How many of you climbed a mountain last weekend?
Darren Prior, water treatment technician at Aqualytix, did. He and his brother Anthony climbed England’s tallest mountain, Scafell Pike.
They were part of a group that raised just over £50,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support – a charity close to Darren’s heart, having lost loved ones to the disease.
Darren’s keen to thank everyone who sponsored him. He said: “It was a grueling challenge. But when I felt weak and was tempted to give up, I thought about the people who donated and put their faith in me. It was worth it for every person who sponsored me.”
Why climb a mountain?
The motivation for Darren’s climb was two-fold. Firstly, he wanted to raise money to support people affected by cancer. Secondly, he wanted to challenge himself to do something beyond his comfort zone.
Darren explained, “I’m not an active person, and I suffer from depression. There were plenty of people who were cautious on my behalf.
The climb itself
Scafell Pike is 3,209 feet high and located in the Lake District National Park in Cumbria. It’s a steep and tricky climb that involves scrambling over loose and unstable rocks and boulders.
Darren and the team set off at 22.30 on Saturday, 27 May. It was pitch black, but the nighttime temperature suited Darren better.
He said: “The first 60 minutes, we established our natural pace. Much to our surprise that put us in the fastest group on the night.
“There was lots of laughter, and it was fantastic getting to know everyone and why they wanted to complete the challenge.
“Reaching the top was no easy task, but by 02:40, we’d done it! This is when I enjoyed a Guinness and toasted the family members I’d lost.
“It was possibly the closest I’ll ever be to them in Heaven until my time comes.”
Light and fright over the descent
During the climb, the sun begins to rise over the Lake District National Park. While it’s a beautiful sight, that’s when the fear crept up on Darren.
He said: “The hardest part was the descent. The daylight revealed what we had been climbing on, and how one wrong move could prove fatal. This triggered my anxiety to kick in pronto!
“However, the response we got at the end more than made up for the fear. When we reached the bottom, we were greeted by the Macmillan Cancer Support team. They were clapping and cheering while handing us our medals.
“I experienced an intense mixture of emotions but most of all pride and a sense of accomplishment that we’d made it.”
Are you up for the challenge?
Darren and his brother were astonished to learn they ranked 5th and 6th place out of the 190 entrants that entered the challenge last Saturday.
Darren added: “I’m back at work totally buzzing and recovering well. I regret absolutely nothing and would do it all again in a heartbeat! If you want to push yourself both physically and mentally, this is the challenge to take.”
See website for more information about the Defeat the Peak: Scafell Pike at Night Challenge