanghuacheng

We kept going until we reached some verrry steep steps (there is definitely a theme here…) and then we had a break for lunch.

China Trek Day 4 - Huanghuacheng steep steps
China Trek Day 4 – steep steps!

Lunch today was rice for me (as a vegetarian) and “Hot Boxes” for everyone else, which were basically curry and rice which heated themselves – pretty cool.

After lunch it was decision time. Some of the group would now head back to the coach, whereas the rest of us were given the option to trek up THE STEEPEST thing I have ever walked up. No word of a lie. Now I like a challenge, so obviously I gave it a go. But it was pretty scary as it was so high up and the ascent was ridiculously steep. There is a picture below of what we waked up…

China Trek Day 4 - Huanghuacheng - scary
Yeah, we walked up that…

I took a few pictures while I was up there but in all honestly I was too scared to stop and turn round to take more. I don’t suffer with a fear of heights usually but I got a bit of vertigo up there I must admit.. if you don’t like heights then you would not like this!

China Trek Day 4 - Huanghuacheng - scary
Steep trek up!

When we reached the top though the views of the Xishuiyu Reservoir and the surrounding mountains and wall were just stunning, so it was worth it.

China Trek Day 4 - Huanghuacheng - view from the top
Huanghuacheng – view from the top

However, we had to get down and for me this was the most terrifying bit of the whole trip! The descent down was a series of almost vertical steep slopes. There was nothing to hold onto and it was quite slippy, as it had rained earlier. To get down we were told to walk leaning backwards to try and keep our balance. I nearly slipped a few times! My walking poles saved my life here, literally. I didn’t take many pictures here as I couldn’t really safely stop but the below may give you an idea, although they don’t really do the steepness justice. It honestly looked worse when you were there believe it or not!

China Trek Day 4 - Huanghuacheng - scary walk down
Huanghuacheng – scary walk down
China Trek Day 4 - Huanghuacheng - scary walk down
Huanghuacheng – scary walk down

It was utter relief to make it down in one piece to the waiting bus and a beer at the bottom I can tell you!

So it was the end of day 4 and back onto the bus for the journey back to the hotel. Tonight we visited a Jade factory and had our dinner there which was interesting. A few people bought some Jade jewellery, which was beautiful, but I’m just tight and didn’t want to pay for anything haha.

China Trek Day 4 - Huanghuacheng - food
Foooood!

We then headed back to the hotel for a few drinks before heading to bed for the last day of trekking – day 5 Badaling.

Great Wall of China Trek Day 3 Mutianyu section 12

Great Wall of China Trek: Day 3 – Mutianyu section

Hi everyone,

After posting about day 1 and day 2 of my Great Wall of China trek last week, I’ve finally had chance to sit down and write day 3. It still doesn’t feel real like I actually did it!

I’m so pleased that by doing this trek I have managed to raise OVER £1,000 for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund!

I’m going to leave my sponsor page open for donations until the end of November, so if you’d like to donate and support me and others with scoliosis, you can so so via this link.  🙂

So I think day 3 was my favourite day out of the whole trek mainly because of the variety. On day 3, we tackled Mutianyu section of the Wall, and then a challenging trek down the appropriately named “Heavenly Staircase” followed by a toboggan ride back down again (had to be done!)


Great Wall of China Trek: Day 3 – Mutianyu section

After breakfast, we drove out to the village of Xihazi, and the day began with a stiff climb up towards the tower of Zhenbeilou. This was very tough as the terrain was very steep, rocky and slippy as we were climbing through a forest. It took about 2 hours of climbing uphill before we even reached the wall.

 Great Wall of China Trek Day 3 Mutianyu section

Once we reached the wall itself, it was rocky, un-renovated and overgrown with plants and trees. It was also very steep again, making it a real challenge.

Great Wall of China Trek Day 3 Mutianyu section 1

Great Wall of China Trek Day 3 Mutianyu section 4
Difficult terrain

We kept going on terrain like this until we reached the peak, where we stopped for lunch.

Great Wall of China Trek Day 3 Mutianyu section 17

Today, we had a special treat for lunch and a break from the strange yellow bread of day 1 and 2. We had a Subway! Yes, a Subway on the Great Wall of China.. very random, but very tasty, especially after all that walking!

Great Wall of China Trek Day 3 Mutianyu section 5

At this point, there was also the opportunity to buy a ribbon, on which people wrote messages to loved ones and tied them to the trees on the wall. I thought the red ribbons looked really pretty and I know some members of the group found this part quite emotional.

