It's not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.
Hello everyone and welcome back to my official final blog post. As I mentioned I last week’s blog, this week will be all about my fundraising experience and climbing Ben Nevis! I really hope you have enjoyed my blogs so far and have found them insightful but most of all thanks for sticking with me for this long and for following me on this journey as an intern both personally and professionally, it’s been a blast!
The only thing left for me to do was to complete my sponsored climb of Ben Nevis to raise money for the saltire scholars appeal so here everything you need to know...
As every Scholar knows, fundraising is a key component in allowing programmes the Saltire Scholar Programme to operate successfully. Each year the scholars in that year’s cohort set up the Saltire Scholar Appeal to help raise funds in order to give back for the opportunity of a world class internship that has been afforded to them and to help towards the sustainability of the programme for years to come. This year we were tasked to raise over £10,000 collectively as the 2019 cohort so I had to think big! Climbing Ben Nevis has always been a dream of mine, and there seemed no better way to finish my internship than to complete the UK’s highest peak the day after I finish my time at Neogen.
Travelling up to Fort William after just completing my final presentation to Neogen’s top people was certainly a blur, still high off of the adrenaline from the afternoon and anxious about what was to come the next day made the drive pass very quickly which was a blessing I guess! After checking into our hotel, the reality of what we were about to do the next day set in. Both myself and Fraser were having those ‘why are we doing this?’ thoughts but were both motivated to get it done as donations kept flooding in the night before getting ever closer to my £200 target.
The next morning, we woke, had a big breakfast and set off on the climb. It was great to wake up to so many well wishes from family, friends, colleagues and even other scholars all rooting for us to succeed. The messages really helped pick me up at the more difficult stages of the climb (of which there were many!) On the way up we got battered with wind head on, this made the upwards climb harder than it already was but luckily there were loads of other climbers out that day to shelter you somewhat. The higher we got, the worse the wind got, and I actually got blown over at one point when stopping for a drink! The terrain is rocky the whole way up so walking boots are recommended.
At around 5 hours into the ascent we reached the top, I can tell you I have never felt such a sense of relief, pride and exhaustion. The top was bustling with everyone taking pictures and there was even an orderly queue to take a picture at the highest point, in true British fashion! Me and Fraser shared a caramel shortcake slice and had a can of original full sugar Irn Bru at the top as a wee toast! We had been saving those cans for a special occasion and what better time to have them than at the highest point in Scotland?!
The way down was somewhat easier but harder going on the legs, in just over 2.5 hours we were down and back in the cosy comfort of the car with our boots off (there really is no greater feeling) We sat there with an overwhelming pride that we had managed to achieve such a feat but also after checking out fundraising total we had smashed our target completely and raised over £270 for the Saltire Scholars appeal, a moment of pure joy!
Looking back on the walk now, I don’t think I’ll be doing it again in a hurry! It was a pretty gruelling 7.5 hours, but I am incredibly proud to have completed it. I think it will be one of those “once you’ve done it, you’ve done it” ones and I’ll not be doing it again any time soon!
Here are some pictures from our climb:
I would encourage anyone who is looking for a new hobby or something to do on their days off to get into hill walking. We are incredibly lucky as Scots to like in such a picturesque country filled with landscape to explore. Getting away from the busy everyday life, stepping outside and getting some fresh air really is good for the soul and I cannot encourage it enough. After all, it is right on our doorstep!
For the last time, thank you for taking the time to ready my blog but more importantly thank you for being a part of this journey I have taken as an intern. I have loved getting to know you all though your blogs and it makes my day to receive messages about the content of my blogs. Hopefully you, or someone out there has found this useful.
As always, if you have any questions about my Internship, Saltire, fundraising or anything else, I’m always up for a chat! You can find me on LinkedIn where I post regular updates about my internship, the life science industry, and a little bit of Formula 1 thrown in there too!
Over and out for the very last time,