Maureen, a vicar in the benefice of West Barnsley, started this daunting Mind Charity Challenge at 10.30am on Friday 7th September, when a small group gathered in Chester to make their long journey north to Fort William for their first ascent. The following day Maureen completed her first climb, taking 7 hours in total to reach the spectacular views at the top of Ben Nevis. After completng the first leg of this gruelling challenge, the group immediately boarded a minibus to tackle their next climb in the Lake District.
Within seven hours of departing from the Scottish Highlands, Maureen and the rest of her climbing group began their ascent of Scafell Pike in Wasdale. "The skies darkened and during our ascent of Scafell Pike the weather quickly deteriorated and we found ourselves buffeted by gusty winds in heavy rain. We found ourelves walking and sometimes scrambling up the uneven rocky ground, with only a head-torch for light which was a real challenge," reminisced Maureen.
Unfortunately not all of the climbers reached the summit of Scafell Pike because of the dangerous weather conditions. At midnight Maureen and the rest of the group settled down in the minibus for the 200 mile journey to Swowdon in Wales and their last peak. The final climb proved the most difficult with the weather worsening the higher the group reached the top of the mountain. Reflecting on her final ascent, the Revd Maureen said, "The rain, at times torrential, created rivulets in the tracks we were trying to follow. There were several areas where we had to scramble and many struggled wearily to avoid slipping on the steep wet rocks. We braved icy winds gusting at over 45 mph on the ridge and gradually the summit became visible through the fog and rain. All of us reached the summit of Snowdon and after a three hour descent we boarded the transport back to Chester where the adventure began.
"The challenge certainly lived up to its name and proved challenging in all kinds of ways but I was determined to complete it and raise as much as possible to support the work of MIND – a charity I am passionate about, providing desperately needed services to people suffering mental health problems.
"My deep and sincere thanks to everyone who supported me in this challenge, both individuals and organisations. Together we are helping MIND to continue making a difference in the lives of people suffering poor mental health. At the time of writing, my donations total over £3,700."
Maureen is still collecting donations until the end of September. If you wish to contribute and support the brilliant work of MIND, contact Maureen directly or donate online through the Virgin Money Giving page.