Great Wall of China Trek Day 3 Mutianyu section 6

After lunch, we headed to the more touristy and renovated part of the Mutianyu section. This part was slightly easier in terms of the terrain but still very steep and tough on the knees! The views were amazing, and as today was quite misty, it made it feel quite magical, like something out of Game of Thrones (even though I don’t watch it!)

Great Wall of China Trek Day 3 Mutianyu section 8

After walking for a while, we approached the extremely steep “Heavenly Staircase.” This was definitely a challenge and quite scary in parts as it was so steep but the views were breathtaking.

Great Wall of China Trek Day 3 Mutianyu section 10

Great Wall of China Trek Day 3 Mutianyu section 16
Heavenly Staircase

After tackling the endless steps and walking a bit further, it was decision time! Some of the group would head back down to the coach on the cable cars while myself and a few others decided to go for the infamous toboggan (why not?)

Great Wall of China Trek Day 3 Mutianyu section 18

After another hour or so of walking we finally made it to the toboggan which was an experience! I have to say at this point, I was dubious and slightly worried about hurting my back (in case someone rammed into the back of me). But it was so fun! I’m really glad I did it and I kind of wish I’d filmed it like some of the others in our group did, but I was too busy holding on!! I went quite slowly so it was all good..

Great Wall of China Trek Day 3 Mutianyu section 13
Great Wall of China Toboggan

After the toboggan, we headed to Subway (yes, Subway) at the bottom of the wall for a well earned drink. Yes the Subway in China served alcohol. Winner!

 

We then piled onto the coach after another amazing day and headed back to the hotel for a shower, change and dinner.

China Trek Day 2 - Gubeikou

Great Wall of China Trek: Day 2 – Gubeikou Section

After a good nights sleep we all awoke – stiff and in pain from all the steep steps of day 1 – and hobbled down to breakfast.

Today we were walking to the start point on the Gubeikou wall and so no need to get the coach, although the coach would be waiting at the end of the walk, so after breakfast we had to pack all our stuff and put it on the coach ready.

We also made our packed lunch again (same yellow bread as day 1) and filled up our water bottles ready for the trek ahead.


Great Wall of China Trek: Day 2 – Gubeikou Section

When we were all ready, at around 8.30 am we started walking through the pretty little village of Gubeikou to the start point of the trek.

China Trek Day 2 - Gubeikou village
China Trek Day 2 – Gubeikou village

It was a steep and challenging ascent up to the top of the wall(especially with sore calves from day 1) but the views were amazing on the way up.

China Trek Day 2 - Hike up to Gubeikou
Views on the hike up to Gubeikou – you can see the wall on the top of the mountain ahead

The Gubeikou section of the wall was completely different from the Jinshanling section on day 1. It was not restored/well preserved. It was rugged and crumbly with uneven terrain which was difficult to walk on in parts, there were also some really narrow sections with huge drops either side, which was quite scary for some people in our group.

China Trek Day 2 - narrow section of the wall at Gubeikou
Narrow section of the wall at Gubeikou

Despite this, I quite enjoyed this part of the wall. It’s more how I imagined the walking to be on this challenge and it was far less touristy – in fact we didn’t see another soul on this part of the wall, except for another charity walking group like us.

China Trek Day 2 - Gubeikou

After walking for a while we had a break which was a chance for a quick rest and to take in those amazing views. We were lucky again with the weather today, around 16 degrees and pure blue skies which meant the views were stunning.

China Trek Day 2 - rest stop at Gubeikou
China Trek Day 2 – rest stop at Gubeikou

China Trek Day 2 - Gubeikou

After the break and a quick snack, there was a very steep climb up to one of the towers in the distance. This bit was very challenging as the terrain was uneven and there were some bits where we had to scramble up and over rocks.

China Trek Day 2 - Gubeikou steep climb up
China Trek Day 2 – Gubeikou steep climb up
China Trek Day 2 - Gubeikou steep climb up
China Trek Day 2 – Gubeikou steep climb up

After the steep climb we stopped for lunch and the views again were breathtaking.

China Trek Day 2 - Views from the top at Gubeikou
China Trek Day 2 – Views from the top at Gubeikou

Then came the descent back down, which I actually found harder than going up as it was a challenge not to slip as the path was steep and quite sandy and slippy in places. In fact, I had my first slip on the way down the Gubeikou section. Luckily I was ok but I bruised my leg and knee quite a bit.

After a long and challenging day, we headed back to the coach and the drive to the next place we were staying. It was actually a hotel tonight (Shuangyang Hotel) rather than a lodge and we were in more of a built up area rather than the middle of nowhere like the last two nights.

