Snowdon Hourseshoe walk in aid of Psuedomyxoma Peritonei reseach

On 21st August 2010 I along with several freinds will be attempting the Snowdon Horseshoe walk to raise funds for Basingstoke and Northampshire Hospital -Pseudomyxoma Peritonei fund. The hospital is one of only two specialist centres in the country and the money will help buy equipment and fund research into this little known form of Cancer.

Only 1 in every million people will contract this desease and information and statistics are scarce. I was diagnosed with the desease last year and underwent surgery at Basingstoke on the 2nd of Feb 2010. I spent 12hrs on the operating table, a week in Intensive Care and a week on the specialist ward.

This blog will follow the team and their training over the next few months and ultimately report on the walk itself.........

There is also a link to our Just giving site below to allow money to be raised on line. Please give generously!

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Getting fit......

For me the biggest challenge is now getting fit again. Its only four months since the MOAS and only four weeks since my last operation. I havent run since January and have only 12 weeks to get fit enough to do the walk. Quite a challenge!

So I have started as I mean to carry on and have already done a couple of short,flat walks.

The Cotswold way.

Scott and I walked part of the Cotswold way a week or so ago. It was a good starting point for me. At just over 4 miles and pretty flat it was ideal. Scott picked me up and we arrive at our start point a little over 10 minutes later. We pulled in at the layby at the top of Landsdown near to the Bevell Grenville monument and got kitted up. Whilst it was a short walk we had decided to shoulder our packs as a bit of added resistance and to "road test" some of the kit. I also used my walking poles to see how I got on with them as I know I'll need them on Snowdon and I have heard its worth getting used to walking with them as its not quite as easy as it seems.

So we set off along the escarpment and soon had fine views back over towards Keynsham and Dundry. We soon arrived at the point where a battle took place in the 1600's and a information board details the events. We the picked up the Landsdown golf course and cut through to the escarpment again following the contour of the hills as they bend around towards Bath.

At about the halfway point we found a nice hollow to sit in out of the wind and get a brew on. Again in the interest of testing kit out came the stoves and we made tea the wild way!

Getting a brew on!

Walking on a little further we soon arrived at Prospect style. This point offers fine views of Bath and on a good day Westbury White Horse is visible. There is also a path at this point to Kelston Tump. A lone hill with a clump of trees at the top visible on the horizon from many parts of the Bristol area. We stopped here to admire the view breifly and take some photo's before heading off once more.

Looking out to Kelston Tump from Prospect style

Following the path we soon met the Landsdown golf course and cut acroos here to a path leading through woodland and finally back to the road a short way from the car.

It was a great starting point for me and I thouroughly enjoyed being out and Scott is always great company so I had a good day. The knees ached a little and reminded me to just take things easy to begin with and then ramp it up as I get fitter.

You can follow the route we took on the link below-

Lansdown walk

Organising the walk.....

So the challenge choice had been made. It was now time to assemble the team. There were some obvious choices, the lads I normally cave with and the team that did Pen Y Ffan. But I knew that my Dad would want to do it plus other members of the family too. So I have found that in the last few weeks that more and more people have said that they want to join.

This left me in a bit of a dilemma. On the one hand we want to raise as much money as possible but in on the other hand I had to make sure all who came were physically fit enough to do the trip, have the equipment to sensibly camp out for two nights and also tackle a tough walk. More people would also mean more for me to manage as organiser.

As the group got bigger it became apparent that it would be possible now to split into two teams. Those who wanted could go do the challenging (both physically and mentally) Crib Goch traverse if the weather would allow and those not wanting to do that could continue up the long,steep and winding Pyg track. We should be able to keep in touch using radio's quite easily to allow us to meet at a pre arranged point where the two paths converge. This way people of different fitness levels could all be catered for if necessary.

The Crib Goch Traverse

So I sent out e-mails to those people I had in mind and spoke to the others who showed interest. I finally ended up with a list of names of about a dozen people. A nice surprise was that a member of the Christies PMP forum -Steve (or "Bumper" as he is known on the forum) also asked if he could join us? I agreed it would be good to meet a fellow PMP sufferer and I knew Steve had previously done Snowdon. Steve is raising funds for the other UK specialist centre the Christies Hospital in Manchester. So it meant that we would be covering both hospitals with the one event and that PMP patients nationwide will benefit from the proceeds. A fantastic plan was slowly coming together.

I trawled the web for a campsite and have found a nice site, fairly basic but with all the facilities we need. Its a working farm only 5 minutes walk from Llanberis and would add to the weekend in the wilds atmosphere. I only hope the weather is good.

So we are pretty much set to go. The team almost finalised, the blog live, sponsor forms issued and the Just Giving site set up. Sponsorship is already coming in on the web and pledges being taken on the sponsor forms. I have only really spoken to one of the team members so far but I know he has over £100 raised already in hardley a week!

Dig deep folks its a great cause.......

Thursday, 20 May 2010

The Snowdon Horseshoe.......

I'd made my mind up back in February whilst led in bed on C2 ward in the Basingstoke and Northampshire hospital that I wanted to raise money to help research into Pseudomyxoma Peritonei(PMP) and help provide equipment for the specialist ward.
I was recovering from the MOAS (Mother Of All Surgeries) after spending 12hrs on the operating table and a week in intensive care and was now doing well in the specialist ward and there was talk of me going home. I wanted to give something back.
PMP is a very rare form of Cancer that forms in the abdomen and only one in every million people will contract this disease. There is very little known about the disease and statistics are scarce. This means that diagnosis is often difficult and often sufferers have a number of operations before being correctly diagnosed. It can also mean that support is limited and it can be a time when you feel alone and scared of what the future holds.

So I wanted to raise some money, but the question was what could I do? It had to be a challenge, not something that was a pushover but at the same time it had to be something achievable especially as my body had taken such a battering over the last year. Caving is my usual passion but its very tough and demanding physically, a descent and ascent of Titan in the Peak district had to be cancelled due to my appendix bursting last year and would make the perfect challenge but at the moment is just too demanding.....maybe next year!
At the beginning of the year, a week or so before I went in to have my MOAS we walked Pen-Y-Ffan on the Breacon Becons in about a foot of snow and freezing conditions. This was a big change from the caving that me and my friends were used to but we all thoroughly enjoyed it. Maybe a walk would be better.....?
I'd seen Snowdon on the T.V on countryfile or something like that where the presenter walked the Watkins path-part of the Snowdon Horseshoe. It looked great. So I started doing some research to find out about the route.

The route itself is about 7 1/2 miles or so long with a couple of options, so not too far in terms of distance. The route starts at a car park and then makes its way up the Pyg Track where there is an option for the fit and brave to split off of the weather is good and do the Crib Goch traverse. Otherwise its straight up the Pyg track. From here you make your way up to Snowdons busy peak before picking up the Watkin path for a bit. Next comes Y-Llewedd and finally the descent back to the car park via the miners track. The walk is very steep though and on the Crib Goch traverse in places its scrambling/climbing before carefully making our way accross the knife edge traverse. It sounded like just the right kind of challenge......the choice was made!