Jeannette's Story

A tale of Four trekkers who conquered the mountain and lived to tell the tale!

‘We came, we saw, we conquered’ - Brecon Beacons 25k #Trekfest

For anyone contemplating taking part in Trekfest, here is a little insight into our Trekfest adventure.

Spurred on by our Fundraising Manager, Michelle, who can be very persuasive, myself and five colleagues, along with one of our colleague’s friends, did something mad in the New Year. We signed up to complete the 25k Brecon Beacons Trekfest Challenge, taking place in June 2017.

We wanted to fundraise for our own charity, BID Services but also wanted to choose an event that would take us out of our comfort zone, something we hadn’t done before. So, we signed up in January 2017 and downloaded all the training information, which we duly posted on our office wall. This explained when we should start our walking programme, and what we needed to do to get fit. Between January and March we did look at the schedule from time to time saying ‘hmm, should we be starting our training now’ but June seemed a long way away at the time - so we all said ‘nawh, plenty of time to train right’? We all got serious around beginning of April, when we realised it wasn’t actually that far away. We all procured new walking shoes and started on our walking programme. The longer walks recommended of 8-10 miles were quite hard to fit in due to everyone having busy lives, but we all did train as we wanted to enjoy the experience.

Unfortunately, we lost a couple of our colleagues along the way, who had to pull out for various reasons , but for the remaining four of us (Michelle, Sam, Lucy & Jeannette), June 3 soon arrived. We had booked a beautiful cottage in the Brecons for Friday and Saturday evening as we wanted a good sleep Friday, and a nice space to recover on Saturday after the walk. Saturday morning, we all woke up raring to go, feeling both excited and nervous about the challenge ahead.

We got to Trekfest village around 9 am and it was amazing to see so many people waiting to begin the challenge. It was really motivating and humbling to see so many people taking part and raising funds for various charities.

The claxon sounded and we set off in what was glorious weather – sun shining, blue sky. The first 4 miles were quite easy, steady uphill through roads and villages, winding our way to the base of the Brecons, to start our ascent up the mountain. We reached the base of the mountain and started heading up the hill. The scenery was truly breathtaking and it was hard not to keep stopping, just to drink in the scene in front of you. So far, so good. As we continued to climb, it started to get more challenging, and it was at this point, you realised the importance of doing the training.

The last third of the ascent, to the top of Brecon, became very challenging indeed, due to a sudden change in the weather. Having been sunny and bright for the first half of the ascent, the clouds blew in, the wind increased and it started to rain quite heavily. The temperature dropped quite dramatically and we were scrambling to grab the hats and waterproofs we’d all brought, but which we thought we wouldn’t need. We were happy that the Trekfest organisers had insisted on us having all the right kit, because you really did need it. The final climb to the top of the mountain was quite challenging as the rocks were wet, it was windy and you had to be really careful about where you placed your feet. We all made it though. Reaching the summit, we had a quick picture taken but didn’t hang around as it was very cold , windy and raining hard!

I think we all felt a real sense of achievement having reached the top, but we were just halfway there – still the descent to tackle. The bad weather continued for a while, but as we continued our descent and navigated the rocks again (some of us on our bums), it cleared up again and before we knew it, we were back to bright sunshine! Again the scenery was truly stunning and it was easy to see why the Welsh are so in love with their mountains and valleys.

We made a stop at one of the agreed pit stops and ate a well-deserved lunch. We had been fuelling up throughout the walk on guilt free jelly babies and other sweet things, but you do need to eat something substantial as you use a lot of energy and burn lots of calories along the way. It’s amazing how quickly your energy levels can drop so bringing plenty of food is a good idea. The last four miles of the route, which was again through roads, was quite tiring and it seemed to take quite a while to get to the finish line. At this stage you are feeling pretty exhausted and what keeps you going is the thought of a nice cold drink, taking off your boots and having a sit-down!

Finally, the sight you’ve been waiting for – the finish line! What a welcome sight. The crowd was fantastic and it was great to hear people cheering as you passed over the finish line – that, and the glass of prosecco we were given by the organisers was wonderful. Armed with our medal, we made our way to the beer tent and had a nice cold beer – good job everyone! Cheers!

We’d all made it back in one piece and came in between seven and eight hours, so a brilliant result by everyone. And… not one blister amongst us, so shoes definitely worth the investment.

We raised over £1500 for BID Services who will use the money for two projects; to offer a holiday scheme for young deaf people who experience loneliness and isolation during the long 6 week summer holiday, and to support the continuation of a life skills programme for deaf adults with learning disabilities who are often isolated. It was great to know that our fundraising efforts would go directly to help people in need and certainly helped us whilst on our trek.

We are already thinking about our next adventure….. once we’ve fully recovered from this one….