On first glance the hotel looked nice and quite fancy compared to where we had been staying the previous two nights. However the downside was that there was no heating because the certain parts of the city of Beijing are not allowed to switch heating on until the 11th November! So it was verrry cold.

Tonight, we had a few hours to spare before the evening meal so we showered and changed and decided to head out into the area we were staying and explore.

We had time to visit a couple of supermarkets and that was an experience as everyone was staring at us!

I fancied some crisps but it appears they only have strange flavoured crisps in China..I settled for some cucumber crisps as I was intrigued, but they weren’t great in all honesty..

 

China Trek Day 2 - Cucumber Crisps
China Trek Day 2 – Cucumber Crisps

We then headed back to the hotel for food and it was another nice Chinese meal.

China Trek Day 2 - Chinese Meal

There was no bar (Chinese hotels don’t tend to have bars which I found very odd) so we sat in the lobby and chatted for a bit before heading to bed, it was very cold though so we didn’t stay up too late tonight.

We then headed back to our rooms and packed our bags ready for day 3 and the move to the next hotel.

 

China Trek Day 1 - Jinshanling Loop

Great Wall of China Trek: Day 1 – Jinshanling Loop

Hi guys!

Well I’m back from China and what a fabulous experience it was. I wanted to write a blog post each day I was there but I didn’t have my laptop in China and so I thought I’d write a day by day update now I’m back.

Overall, I had an amazing time and met some truly inspirational people, who all had personal challenges to overcome.

Fitness wise, it was challenging but surprisingly I didn’t find it too bad. The bigger challenge for me was the rough terrain and the steepness, as slipping was a real concern.

I think all the running I did beforehand really helped with the fitness side though. Before I went, I was worried about how my back would cope and I was right to worry. On day 3 I managed to injure my shoulder, which was very painful for the remainder of the trip.

I think this was a result of carrying a heavy back pack while trekking. My shoulder is still very sore and it feels like I have torn the muscles there. Due to my scoliosis, I already had weakness there, as the muscles are weaker on one side. This is where I have also strained my muscles previously by running. So I think the combination of the heavy back pack and swinging of the walking poles must have been pulling on this and it kind of re-ignited the previous injury.

In all honestly, I was a bit upset by this, as I wasn’t able to carry a backpack for days 4 and 5. This made me feel like a bit of a failure, like my back let me down and it also made me feel like I’m not invincible!

Luckily, everyone was so kind and carried my kit and water for me so I could continue on with the challenge (even though it was very painful).

The best part was that I managed to raise OVER £1,000 for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund! I really can’t believe it and I’m so grateful to everyone who donated and made this possible.

I’m going to leave my page open for donations until the end of November, so if you’d like to donate and support me and others with scoliosis, you can so so via this link.  🙂


Day 1: Jinshanling Loop

We had arrived in Beijing the previous afternoon, very tired and very jet lagged! After checking into the Impression Lodge and having a brief use of the WiFi, we headed to the restaurant for a yummy Chinese meal and a couple of beers. This was a chance to get to know the others in the group a bit more (some of us had already met in the airport/on the plane) – there were 17 of us all together.

As we were all tired, after a couple of drinks and a briefing about plans for the next day, we headed back to our rooms and packed our day sacks ready for the first day of trekking.

China Trek Day 1-Impression Lodge
China Trek Day 1-Impression Lodge

On day 1, we woke up early and headed to breakfast, after which we made our packed lunches, which consisted of strange yellow Chinese bread and some fruit and biscuits, and we filled our water bottles/bladders. At this point it still felt surreal to us all that we were actually in China and about to do what we were going to do!

We then got onto the coach, taking all our bags and stuff with us, as the next night we were staying at a different lodge. This part was a bit of a pain for me as lugging my huge rucksack around was really not easy! Most of the time I dragged it along the floor or some one helped me with it (luckily).  We travelled about an hour or so to our first challenge: the Jinshanling Loop.

China Trek Day 1 - Jinshanling Loop Sign

We felt very lucky on the first day as the weather was perfect for walking and for getting some truly stunning views of the wall – it was sunny with pure blue skies and a high of around 17/18 degrees.

When we arrived, we had a quick toilet break and our first experience of the Chinese “squatting” toilets! Luckily they were clean but it was a strange experience initially, as we are not used to them back in the UK. We then walked up to the visitor gate and got ourselves ready, sorted out our walking poles etc and headed on for the first part of the trek.

