At the end of Summer 2016 my dad and I signed up for the Macmillan mighty hike in memory of my amazing grandmother who sadly left us during the summer. The walk was 26.7 miles long and for someone who had only just recently decided to make a positive change in my life and to start to exercise more, it was very daunting but a very good motivation.
I had started spin class and I walk a lot during the week due to having two young children and no car but definitely needed to do more, so my dad and I decided we would go for a walk each weekend while my mum looked after the children. Unfortunately it didn’t work out as well as we had planned. A lot got in the way such as illnesses, holidays and my parents having a lot of work done on their house. To make up for the weekends we were unable to walk I decided the days I didn’t have spin class I would go for a walk once I had dropped my daughter at school with the buggy or baby carrier.
Then suddenly the walk was upon us. I couldn’t believe how quickly it had come around but I felt ready and excited. We stayed in a beautiful cottage just minutes away from the starting point and not far from town where there was lots for my mum to do with the kids.
When we arrived there was a lot of energy going on. They had a stage with speakers and a man in a green suit providing some entertainment. We made our way to the starting point where they started a Zumba warm up and then it was time to start.
It was very congested for the first 5 miles until we came to the first stop where they provided snacks, drinks and a first aid tent. My dad and I had a plate of fruit and flapjack. The best flapjack I have ever tasted I’ll add, but that could of just been because I was so hungry! Then we set off again, this time it wasn’t so busy but the trail became a lot harder than I had anticipated. We encountered hills with rocks and roots we had to climb over and it was even harder when walking down a steep hill being careful where to place your feet so not to fall. Every step of the way was worth it though. The views were breathtaking and walking along the banks of Loch Lomond is something I’ll never forget, they are just as bonnie as the song suggests.
Mile 13 was the half way point and we were provided with a lunch buffet and a very welcomed seat but I struggled to eat. I had no appetite but I knew I needed to eat something for energy, so I forced half a plate of food down and we set off again after we had refilled our bottles. The next few miles were hard. It felt like a constant climb, there were slippery rocks we had to walk over and tree roots we had to climb up and down. At points it felt dangerous, if we had misplaced our footing we could of fallen down next to the loch and seriously injured ourselves. During all of this, between miles 13 and 20, I pulled a muscle in my thigh. I’ve pulled this muscle before so I think it must be a weak spot for me. I carried on and didn’t mention anything to my dad because I knew he would make me stop so I didn’t hurt myself more but I was so determined to finish. My pace slowed but we made it to the 20 mile mark. There was a photography there who took this brilliant picture of my dad.
At the 20 mile mark we had to catch a ferry to the other side of the Loch. We waited in a queue to be given a number to tell us which ferry we were on and then we could take a seat with some refreshments while we waited. At this point my leg really hurt but quickly our number was called and we headed to the ferry. The views were beautiful but at this point I was just in pain and worried about how I was going to finish this to appreciate them.
We carried on and hit 23 and a half miles, then my leg gave in. I tried to walk but it felt like stabbing pains when I put weight on it. My dad had to make me stop walking and convinced me I needed to sit down. Eventually he further convinced me that I needed to stop completely or I’d do more damage. I was so frustrated, upset and at the time disappointed in myself. We were so close and I knew if I hadn’t hurt my leg I would of made it. Luckily we were next to a road and we had been given emergency numbers before the walk started. My dad rang the number and a medical bus picked me up. I said goodbye to my dad once he made sure I was okay and he carried on. Amidst my pain and upset the driver told me he was taking me to the finish line so I could cross it. He helped me out the bus and I hobbled across the finish line. People were cheering, the man in the greensuit was back, there were speakers blaring music, everyone was happy and celebrating. I fell to the ground and sobbed like a baby. A woman came and hugged me while another put a medal round my neck and handed me a glass of champagne. I felt like I didn’t deserve it and I just wanted to get to the shuttle bus which would take us back to the starting point where my mum and the kids would be waiting. There was a big buffet for everyone but I just went and sat on the bus. My dad done amazingly and finished not long after.
Upon reflection I am incredibly proud of what we achieved. This time last year I wouldn’t of made it to the first break stop, never mind 23 and a half miles with a pulled muscle. Yes I’m disappointed I didn’t fully complete it but what an experience it was and I suppose there is always next year… so to anyone considering signing up to this event or any other then I would fully encourage you to do so. It’ll be an experience you’ll never forget