Scafell Pike

So I have officially climbed up the tallest peak in England and have climbed up a mountain! I had to admit when my partner said to me that we were going to climb Scafell Pike I was thinking ‘really’ but I thought as I was here I may as well and also as I have the half coming up it is extra fitness! If you are thinking about climbing up Scafell Pike or are doing the Three Peaks challenge (you’re mad!) have a read about my experience.

Becky on the summit of Scafell pike

Before the trip

Like with most outdoor walks, you need to check the weather beforehand. We were originally going to go on the Tuesday but it was tipping it down. Therefore it is best if you build it as part of your trip rather than planning it on one day.

The path is easy enough to follow, however you should as standard bring a map and compass as if the mist comes over you (like it did with me) then it makes it very difficult to see anything too far in front. Also bring food and water to keep you going.

I would say you could walk Scafell Pike in good sturdy trainers, however walking boots is best. Especially if the rocks are slippery. I would also wear waterproof trousers and coat and bring a bag that you carry on your back (not a shopping bag like I saw one person doing!). A small first aid kit may be handy too. I had a little ‘medical’ moment myself, I slipped in the river and banged my elbow on the rock so hard that my body started to go into shock, I felt really faint ( I had fainted before and knew the warning signs), was boiling hot, felt that I was going to throw up and my hearing started to go. My partner helped me over on the other side where I got some water and laid down for five minutes and carried on as normal. Although I didn’t need any medical attention it goes to show things do happen!

Small waterfall at Scafell Pike

How long will the trip take?

It depends on your fitness levels. I am quite fit but struggle with anything that is on an incline so it took about 3 1/2 hours on the way up and 2 1/2 on the way down. There was one person who I spoke too that took 5 hours just for the way up!

Gravel path on Scafell Pike

What is the terrain like?

Being as it is a mountain, you’re going to expect rocks! The route starts along in a right of way footpath in a field fields you start heading up almost straight away. Then it turns into a rocky/ gravely type of path for a while. After you cross this small river it turns into rocks for a while until it settles out into this gravelly path. Half an hour before you reach the summit the path is just entirely rocks.

James, Becky and Lbs on the summit of Scafell Pike

Extra tips

Start in the morning or around midday at the latest if you are a novice. I saw people that were clearly novices walking up at three o’clock as I was on my way down. It is dangerous because you are not leaving yourself much time if you get lost or if the weather suddenly turns bad. The mist was really bad when I went and personally I felt it was too dangerous for anyone trying to reach the summit after us.

There are two main walker routes up but you need to make sure you get the same route back. This is because you can’t get to the other start point without it being a near two hour car journey.

There are toilets at the beginning where I started (Wesdale Head) the start of the trail isn’t well signposted.

I have to admit it has given me the bug to at least walk the other two summits in the UK, so I am going to try and do that next year. Snowdon will be easy enough for me to get too. Ben Nevis will have to be a holiday as I live quite far away from the place!

Have you climbed Scafell Pike? Have you done the three peaks challenge? Let me know in the comments below!

Rebecca Merchant with her Go Tri medal

A post I can now finally write, I completed a triathlon today! I never thought I would say this. I COMPLETED a triathlon! I never had an interest in completing in a triathlon before but when my friend asked me to join her for the one in Stoke, I thought ‘why not’. So…

How did I find it?

It was hard! When I parked up, I was quietly confident that I would be able to do it. Purely because I do a 5k run most weeks on parkrun, I had practiced swimming ten lengths at my local pool and I do quite a bit of cycling so didn’t think it would be too rough. The instructions were clear on where I had to go and the race marshall’s explained everything really well. The triathlon started with the swim. The swimming I went quite hard in. When I got out of the pool to do the bike ride, wearing the TriSuit I felt so exposed it felt like I was running naked. Soon I was off cycling, cycling took me down the A34 which was quite busy!  Luckily for me it was a sunny day which was drying the TriSuit nicely.

After dumping my bike I finished with the run. That part was the worst for me, my legs felt like jelly as they had gone from being used to pedalling to suddenly having to run! At this point each directional marker was a marker for me to aim to pass. I felt my breathing feel really heavy. I remember at one point I was thinking ‘do a triathlon, I said, it will be fun, I said‘. I also remember that feeling when I ran down the hill to find out I had to do a second lap. Awful! I was so determined to get that finisher’s medal and that feeling when I got it just cancelled out all of the pain.

Did I train for the triathlon?

Yes I did! Although it was a beginners triathlon, I didn’t want to go into it completely blind. I attended as many parkrun’s as possible for the running and the week before I managed to get a free week’s gym membership at my local leisure centre. So I used the pool there all of the time to test myself on the lengths. Funnily enough although I would say cycling is my strongest sport, I didn’t do much cycling leading up to the race. However, I was constantly attending circuit training at G-Force in Stafford so I was constantly being active.

What did I wear?

This part was the part I was most nervous about. After spending a bargain £12 on entry, I didn’t want to spend £30 on a TriSuit. I emailed Gold Events who were hosting the Stoke-on-Trent triathlon and they said that you could wear a swimsuit. The thought of running in my swimsuit did not appeal to me, so I got on ebay and got a cheap suit for £20. I chucked on a long armed cycling jersey and just used my usual trainers.

Would you do another one?

I would! Gold Events are running three in the Stoke-on-Trent area and if you attend all three you get a special shirt which is what I would quite like to aim for. I would also like to train a bit more and see if I can improve on my time.

Rebecca with her bike and medal at Go Tri in Stoke

How do I get involved?

Go Tri is approved by Triathlon England and its ethos is for the triathlon to be accessible for all. See all events by accessing there website here.