To get onto the wall itself, we first had to walk up ALOT of steps and I think this is the first point where I (and others) realised how tough this was going to be. It took at least an hour of climbing what felt like endless steps before we made it onto the wall, but when we did, my god the views were worth it. This was the first time we had properly seen the wall itself and I was taken aback by how beautiful it was, especially as it was such a clear day and you could see the wall snaking around the mountains for miles and miles.

China Trek Day 1 - Jinshanling Loop

One of the main things that hit me at this point was also how steep the wall was! The word of the week was undulating – as it was pretty much constant ups and downs. I don’t think anything can prepare you for the sheer steepness, as we really have nothing like it back in the UK. The pictures don’t do it justice but I took some pictures just to try and show how steep it was. All I can say is I really don’t know how people manage to run the Great Wall of China marathon on here!!!

China Trek Day 1 - Jinshanling

China Trek Day 1 - Jinshanling Loop 3

China Trek Day 1 - Jinshanling - steep steps
China Trek Day 1 – Jinshanling – steep steps
China Trek Day 1 - Jinshanling - more steep steps
China Trek Day 1 – Jinshanling – more steep steps

After a few hours of trekking, we stopped for lunch and a bit of a rest and the views were just insane. We all said we didn’t think we’d ever had a better view for lunch before! Even if we did have to eat strange yellow bread 😉

China Trek Day 1 - lunch
China Trek Day 1 – lunch

After lunch, it was more of the same and after more trekking and being chased by women selling t-shirts, magnets and purses, some of the group started the walk down back to the coach and the rest of us carried on a bit further to an older, less renovated section of the wall. This was the first time seeing a less renovated part and it was sad to see it literally crumbling away in sections.

China Trek Day 1 - Jinshanling
Less Renovated Part of Jinshanling
China Trek Day 2 - Less renovated section of the wall
Less renovated section of the wall

We walked as far as we could until we came to a section which had completely crumbled away, so was impassable.

China Trek Day 2 - Impassable part of the wall
Impassable part of the wall
China Trek Day 2 - End of the wall
China Trek Day 1 – End of the wall

After this, it was time for the descent back down to the coach. The steps down felt like they went on forever!! When we got to the bottom, we were sweating and our legs were aching but we were pleased to see a guy selling beer in the car park – result! So of course I (and a few others) bought a beer and we sat in the sun and drank it before getting on the coach and heading onto the lodge where we spent the second night.

China Trek Day 1 - Beers!
China Trek Day 1 – Beers!

A great end to a fantastic first day! After finishing our beers we headed to the next stop – Green Lodge in Gubeikou village, as on day 2 we would be trekking the Gubeikou section of the wall.

On the way though, just as we were starting to relax, our coach got stopped for a random police check and we had to haul all our luggage off the bus and take it, with our passports, to be checked in the police station! That was a little scary and also the first time it’s happened to our guide. Everything was ok though and we all got back onto the coach and arrived at the Green lodge an hour or so later.

This first night was my favourite night of the whole trip as the lodge was really cute, very authentic Chinese.

China Trek Day 1 - Second Hotel - Green Lodge
China Trek Day 1 – Second Hotel – Green Lodge

After a brief rest, shower and packing of our bags ready for day 2, we headed downstairs for food. We had an amazing meal of traditional Chinese food and beers, and tried some traditional Chinese rice wine, which is very strong and tastes like more of a spirit than wine.

China Trek Day 1 - Chinese meal
China Trek Day 1 – Chinese meal

After a good night we headed to bed, exhausted and ready for day 2 – the Gubeikou section.

Great Wall of China

My Great Wall of China Trek is Tomorrow!!!

Hi

Just a quick post tonight!

I cannot believe that my Great Wall of China trek for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund is tomorrow. I’m so nervous it’s unbelievable. I have been packing and stressing tonight and I’m worried that I have forgotten to pack something. I’m also worried about what’s to come and because I’m going by myself. Eeek! It’s totally outside of my comfort zone.

It’s also quite exciting though and I’m looking forward to seeing China and pushing myself.

I am also impressed that I managed to fit everything into one rucksack lol.

Great Wall of China Trek

So what will I be doing?

Over the course of 5 days I’ll be trekking the Great Wall of China for up to 7 hours a day. I’ll be hiking up steep terrain and climbing thousands of steps. I’ll be trekking on un-renovated sections of the wall at height and staying in basic lodges. And I’m doing all of this to raise awareness and money for scoliosis.

