Firstly, a big 'thank you' if you have already kindly donated to my son Charlie's site on Just Giving. Last time I looked he was edging ever closer to achieving his target. I know that he will want to thank you personally but having completed the Snowdonia challenge the school leavers are now having some R & R in Pembrokeshire.
How did the challenge go? Well I can only speak for myself. This was without doubt the toughest thing I have ever done physically in my life. The headmaster who leads the project is an hugely experienced 'mountain man'. He has a home in Wales and he picked routes that were designed to push the boys to the limit. He definitely achieved this. 13 year old boys fully laden with backpacks containing everything required for camping and survival, walking up steep slippery paths in driving wind (gusting a 100 mph on the top) and rain - what spirit they showed. At one stage we had to get the boys into two survival tents to give them some respite. On Friday in particular the headmaster said that the conditions were the worst he personally had ever experienced. We were perhaps lucky to get off the mountains intact after 9 hours in awful conditions! On Sunday and Monday the weather improved and the team were able to understand what a buzz you can get from this type of activity with great views and interesting technical climbs.
None of us will ever forget the experience and words do not do it justice. I lost well over a stone getting ready for it, and thank god I did the practice walks in the Peak District. But the walk was not about the parents, this was a chance for the lads to test themselves whilst raising money for an excellent cause. How did Charlie cope? All I can say is that I am just very very proud. He is quite robust and whilst some of his peers were clearly suffering, Charlie stoically trudged on . He is pretty tough, mentally and physically.
This is the last chance to contribue to the charity if you feel inclined. Thanks if you do and a huge thanks to those who have!