Checking out the local scenery in my new area
(Photo: Authors Own)

Recently my partner and I managed to get on the housing ladder (read about how to buy a house here). One of the main worries when house hunting that everyone will have is finding a house that is right for you in the location that is right for you. Today I write about what we looked for when buying a house:

Location
You may already have an idea on where you want to live. For us, we wanted to move to a quieter area and be closer to my work. Our priorities for location was:

  • In the countryside.
  • Not near a flood plain.
  • No more than half an hour commute from my workplace. 
  • Not near a busy road.
  • Close to a train station with trains that will travel to London.

So what to think about is:

  • Do you want to be in a village or in a town?
  • If you want to live in the countryside you have to think about how close you want your amenities to be.
  • How close you are to public services (particularly important if you need to rely on them.)
  • What type of social environment do you want to be in (i.e if you want to be in a fast paced environment then a sleepy village may not be the best option for you).
  • How close you want to be to your family!
Facilities
Obviously a town is going to have everything you want. For us, we wanted to have a doctors surgery and supermarket close by, but happy to travel a bit further to do some serious shopping. We both drive so bus services were not as important to us.

What you need to think about facility wise?
Proximity to medical services eg, doctors, dentists and hospitals, supermarkets and shops.

The Area
My partner and I did a lot of research into the area, as our home is a home that we want to stay in long term.  We looked at the specifics such as flooding, schools and nature. When we visited the house, we drove around the surrounding area at day and night for a better idea of area it is.

The House Itself
We were a little greedy and wanted quite a big house. An en- suite wasn’t as important to us but a large kitchen was. What you need to look out for:

  • Do your neighbours windows look into your windows?
  • If the property is near the main road or trains (Don’t laugh I used to hear the train rumbling past my old flat window!)
  • If you want a garden, is it big enough or the right type (e.g I did not want a terrace garden).
  • Is your house big enough? 
  • Is the kitchen big enough? My old place had a tiny kitchen and we hated it.
  • Does it have a garage or a driveway? Do you have to share the driveway?
  • How much land do you own?
  • What boundaries are yours to maintain?
  • Are the windows and the frames in good condition? Also are the windows single glazed, mind if they are as it can be very cold in the winter time.
  • Is there any mould? Be weary of fresh coats of paint that could cover mould up. 
In my experience house buying is always a risk and there never is the ‘perfect’ house. The majority of the time you have to sacrifice something. However, if you do your research properly it certainly reduces the risk of getting it wrong.  

* Disclaimer: this is my views only. Seek professional advice.

  

One Day This Will be You
(Image Source: Authors Own)

Yes, I am officially a homeowner, mortgage slave, whatever you want to call it. Two weeks ago I was given the keys to my new house and I absolutely love it. If you are thinking about buying a house now or it is in your long-term plans. Today’s post will be useful to you as I talk about my experience in buying a house. In the most simplest way, I possibly can.

A little disclaimer before I start- this is just my experience if you are not sure about anything it is best to refer to someone who is qualified in mortgage advice.

To start, we had to save for a deposit. We attacked this by saving as much as we could for three years When it came close to thinking about buying (about six months ago) we worked out what house we could afford on the deposit we had. If we hadn’t got enough deposit for what we wanted, we would have to have saved for longer. My partner used the internet as a rough guide to see how much banks would give to us and how much the monthly payment would be on the mortgage as well as our other expenses. When we realised that we could buy a house, we went to the mortgage advisor to get confirmation that we could get a mortgage and get a clear indication of what we could afford.
We decided to get a mortgage advisor as we were first-time buyers and wanted the reassurance of a professional.

To see if you are able to buy a house the mortgage advisor checked for:

Proof of Income
Proof of Deposit
Spending habits (including drinking and smoking)
Credit Check

A key fact is to not borrow the maximum you can be given but to borrow the amount you can afford on the monthly repayments.

The advisor showed us all the different companies we could go with to get a mortgage and calculated the cheapest mortgage for our needs. It is still worth shopping around because the advisor cannot offer all mortgages available.

We started looking for a house at this time ( A post is coming soon on what to look out for when buying a house). Once we found a house we put an offer in. To put an offer in we phoned up the Estate Agent told them we wanted to buy the house. We started off bidding low (never start with the asking price) and then once we agreed on the price, we had to get a solicitor involved ( you get a solicitor involved to show you are serious in buying and to get the process started. You have to get one). It’s worth shopping around because solicitors prices we found do vary. We had to go back to the mortgage advisor to hand in any missing documents and get them to get the mortgage sorted.

At this time, we started looking at life insurance. Life insurance isn’t compulsory although is a good idea for obvious reasons. Currently, we are also obtaining critical illness. Again like mortgages, it is worth shopping around for insurance. Additionally, my partner researched building and contents insurance. For this, he just looked at one of the price comparison sites.

Our solicitor sent over documents regarding the house, we had to read through and check everything was okay. We looked out for:

Flooding
Mine shafts (our house is near a place where mining used to occur)
Enviornmental hazards
Church Chancel Policy

Anything that we didn’t understand we just emailed the solicitor (they are paid a lot so don’t be afraid to use them).

You will find you will have to keep emailing and ringing the socilitors bugging them until you are given a move in date. This will vary depending how far long your chain is (explained below).

House Buying Chain
When you buy a house you are often in what is called a ‘chain’ this is where the people you are buying a house from are also buying a house and they are buying a house of someone and so forth. A chain will break when someone pulls out of buying a house. Therefore the longer the chain is- the increased chance this can happen.

Soon we got the keys and we had to shop around for quotes for removal companies and now we are happy in our new home.