There’s still time to sponsor me, if you’d like to 🙂 Just click on the link below.. All money will be donated to the Scoliosis Campaign Fund who support people with scoliosis and fund research into finding the causes of scoliosis and treatments to improve quality of life for patients. They are only a small charity so every penny really does mean everything.

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=LouiseLaurie

Well, I guess I’ll see you on the other side! I’ll be sure to post updates and pictures when I get back 🙂

Bye for now,

Louise X

Snowdon Pyg Track

Walking the Snowdon Pyg Track

As some of you may or may not know, in October I will be trekking the Great Wall of China to raise money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund! I’m excited and terrified all at the same time but what better way to prepare than to hike up a mountain. So on Sunday, that’s exactly what I did! I hiked up Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales.

Now, I have done this trek a couple of times before and so I knew what to expect. Lots of steep steps, rugged terrain and bits of scrambling – perfect training for what I needed. I also made sure I had my back pack on my back the whole time which contained my layers, lunch, snacks and water. When I do my China trek I’ll be carrying my day pack on my back the whole time, so this is essential training. I need to know that my back can take it if anything!


Snowdon Pyg Track

We decided to hike up the Snowdon Pyg Track. The Pyg track is 5.5km, is one of the most popular/busier paths and is the track I had done twice before. The Pyg Track is relatively easy to follow and there are only a couple of scrambling parts. That being said, it’s also relatively steep, very rocky in parts and has lots of steps!

To walk the Snowdon Pyg track it’s best to arrive early, especially on weekends/sunny days! The car park gets full VERY quickly as it’s only small and the Pyg track is one of the most popular tracks. It takes two hours to drive to Snowdon from where I live, so with it being a bank holiday weekend, we left at 5am (!) and arrived just before 7am. The Pyg Track starts from Pen Y Pass car park, however even at 7am when we arrived it was already full!!

It was ok though because if the Pen Y Pass car park is full, you can just turn left out of the car park and drive for 5 minutes or so until you come to another car park which costs £5 to park and you can get the Sherpa bus back up to Pen Y Pass for £1.50 (or a taxi which is £6ish), which is what we did.

There are benefits to arriving early though, even on bank holiday weekend there weren’t that many people hiking up and it was pretty quiet and peaceful. Later on it gets busy and you literally have people right behind you at all times which can put pressure on you sometimes.

Anyway, so we were ready to go at about 7.30am at the start of the Pyg track on the Pen Y Pass car park…it’s obvious where it starts from as there is a sign marked “Pyg Track.”

 

Snowdon Pyg Track
At the start of the Snowdon Pyg Track

Snowdon Pyg Track: the walk up

The Pyg Track is fairly straightforward, it starts briefly on tarmac (as above) but this quickly turns into steep, rocky steps with a few sections where you need to scramble. This ascends gradually towards a peak (which is actually Crib Goch – another path only to be attempted by the very experienced/brave!!). If you are wondering why, Google it and you’ll see 🙂

Snowdon Pyg Track

 

When you get to the “top” of the first ascent, the path levels out a bit and there is a bit of relief from the uphill climb. The views here are amazing on a clear day (see below). I have been lucky in that the last two times I have done the Pyg track, the views have been amazing but there is often fog which obscures the view somewhat. Be sure to always check the weather forecast before attempting Snowdon. In my experience, clear fine days are best as wet days can make the rocks slippy and it can be more dangerous.

Snowdon Pyg Track - Views
Snowdon Pyg Track – Views

The next part is quite straightforward, just make sure to keep to the path marked Pyg Snowdon (as below) and not to head up to Crib Goch (which is marked on a sign to the right).

Snowdon Pyg Track

Follow this path as it ascends gradually to the summit. There are some steep parts and rocky bits that require scrambling. Eventually you come to some steep steps that zig zag up towards the top. When you reach this point you are almost there – but not quite! This is probably the most challenging part and most people have to stop several times for a rest as the steps are pretty steep. When you get to the top of these steps the view (on a clear day) is breathtaking!

Snowdon Pyg Track - Views from the top

It’s at this point you can see the summit – you are very close but still a short climb away. Follow the path to the left alongside the mountain railway and you’ll eventually reach the summit – hooray! Time to enjoy the views. We had a packed lunch at the top overlooking the amazing views. There is also a shop and a cafe at the top where you can buy hot drinks and food (and beer!) It’s usually cold at the top and so layers are definitely required.

Snowdon Pyg Track - Summit
Snowdon Summit – it’s windy up there!

Getting down: The Miners Track

Of course, you can go down the way you came but it’s good to try a different route 🙂 (Or you could always take the train!) We went down the Miners track. To get down the Miners track, you go down the same way you came up on the Pyg track, following the same path until you come to a stone marker which marks the descent down the Miners track. In all honesty, I find going down much harder than going up as you really have to be careful to avoid slipping and hurting yourself on the rocks. The Miners track is pretty steep and is more of a scramble down the rocks. I wouldn’t like to go up that way to be honest as it’s really steep!!

Once you get past the scrambling part though, it’s pretty much plain sailing and an easy walk past the lakes back to the Pen Y Pass car park. As it was a nice day, we spent half an hour or so sunbathing by the lake at the bottom of the steep descent. We figured we’d earnt it 🙂 It was very relaxing and felt like being at the beach. Some people even went in the lake but it was a bit cold for my liking.

Snowdon: Miners Track
Snowdon: Miners Track

Some tips for walking up Snowdon

  • Pick a good day weather wise, check the weather a day before you go. In bad weather it can be dangerous and is not worth the risk.
  • Go early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
  • Take at least a litre of water (or more on a hot day).
  • Take some change for the car park/bus (Pen Y Pass costs £10 to park and the other car park I mentioned is £5. The Sherpa bus is £1.50 each way)
  • Take some snacks/packed lunch.
  • Wear good walking boots – you need decent walking boots with grip. Trainers are a no-go unless you want to slip on the rocks/hurt your feet or ankles.
  • Take lots of layers – whatever time of year it is the weather can be changeable up a mountain. You’ll need warm clothes like a fleece/hat/gloves etc for the summit.
  • Take/wear a waterproof coat and trousers.
  • Take suncream and wear a sunhat/sunglasses in the summer as the UV rays are high up there!

So there you have it. That was my experience walking up and down Snowdon for the third time. I must say I found it much easier than the first time I tried it (at 1 year 8 months post op). I am much stronger/fitter now and I think you need good strength to scramble and pull yourself up the rocks. Plus, the weather was much better and it’s much easier when it’s not freezing cold and raining or boiling hot. My back is aching a bit today but it mainly feels like muscle pain and hopefully it will be better tomorrow.

Hopefully this experience was good practice for my China Trek, although I’ll be doing hikes like this everyday for a week back to back! I may be crazy, but it’s for the best cause possible.

If you’d like to sponsor me for my China Trek and help those affected by scoliosis, you can sponsor me here:)

Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving

If you’ve made it this far, THANK YOU for reading! <3

I’m now off to rest my sore back.. 😉

Until next time,

Louise X


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Walking the Snowdon Pyg Track

Great Wall of China - Fundraising for Scoliosis

Fundraising for Scoliosis: Great Wall of China Trek!

I apologise for the lack of posts recently, I haven’t been able to post as much due to holidays and general life busyness. However, I thought I’d write a quick update about my next big adventure!

After the success of the British 10K, I’m continuing to fund raise for scoliosis by undertaking a MASSIVE personal challenge.

In October, I’ll be taking on a 9 day trek of the Great Wall of China in order to raise funds for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund.

If you are affected by scoliosis it would mean everything to me if you could sponsor me, as I’m trying to reach a target of £500. The Scoliosis Campaign Fund are only a small charity and so every penny really does make a huge difference.

All money raised goes towards helping to support people with the condition as well as funding research into the causes and treatment of scoliosis. By supporting me, you’re helping people with scoliosis now and in the future! 🙂

If you would like to sponsor me, you can do so via the link below:

Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving


So what will I actually be doing?

I’m heading to China on 21st October to take on 9 days of trekking the famous Great Wall!

Beginning 4 hours north of Beijing, the challenge takes on a series of vigorous upwards climbs of over 10,000 relentless steps over the course of a week.

I’ll be…

-Trekking for around 4-7 hours per day, covering approximately 50kms over 5 days.
-Continually hiking up and down thousands of stairs.
-Battling the heat/cold on exposed sections of the wall.
-Trekking on un-renovated sections of the wall, with crumbling steps, shrubbery and rocks underfoot, and steep stair climbs.
-Taking on sections at height with drops at either side.
-Staying in basic lodges each night.


How do I feel?

I’m incredibly nervous, as although this is part of a group challenge, I’ll be doing this challenge by myself.

I have never travelled by myself before (without my friends/family) and so this makes me very anxious. I’m also by nature a fairly reserved person and find talking to new people difficult, so this will be scary and challenging for me on that front too.

By doing this challenge, I am totally putting myself outside of my comfort zone! But it’s something I have always wanted to do and I am sure that the experience will be good for me. Plus, I really want to do something amazing to raise awareness of scoliosis and much needed funds for the scoliosis campaign fund.


Time to train!

On a physical level, although I am fairly fit I am also worried about the physical demands of the challenge and whether my back will cope with days and days of consecutive walking uphill whilst carrying my daypack! No doubt I will be in pain while doing it but I love a challenge and I am determined to do this and prove that I can.

I’m hoping I will be fit enough as I have ran 4 10K races this year, I run several times a week and also do strength training (Body Pump classes) at the gym weekly. I’m not really used to walking uphill though and so over the next couple of months, I’ll be adapting my training to incorporate long (and hilly) walks over the weekends to prepare.

This weekend, I am going to climb mount Snowdon in Wales, which I hope will emulate the wall of China fairly well in terms of the terrain and climbing uphill for several hours. I’ll be sharing my training diaries and progress on my blog so look out for this!


That’s all for now!

I’ll be checking in soon with some more updates on this challenge including my training diaries and what I’ll be taking etc.

Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving

Thanks for reading,

Louise X

 

British 10K London Fundraising for Scoliosis Race Recap

British 10K London: Fundraising for Scoliosis

So, yesterday I achieved one of my objectives for the year and ran the British 10K for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund. How was it? Much tougher than I expected!

Those of you who follow my blog may know that I have done several 10K races this year and ALOT of training to prepare for this event. I have been training since January, as back then I could barely run 5K!

But I was determined to build my distance and take part in this event to help raise money for a charity so close to my heart.


British 10K London: Race recap

I travelled down to London with my boyfriend on Saturday, a day before the race, as I’m based up north and the race started early Sunday morning. When we arrived in London the first thing I noticed was how hot it was compared to up north (!) and I was really hoping it would cool down for the race as I’m not great with running in the heat.

I did my very best to prepare for the race on the Saturday, I refrained from alcohol, drank lots of water and ate a lot of pasta! The refraining from alcohol bit was tough because everyone around me was drinking, as it was such a gorgeous sunny day!

We did some chilling on the Southbank, went for a meal and then had an early night (boring but I really wanted to do well!)


The day of the race

British 10K
British 10K

Even though we were staying in central London, we had to get up pretty early and get the tube across to the start (9.30am).

When we arrived at the bag drop area it was crazy busy (there were over 10,000 participants!) and I started to get nervous. I didn’t sleep well the night before as I was worrying about the race. This was my second race of this scale (I did the Great Manchester Run in May) so I’m still getting used to running these type of events.

We arrived in plenty of time though, so I had time to queue for the toilet and then head over to my start pen (E). I have to say at this point, that considering the scale of this event, I thought it was EXTREMELY well organised. I have taken part in smaller running events which have been utter chaos and so I was very impressed! There were plenty of signs telling us where to go which took a bit of my anxiety away.

To get to our start pens we had to walk down Pall Mall, which, lined with Union Jack flags set us up for the race nicely!

British 10K - walk to the start
British 10K – walk to the start

It was about a 10 minute walk to get to my start pen, which was a good warm up and a chance to take some pics. At this point it was already getting HOT, so I was starting to get concerned about running in it (I’m a northerner so I’m not used to the sun…!)

British 10K - Pall Mall
British 10K – Pall Mall

Once I reached my start pen, they did some warm ups and eventually we made our way to the start. Everyone was put in groups (A-H) depending on their speed, so the fast groups went first and we all gradually filtered round. I was in group E which was pretty much in the middle.

British 10K - at the start
British 10K – at the start

During the race

I have to say I really struggled with this race. I have done several 10K’s this year and I found this one the hardest by far. It was mainly to do with the heat, for me it was just too hot to comfortably run in. It was around 26/27 degrees and very humid and there were no clouds at all so the sun was burning down on us.

I have done a few training runs in hot weather but as we don’t get many really hot days up north I’m used to running in much cooler temperatures. As it was so hot, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to. I felt like I couldn’t really take in the amazing sights because I was struggling so much to keep myself going!

There were soooo many times where I was tempted to stop but I didn’t. I just keep thinking of the scoliosis charity and all those amazing people who had sponsored me and I didn’t want to let them, or myself down.

So I didn’t stop once, I kept going and all the way round I was just thinking – when will this end?! It was pure torture!! Most of the runners running near me were visibly struggling and there were so many who had to stop and walk.

Despite this though, the route itself was a great route, past all the main sights and there were lots of cheering crowds to keep us going! The highlight was probably running over Westminster bridge, as not only were the views awesome, I knew we were near the end!!

I definitely ran slower than I could have done in parts due to the heat. When I approached the finish line I had literally no energy to sprint like I usually do and just kept at my steady pace.


After the race

I collapsed in a heap!

Not quite… I found a place to sit down and catch my breath and wipe myself down (yuk!) After I recovered, I checked my Strava and it appeared my average pace was similar to that of the Manchester run, so despite the heat I wasn’t going as slowly as I thought!

British 10K at the end
British 10K – with my medal

In the end, I managed to complete it in exactly 1 hour, which is slightly slower than my previous 10K races (PB is 57.27) but not bad considering how I felt.

I was a bit disappointed as I was hoping to get a new PB given all the training I’ve done but I guess the elements were against me.

At the end of the day, I know I can do 10K faster but it’s not about speed. I’m just proud that I finished it, I didn’t stop and that I raised money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund, which is what I set out to do. When it comes to it, this is all that matters.

I even managed to meet up briefly with some of the other scoliosis runners who are all amazing and inspirational! It was great to meet others with scoliosis as I had actually never met anyone else in “real life” with scoliosis before.

British 10K - Team Scoliosis Campaign Fund
British 10K – Team Scoliosis Campaign Fund

Overall, I had a great day even though the run was tough. Plus, the medal and finishers pack is awesome (yes, that is a tin of baked beans..!)

British 10K - Finishers Pack
British 10K – Finishers Pack

Thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far, it means so much to me!

My sponsor page will be accepting donations until November, as my next challenge for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund will be trekking the Great Wall of China in October (post coming soon).

If you have scoliosis or know someone with scoliosis please consider sponsoring me to help the Scoliosis Campaign Fund.

The Scoliosis Campaign Fund raises money to support people with scoliosis and their families, and fund research into finding the causes of scoliosis and treatments to improve quality of life for patients. They are only a small charity so every penny really does mean everything.
Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving

Thanks for reading 🙂

Louise X

British London 10K Run - Westminster

British 10k London Run

I’m so excited!

This week it was confirmed that I have a place in the British 10K London run on 9th July and I’ll be running to raise money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund.

The British 10K London run takes runners through some of  London’s most iconic sites, such as Trafalgar Square, the Embankment, Big Ben and more.

The Scoliosis Campaign Fund raises money to support people with scoliosis and their families, and fund research into finding the causes of scoliosis and treatments to improve quality of life for patients. There is more information on the great work the Scoliosis Campaign Fund do in this useful information sheet.

Raising money for scoliosis…

I’ve been wanting to do something to raise awareness of scoliosis and raise money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund for absolutely ages, I just wasn’t sure what to do. When I saw an article in BackBone magazine about the British 10K London run last year, it inspired me to get involved and I knew that 2017 had to be the year.

It would be my ultimate dream to run the London Marathon for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund, but I am nowhere near ready in terms of fitness and honestly, I don’t think my back could take it.

At the moment, I can just about run 5K and will need to train over the coming weeks in order to work myself up to 10K, so I’m ready for the event.

Scoliosis Campaign Fund T Shirt
Scoliosis Campaign Fund T Shirt

10K Training

As part of my training, I plan to follow a 10K training plan online, whilst also attending any Park Run I can and doing my usual spin classes and Body Pump classes at the gym. Over the past few weeks, I have been running (or jogging!) about 20-30minutes several times a week, as I am also doing the Great Manchester Run in May.

I do find running difficult at times with my back but I am determined to do this in order to raise money and awareness of scoliosis, especially as I never thought I’d ever be able to do anything like this following my scoliosis surgery.

A personal achievement

After my scoliosis surgery, I had to learn to walk all over again. I couldn’t bathe or dress myself and had to have help just getting out of bed. Running a 10K race for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund shows how far I’ve come and I will continue to keep pushing and challenging myself further to achieve my goals.

The British 10k London Run is a major fundraising event for the Scoliosis Campaign Fun and I’m really excited to be involved! I plan on posting regular updates on here with my progress and how I’m getting on with my training.

If you’d like to sponsor me and help to support the fantastic work of the Scoliosis Campaign Fund, you can do so by clicking the button below 🙂

Sponsor me on Virgin Money Giving

Thank you!

Louise X

P.s. if you’d also like to get involved in raising money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund, there are loads of great fundraising ideas, resources and events you could get involved with available here – Scoliosis Campaign Fund – Fundraising Ideas.

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British 10k London Run - Support the Scoliosis Campaign Fund